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Real Pirates Did NOT Speak Corny English
Buccaneers came from a diverse range of backgrounds
Eric Shackle (shack)     Print Article 
  Published 2006-11-15 10:39 (KST)   
This story will be featured in the December edition of The World's First Multi-National e-Book.  <Editor's Note>
"Talk Like a Pirate" day was very popular this year, but very few real-life pirates spoke in the comical accents adopted by today's pseudo buccaneers.

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It all began when 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." His fruity voice has been copied by would be pirates 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 even in Jewish languages like Ladino.

The most successful pirate of all time was a woman who spoke one of China's many dialects. The official "Talk Like a Pirate" Web site 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:
"In the book 'Jews on the Frontier' (Rachelle Simon, 1991) Rabbi Harold Sharfman records the tale of Sephardic Jewish pirate Jean Lafitte, whose Conversos grandmother and mother and another fled Spain to France in 1765, after his maternal grandfather was put to death by the Inquisition for 'Judaizing.'

"Referred to as The Corsair, Lafitte went on to establish a pirate kingdom in the swamps of New Orleans, and led more than 1,000 men during the war of 1812. After being run out of New Orleans in 1817, Lafitte re-established his kingdom on the island of Galveston, Texas, which was known as Campeche. During Mexico's fight for independence revolutionaries encouraged Lafitte to attack Spanish ships and keep the booty."
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. [Source]


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Talk Like a Pirate Day


- Real Pirates Did NOT Speak Corny English by Eric Shackle (Read by Claire George) 

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.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

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