Break out the “Arrrrr, me hearties!” because today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day! But where does our idea of pirate speech come from?
At the risk of spoiling my own punchline, here’s my favourite paragraph from my Lexicon Valley article today. You’ll never be able to un-hear it. I’m not even sorry.
Interestingly, the West Country’s influence on popular culture isn’t just pirate speech. Newfoundland English is ultimately related to that of the founding settlers from the West Country, and it’s also the dialect of the incredibly catchy 1976 hit song “Combine Harvester.” But perhaps the most famous inhabitant of the West Country is Hagrid from the Harry Potter series. Can’t you just imagine Hagrid saying, “Yer a pirate, Harry”?
Both the song (click it if you dare) and the quote have been stuck in my head for two days now, so I might as well infect everyone else.