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To help bloggers everywhere celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, in keeping with our annual tradition, we present once again the Corsair Ergonomic Keyboard for Pirates:

In TLAPD posts from earlier years, you can find instructions for the more difficult task of talking (as opposed to typing) like a pirate; the history of piratical r-fulness; and other goodies: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, … and then we kind of lost the thread.

There's actually some serious historical linguistics (and cultural history) involved here, as discussed in "R!?", 9/19/2005, and "Pirate R as in I-R-ELAND", 9/20/2006. And some pop culture  ("Said the Pirate King, 'Aaarrrf'", 9/27/2010), and even a bit of mathematical linguistics.


  1. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 19, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Hmm… "Said the Pirate King, 'Aaarrrf' ", sounds like the Pirate King is a regular salty sea-dog, there. Arf! Arf!

    The phrase seems a bit ambiguous, in that 'Aaarrrf' could be an utterance made by said Pirate King (but then technically no capital "A" would be required); or more than likely, it's his name, incorporating the characteristic rolling rhotic "r"s, as those roving and marauding sea-rapscallions are wont to do.

    (When I clicked on to the link to 'the Pirate King', I got a "Not Found" message. Otherwise, I'd have more data to go on if it opened up.)

    I guess in signature classic pirate-speak one would pronounce Pirates of the Caribbean's flamboyant 'hero-pirate', Jack Sparrow, thusly— Jack Spaaaarr-row. On second thought… maybe not? Arrrrrrrrrrg!

    I'm shovin' off, mates!

  2. L said,

    September 19, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    Be all R arrrr?

  3. Jerry Friedman said,

    September 19, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

    Be thar plans for a deluxe keyboard wi' a "Send to Davy Jones" key?

    Prepare for keyboarding!

  4. Chris C. said,

    September 19, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

    For a span of years I worked the Northern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire, from the mid-1980s at Black Point in Marin County to its ignominious demise on the grounds of the Nut Tree in Vacaville in the early 2000s. This, along with its sibling Ren Faire in Southern California, was the grandmother of them all, but unlike many of the Faires across the country it inspired it made some passing nod toward historical authenticity. The accent they taught us to use was not "BBC English" but a broad, rhotic, mostly-but-not-completely-through-the Great-Vowel-Shift dialect we were assured was the product of research into the actual Midlands speech of Shakespeare's time.

    How true this assertion was I don't know, but we were also told that if we couldn't master the accent as taught, we should "talk like a pirate" and that would be close enough, on account of Robert Newton native accent not being all that different.

    Indeed, visiting Brits informed us that we all sounded as if we were from Dorsetshire. The fact that my group actually played (Elizabethan) pirates had, I'm sure, nothing to do with it.

    This advice did not apply to Queen and Court, who used approximations of a modern Midlands accent, probably more to conform with audience expectations than anything else.

  5. Alon Lischinsky said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 5:13 am

    @Alex: the "Said the Pirate King, 'Aaarrrf' " link should point here. And it's about actual seadogs, wo you weren't far off the mark.

  6. richard howland-bolton said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 6:32 am


  7. George said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    Ha naga hor imaanin. Maxbuus baad tahay. Amarkeena raac.

  8. L said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    In re the Pirate King and young Opal, I'm sure you're aware of the series (now on CD) but just in case you've somehow missed it – you might check out What's the Story Wishbone at eg http://www.amazon.com/Wishbone-Jordan-Wall/sim/B004DTLKC6/2/ref=pd_cp_mov_sexpl

  9. L said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    (DVD, duh, arrrf)

  10. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    Alon & L,

    Guys, thanks for cluing me into the Pirate King series. Who knew?

    At least I wasn't totally barrrrrking up the wrrrrrong trrrrree in my earlier post. Sea-dogs, indeed.

    (Staying w/ the nautical theme, it's interesting that "bark" is also a rather arcane word for a simple boat. Hmm… in that case, then would Noah's ark have qualified as a "bark"? Then they could have called it Noah's bark….. which i hear was much worse than his bite. –Groan.)

    So clearly, for these 'canine' pirates, buried treasure in the form of interred bones, as opposed to the classic secreted bullion and precious gem trove, could be THEIR ultimate prize? Or perhaps not. Arrrf! Arrrf!

  11. L said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

    @Alex – Wishbone may have done a Treasure Island episode, but he's a general-purpose dog of the classics. I believe he's a Jack Sparrow Terrier.

    As for Noarrrr's Bark, I imagine that his two canine assistants (obviously a mating pair) would have been something of an overmatch for his small collection of sheep… and instead of "bye" and "away" he needed to command them "port" and "starboard."

    That'll do, pig. That'll do.

    Noarrrrr is the only recorded mariner without any piratical worries (or opportunities) at all. You'll note that the text specifies that he sent out a raven and a dove, wisely keeping the parrot on his shoulder.


  12. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 7:14 pm


    Sounds like sheer speculation from here, but rumor has it that old sea-dog, "Wishbone", is either a Black-bearded Borzoi, a rhotic- challenged Rottweiler, or a swashbuckling Kerry Blue-bearded Terrier.

    I'm leaning heavily toward your Jack Sparrow Terrier, however. Very scrappy, energetic, feisty, and loyal sea-dogs, I gather. Arrrrf!

  13. L said,

    September 20, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    Because most pirates are rat-bassets, repelling a border collie demands a real bulldog. And I'm only up to the B page.

    Only a chinook would mention the scourge of Lisbon, the dread Portugese water dog….

  14. Jean-Michel said,

    September 21, 2012 @ 2:05 am

    That keyboard doesn't look so ergonomic to me. I can only assume it was designed for hook-based input.

  15. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 21, 2012 @ 10:37 am


    I should really let 'sleeping sea-dogs lie', but I believe in your last brief post you meant to use the Yiddish term, "schnook", meaning a real dunderhead, or doofus, and not "chinook", which, being a dyed-in-the-wool Canuck, I know is a species of Pacific salmon, named after a northern Pacific coast Native Canadian tribe, the Chinook. (Salmon, for millennia, has been their staple protein-rich food source.)

    Actually, a dogfish-cum-pirate character might just work for this Pirate King series. Just sayin'.

    Sockeye Sam has a fun ring to it, no?

    (Not to be confused w/ Yosemite Sam, who, come to think of it, was a kind of a pirate-like character, w/ that Gabby Hayes-style, flattish floppy hat, flowing red beard, quick temper, while ever-primed to pull out his trusty six-shooters and blast away——pirate material, for sure.

    Hmm…. I guess those old 'prairie schooners' don't technically qualify as ships, per se. OK, I tried.

  16. L said,

    September 21, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    I tried posting a link to the wikipedia article about chinook dogs, but I guess it was stopped by the spam filter. Oh well.

    Yosemite Sam "played" a pirate several times, again I tried the youtube links but no luck. Some of the titles include Buccaneer Bunny and Mutiny On The Bunny.

    Back to Noah's Bark, as it was built of gopher wood, I suppose it could be called a gopher bark.

    I'm only guessing but I suspect that a gopher bark is more of staccato yip.

  17. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 22, 2012 @ 3:45 pm


    I'm no expert on gophers, or wild rodents of any stripe, for that matter*, but in my limited understanding of these prairie dwelling varmints, (gophers that is), I think your earlier stated "staccato yip" is pretty much right on the mark.

    As I vaguely recall from a PBS, or Animal Planet documentary I caught some years ago on U.S. Great Plains wild flora and fauna, gophers do have a characteristically high-pitched serial "yip" call, which they use as a sharp warning signal of immanent danger—perhaps a low-flying prairie falcon, or a hungry coyote. I also recall they had a few other calls in their repertoire, all kind of variations on the "danger' yip, but less strident. I believe there were a few chirpy mating calls, as well. (Not a wolf-whistle, but a gopher-whistle, perhaps.)

    Like many highly sociable animals that live in relatively close quarters, gophers usually have at least one designated sentinel 'guard', who sits ever-vigilantly on its back legs next to its nearby 'gopher hole', resolutely surveying his immediate domain for any harmful interlopers. At the first sign of perceived peril, the frantic yipping begins in earnest, and any fellow gophers, out-and-about, predictably scurry quickly for cover.

    L, as regards Noah's Bark being constructed of gopher wood, wouldn't "dogwood" be a more appropriate building material? Arrrrf!

    As I recall from my rather spotty New Testament studies, I believe the cross on which Christ was crucified was hewn from dogwood. Not really germane to this discussion, but a curious factoid, nonetheless.

    As a former Warner Bros. TV animation cartoonist/ key background designer back in the early-to-mid- '90s, I thought I'd become a fairly astute student of most of the early Warner Bros. cartoon 'canon'. But I must have had a Yosemite Sam blind-spot, 'cause I totally forgot about those two Yosemite-as-buccaneer/ Bugs shorts.

    On a parenthetical note: —Back in 1991, I was fortunate to have worked on the revival of "Taz", the Tazmanian Devil, designing key backgrounds for the new TV series, "Tazmania". It was both an honor, and a sheer hoot, to have had a small part in resurrecting one of the classic, most beloved Warner Bros. iconic characters. Interestingly, there were only a handful of "Taz" movie shorts made, back in the day, and yet this madcap, swirling beastie just seemed to have captured the affection, and curiosity of millions of animated cartoon fans, world-wide, from the get-go.

    Not blowing my own horn, or anything, but back in the mid-2000s, I also got to design some nifty backgrounds for a number of Aflak Insurance Co. animated TV commercial spots, featuring none-other than the classic Warner's Road Runner, and Wiley E. Coyote. And of course, that adorable pure white Aflak duck. Fun stuff.

    *Being a born-and-bred Canuck, I do have a bit more definitive info on the beaver. Who would have thunk we Canadians would have a base-relief image of a large, tree-gnawing, semi-aquatic rodent, i.e., the beaver, on our 5-cent silver coin, w/ Queen Elizabeth II's youthful profile on the flip side?

    No! The coin motto does NOT read, "In Beaver We Trust".

  18. Martin said,

    September 23, 2012 @ 11:16 am

    Shame I missed this — Wednesday was my first full day living in the West Country, where everyone talks like a pirate.


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