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What is Talk Like a Pirate Day?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2016
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“ARR” you ready for September 19th? This is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which can be a fun and humorous event if your friends know why you’re growling or shouting “Ahoy Mateys!” at them. Talk Like a Pirate Day did start out with a great deal of humor, and was more private joke than anything between two good friends, John Baur and Mark Summers, who invented this day in 1995.

Since the day’s inception, Baur and Summers have received quite a bit of attention, including notice in a Dave Barry column in 2002. There are now many web sites devoted to Talk Like a Pirate Day. These often include fun glossaries of words you can try out on your friends. Parents should look over these sites with care, as some of the words may be a bit inappropriate for children. Further attention was given to Talk Like a Pirate Day when the two friends were featured on a 2006 episode of the ABC reality show Wife Swap. Baur and his wife live like pirates, or so they contended for the show, and tried to impart the wisdom of piracy of “olden times” to a rather straight-laced family.

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This was not perhaps the most successful venture on Baur’s part. He has had more luck convincing folks that there ought to be a day devoted to pirate behavior, or at least speech. It can be a fun thing to do, especially with school kids, who are studying early explorers, to get to be pirates for a day. It’s certainly an interesting way to learn about pirate behavior, at least the more innocent pirate behavior, and about pirate slang, and the role of piracy during the exploration of the New World.

In the Wife Swap episode, Baur and Summers were both featured, and tended to gloss over the more vicious elements of piracy. They contend that playing pirate is fulfilling the childhood fantasy of living above the law and getting to do what you like by acting rough and tough. While certainly modern piracy is nothing to celebrate, the Western world attaches a sort of glory to the pirates of old, as evidenced by the huge success of films like Pirates of the Caribbean.

Talk Like a Pirate Day, then, can represent the celebration of the more enjoyed aspects of piracy. In particular, learning the language and having a class respond “ARR!” when you’ve asked them if they’ve done their homework can a fun way to spend an otherwise ordinary day.

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gravois
Post 3

People at my high school used to go crazy on talk like a pirate day and it would drive me nuts. Sure it can be fun for ten or fifteen minutes but a whole day of hearing Arghhh and ahoy matie just gets annoying after a while. I guess I have never liked pirates as much as other people.

whiteplane
Post 2

I am going to a talk like a pirate party this year and I want to really go all out for it. I would like to dress as Captain jack Sparrow but I have not been able to find any pirate costumes that are not cheap and cliched looking. Does anyone have any suggestions? Since it is a one night thing I would prefer to rent rather than buy.

tigers88
Post 1

Talk like a pirate day was really popular at my college. Huge groups of students got into it as well as some of the professors. People would even dress up as pirates on that day.

Of course the day of classes usually gave way to a night of rum drinking and horrible parrot imitations. It was really goofy but a lot of fun. I learned a lot in college but it is stuff like this that stands out the most.

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