"Talk Like a Pirate Day" was so popular this year that its effects still linger. Kids dressed and talked like pirates for Halloween last month, and some American women have begun dressing like pirates. Perhaps 2007 will be Like a Pirate Year.
An interesting article by Leanne Delap in the Toronto (Canada) Globe and Mail reported:
As for talking like pirates, very few real-life pirates spoke in those comical accents adopted by today's pseudo buccaneers. British actor Robert Newton (1905-1956) delivered his lines with his native Cornish accent and great gusto when playing Long John Silver in the 1950 classic film "Treasure Island", and his fruity voice has been copied around the world ever since.
Most British-born pirates would have spoken in Cockney or other regional dialects, while other buccaneers (some preferred to be called adventurers or freebooters) spoke in Spanish, Dutch, German, Chinese and perhaps Yiddish.
The most successful pirate of all time was a woman who spoke one of China's many dialects. The official Talk Like a Pirate website says that Ching Yih Saoa widow of dreaded Chinese pirate Ching Yih and a former prostitute, commanded a fleet of more than 100 junks divided into five independent squadrons, plundering at will.
In the New World, Moses Cohen Henriques and Admiral Piet Hein boarded Spanish ships off the Cuban coast and seized shipments of gold and silver worth in today's dollars about the same as Disney's total box office for "Dead Man's Chest," says an article in The Jewish Journal, which adds:
Pirates of the 21st century speak in a variety of Asian and African languages. Last year they attacked more than 250 ships. Some used ship-tracking systems and were armed with machineguns. An international agreement signed by southeast Asian governments came into force a few weeks ago.
FOOTNOTE. Tori ("Mad Sally") Baur, the multi-talented wife of John Baur, co-founder of Talk Like a Pirate Day, has written a delightful account of her family's freewheeling lifestyle. She describes in hilarious terms the filming of an episode of the TV series Wife Swap in which she and John appeared on the eve of Talk Like a Pirate Day. You can read it by clicking HERE.