TV Tropes Needs Your Help
View Kickstarter Project
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here
and discuss here
Talk Like a Pirate
Argh! You catch on quick for a land-lover! Pirate Parrot:
It's "lubber". Youngblood: Really?
It's "lubber"? That makes no sense!
Avast! This be a Self-Demonstratin' Arrrticle
In all o' history
since the dawn of time, thar be pirates. Julius Caesarrr
fought 'em, and to this day pirates be takin' ships off the coast o' Somalia. Logic dictates that all these pirates be speakin' many a tongue, but in Hollywood, thar be only one
way for pirates t' talk!
In fact, this trope be New-arrr Than They Think
. The standard pirate
accent was said ta ha' been invented by a scurvy lan'lubb'r callin' himself Robert Newton
for the 1950 movie Treasure Island
. Thar even be a scene in the film where he ends a prayer with "Arrrmen."
However, yer new-fangled "Piratespeak" be somethin' o' a very exad-urated parody of some English rural accents o' the 16th century
. A "snapshot" of a moment in the language durin' the "Great Vowel Shift
", as it were. Thar be some who've arrrgued the associatin' o' English rural accents with seafarin' folk be on account o' that scourge o' the sea, Lord Nelson, whose contemporaries noted his heavy Norfolk
accent. But the standarrrd "Poirate accent" be soundin' morrre like it be from the West Countrrry (Devon, Dorrrzet, Corrrnwall an' Brrristol), probably 'cos o' memories of famed Devonshire man, Sirrr Francis Drrrake. Treasure Island
(which do indeed begin in arrrrbout the right parrrrt of England) did popularise it, as well as that lovliest o' all phrases, "ARRRRHHHH!"
This be specifically inclusive o' characters talkin' like pirates while obviously not bein' pirates, or havin' a pirate-themed episode or moment as a joke. But also be includin' times when a fictional pirate talks "piratey", even tho' he might not 'ave
For more piratey fun, be ye also lookin' at Dressed t' Plunder
, a Sister Trope
for costumes, and, o'course, Pirate
, the Super Trope
. And be sure to celebrate International Talk Like A Pirate Day
, or I'll be havin' yer guts fer garters, lan'lubb'r!
Any swab among ye who mixes us up with them poncey fops at Antiquated Linguistics
or Flowery Elizabethan English
gets a lick o' the Cat.
be sometimes talkin' thus too. But, moons of madness
, there sometimes be variants.
Examples O' This Trope in Action
open/close all folders
Hoist the Sails for Advertisements
Anime & Manga Sighted!
- Arr-verted in One Piece, shockingly (with the possible exception of Gold Roger...). Though there'll probably be a future character who will abuse this to no end. It's not so shocking: Japanese has no equivalent of the Pirate Talk. Not completely avoided, though — Brook's special laugh is the old-fashioned "Yohohoho!" The English translation of the manga will occasionally add in pirate talk, actually, but not to a great extent.
- Captain Smudge from Serendipity the Pink Dragon speaks like this.
- Berserk: Captain Sharkrider is made fun of for talking like this, and even lampshades that he is a walking pirate stereotype.
Audio Adaptations Ahoy!
Captain's Log Comic Books
Comic Strips Off the Port Bow
Fan Works... and a Bottle of Ramen
Animation Films, Matelots!
- Mocked in Castle in the Sky when Sheeta tries it.
- Remarkably averted in "Treasure Planet". Silver might throw out a couple "Haharrr!"s, but his accent is much more Irish than West Country, and the rest of the pirates have accents from all around the English-speaking world.
Live-Action Films! Thar They Blow!
- As mentioned above, Robert Newton in Treasure Island is the Trope Codifier.
- Jaws. After that old salt Quint got on ta givin' him a hard time, Hooper uses pirate talk, including the phrase "Jim boy".
- Pirate Steve from Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.
- There's also the obscure movie Pirates of the Great Salt Lake.
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Cap'n Barbossa. "Dearly Beloved, we be gathered here today... to nail yer gizzard to the mast, yer poxy cur!" He even hangs a lampshade on it in the third movie: "No! What AARRRRRHHH ya doin'?"
- Blackbeard also talks like this in On Stranger Tides, though he doesn't go as overboard with it as Barbossa does.
- Painfully used in the pornographic film Pirates XXX during a Girl-on-Girl Is Hot scene by the pirate spectators. They stand around saying "ARRRR" during the "action".
The Treasure Chests o' Literature
- Treasure Island, the arr-example, as mentioned above.
- The Spellsinger book, Day of the Dissonance has a Pirate Parrot that talks like this.
- Redwall's pirates all talk like this, thanks to the Funetik Aksent abundance.
- George Mac Donald Fraser's novel The Pyrates:
- Practically the entire cast is Genre Savvy. The pirates know their metier and they stick to it:
"Vittles, sez you!" cried the captain, rolling both eyes. "Why, then vittles it is, sez I, wi' all my heart, aye, an' a flagon o'ale, devil a doubt, or Spanish vino, sa-ah! to wet our whistles, an' damn all, wi' a curse. Scupper me wi' a handspike." he added triumphantly. "else."
- One of the pirates speaks with a thick Welsh accent, but he's a one-joke character specifically put in to parody the labor union militancy that was common in Britain when the novel was written. Jokes about the Nautical Union of Piratical Employees striking in support of Red Robbo are just part of the deliberate Anachronism Stew in this novel.
- Subverted, or at least general "sea talk" is subverted, in Jingo. A ship's captain tells Vimes "That yo-ho-ho stuff's for landlubbers, or at least it would be if we actually used words like landlubber. We don't say port and starboard. I've never even drunk starboard!" Part of this is just the captain twitting the profoundly non-nautical Vimes, though. After seeing Vimes throw the anchor and the ship's boats overboard to increase their speed and being told "to put on the brakes" to stop an imminent shipwreck on a lee shore, the captain is driven to use the word "landlubber" in legitimate anger for the first time in his life.
- Miya Black, Pirate Princess speaks like an educated and intelligent fourteen-year-old princess... unless she's really fired up, in which case she drops into pirate speak.
- The Pirate Primer, by George Choundas, is an actual guide for layman on how to Talk Like a Pirate and includes phrases found in many books, films, and television shows, as well as a few Real Life examples. Incidentally, there's an entire chapter devoted to all the subtle nuances behind "Arrgh!"
- In Mark Delewen And The Space Pirates, the only pirate lines consist of variations of 'Arr!'. Seriously.
Here Be Live-Action TV
- Those lily-livered landlubbers in Monty Python did Long John Silver impersonations in several Flying Circus sketches, arrrhh.
- Adam talking like a pirate is sort of a pseudo-Running Gag in MythBusters, and he gets to do it to his heart's content in the episode showcasing Pirate myths. His pirate accent, however, is not the stereotypical Robert Newton pirate accent, but, well... it's hard to be sure what it is, actually.
- Newscommentator Keith Olbermann talks like this, for no particularly clear reason, when imitating Rupert Murdoch. But not Ann Coulter, even though his picture of her has an eyepatch and he calls her "Pirate Annie".
- Doctor Who
- In "The Infinite Quest", the Doctor and Martha talk like pirates through Private Kelvin's communicator to avert a battle that is about to happen. The Doctor does all the pirate talk, while Martha just goes "Arr... Arr Arr..." and the Doctor tells her to stop doing that.
- In "Curse of the Black Spot", when pirates find the Doctor, Amy and Rory in the hold:
Yo ho ho! (beat
) Or does anyone actually say that?
- Xander goes as a pirate for Hallowe'en in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fifth season episode "All the Way". As for talking like a pirate...
Xander: Store go boom... Arr.
- The infamous Saturday Night Live sketch in which a pirate convention (held at the at the Ritz Carrrrlton) hired actor Peter Saarsgaard to be their keynote speaker simply because of all the "arrrr"s in his name. Yes, this WAS the best joke they could come up with featuring Peter Saarsgaard.
- Captain Redbeard Rum (Tom Baker) talks this way in the Blackadder 2 episode "Potato", although technically he isn't a pirate. He even introduces himself with an incredible: "AAAAaaaaaaAAAAAaaaaAAAARRaaarrrrrrhhhhhh... me laddie!"
Rum: Opinion is divided on whether it is customary for a ship to have a crew. All the other captains say 'tis; I say 'tisn't.
- The "pirate episode" of Charmed is noteworthy for its title alone: "Charrrmed".
- Marshall as a gay pirate in How I Met Your Mother.
Marshall: What be a pirate's favourite kind of sweater?
Marshall: And what be a pirate's favourite fast food restaurant?
Marshall: 'twould think it would be Arby's... but actually it's Long John Silver's.
- For some reason, on the short-lived 1998 revival of Match Game, announcer Paul Boland always said panelist Nell Carter's voice in a pirate growl ("Nell Carrrrrterrrrrrr").
Music and Other Shanties
- Alestorm, being a pirate-themed band, sings like this.
- Whenever Paul and Storm play their song "The Captain's Wife's Lament", they have the audience shout "Yarr!" at various points. There's also some pirate speak in the lyrics.
- The Great Luke Ski sings his Jack Sparrow tribute song "You Don't Know Jack" in piratey vernacular, complete with a Lampshade Hanging when he talks of his plans to burn the song onto a "CD-ARRRRRR!"
- Captain Dan and the Scurvy Crew, a pirate-themed hip hop group ("Authentic pirate hip hop", if you will), features rhyming with excessive use of pirate-speak, songs combining gangsta rap with pirating, and party commands such as "Throw your hooks in the air!", and uses of "Arr!" or "Yar!" in place of more common words, such as "What" and "Yeah".
- In Ray Stevens' "The Pirate Song", he voices two characters: a typical "arrrr!" type pirate who is frustrated at a normal-voiced pirate who wants to abandon his ways to sing and dance instead.
- "Talk like a Pirate Day"
- "Shiver Me Timbers" from Tom Waits' The Heart Of Saturday Night.
Myths & Legends, Marine or Otherwise
New Media, Swabbing the Deck Optional
- Time was, the main TV Tropes page were changed ta pirate speak, for Talk Like A Pirate Day. If'n ye should belive in such tales, talk be heard that th'incident be archived yet still somewhar 'pon this very wiki... AND THAR BE A GHOST IN IT or some such.
- Facebook has an English(Pirate) language setting. In this setting, the language choice setting is called 'DON'T TOUCH THIS'.
- As does Google.
- Instructions can be found here.
- The anti-virus program Avast! has a pirate language option that they remind you of when Talk Like a Pirate Day rolls around. Whether or not it is turned off afterwards is up to you.
Pinball, Ya Scalleywags
Puppet Shows, Yaaarrgh
Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, a Radio for Me
- The Million Pound Radio Show: "Us pirates wants us a training day!"
- The Cruise of the Poll Parrot was a children's serial from the 1937-1938 which featured quite a bit of nautical-speak.
Battles on Tabletop
- Captain Kraken in Mutants & Masterminds talks like this because he learned English from Hollywood pirate movies. He can be played as everything from a serious threat (evil squid-faced Space Pirate) to comic relief (evil squid-faced Space Pirate who refers to his opponents as "scurvy dogs").
Video Games n' Pieces o' Eight
- Sonic Rush Series Captain Whisker be his name, and thieving be his game!
Mini O mighty evil, come fourth into this world!
Mum Rule the seven seas!
Mini Justice is not welcome! Kindness is weakness!
Mun Master of evil, show unto us those mighty whiskers!
Whisker And so, it is I! The Dread Pirate Whisker! D'arr har har har!!
- Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood be hangin' a gigantic lampshade on it when the gang runs into some Space Pirates:
Pirate: Harr! Give up yer booty, yer cargo is ours now!
Rouge: Why is he talking like that?
Sonic: Who knows? Just go with it.
Pirate: Hand it over, lubbers! Or ye'll be forced to walk the plank!
Rouge: Seriously. Why would a pirate from another dimension talk like that?
Pirate: Arr, this be just how I talk! Now-
Rouge: This is stupid.
Pirate: Aye. A speech impediment it be. We gonna fight, or not?
- Cubot in a cutscene from Sonic Colors when he first gets his voice chip changed.
- Kingdom of Loathing
- The Can of Binarrrca gives you the "Talking Like a Pirate" status effect, which randomly adds "Yarrr", "Arrr", "Avast ye!", or "Ahoy, Matey!" to the end of your messages in chat.
- Kingdom of Loathing Abuses this to no end. If there's anything to do with pirates that has an ar in it, there will be more r's. even if it is not traditionally associated with pirates, like the Safarrri Hat.
- The MMORPG Pirates of the Caribbean Online, bein' run by them scab'rous swabs at Disney, needs to protect the wee young flotsam from the filthy language of other foulmouthed buccaneers, and changes words that aren't "recognized" by the chat servers dictionary into "arrr". (Ye can turn this option off though, making this swashbuckler wonder just what they think they be achievin' with it.)
- Oddly enough, most be averted in Skies of Arcadia, with the exception of Drachma, the grumpy old fisherman.
- The first official English translation of Final Fantasy V had Faris speaking like this. The retranslation toned it down to a rougher mode of speech and exclamations like "By the briny beard o' Neptune!"
- The Online multiplayer puzzle game Puzzle Pirates has most of its lines in this style. There's even an option to hide swear words and convert them to piratey swears, like "Billions of blisterin' barnacles!"
- If'n ye be playin' Sid Meiers Pirates on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, then all o' the characters in the game, even the comely governors' daughters, be talkin' like this. That's what landlubbers call an Easter Egg, Boyo.
- Neverwinter Nights demo module "Thar be Rats! Yarrr!" It seems Uncle Fester was an ex-piratey.
- Subverted in RuneScape, where the actual pirates mock the player when they speak like that.
- Redbeard's Ghost in Scooby-Doo: Night of a Hundred Frights does this as his Boss Banter.
- Gonzo in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker talks a little bit like this. Subverted in that everyone else on the ship speaks normally, especially Tetra, which is justified, because you can't have Princess Zelda saying "Arrrhh" after every other sentence. That'd be just ridiculous.
- Averted in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. The undead pirate Cortez has a Spanish accent, befitting his name.
- Subverted in Discworld Noir, in which a sailor on the Milka initially speaks to Lewton in stereotypical pirate accent and sea-dog jargon, but quits hamming it up when Lewton calls him on it.
- In BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Ragna's Gag Reel, Robot Girl Nu appears as a Pirate Girl, then suddenly started picking this up along with Valley Girl.
"Nu! Sea or valley! Pick one!"
- The Ork freebooterz in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Retribution, led by Kaptin Bluddflagg, talk not only like pirates, but also like Orks.
- Captain Rhubarb does this all the time in both Adventure Quest and Dragon Fable, as do most minor pirate characters.
- Captain Frolgar in Adventure Quest and its expansion WarpForce speaks with a pirate accent, as well as having a traditional pirate look.
- Karlina and Jayson, two Space Pirates in WarpForce, speak with a pirate accent.
Karlina: Methinks this scurvy bilge rat is making a fool of ye, Jayson.
Jayson: Aye. Perhaps we should make these two walk the plank into the fusion coolant, eh, Karlina?
- Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves features Sly having to visit a town that intentionally throws itself back to 'pirate times'. The pirates talk like this, and Sly has to imitate it at one point.
- The 1.1 Update for Minecraft has an option to change your language. Naturally, Pirate Speak is one of the options.
- Garry's Mod now features the ability to choose your language, along with Pirate language like the Minecraft example above.
- Spoofed in zOMG! when an NPC dressed as a pirate disses you in Pirate Speak, and dialogue options include replying in kind. After exchanging enough quips, he says this:
"Arrr! Ye win! I've nae more insults!"
- Chaos Bleeds featured an Hilarious Outtakes reel in which Nicholas Brendon improvs some piratey lines in reference to the Buffy episode mentioned above.
"Arr! There be monsters!"
- Mocked in Kid Icarus: Uprising, where one level takes place aboard a space pirate space ship. Upon encountering the pirate captain, who Pit can't understand:
Cap'n: (honks and growls) Pit:
Uh... what's he saying? Palutena:
Probably something like "Aaargh! I make ye walk the space plank scurvy dog!" Pit:
Aw man, not the space plank!
- Captain of the Ghost Ship in MediEvil talks like this, and his mooks' battle cries are made of "arrs" and "yahoors". Sole exception is the ship's first mate, who speaks in more sophisticated tone.
- Averted with Cervantes in the earlier games of Soul Series, but by Soul Calibur III, he too developed a nautical tone with promises of "watery graves".
- Despite pirates not appearing in Napoleon: Total War, British Admirals have a tendency to say something to the effect of "PREPARE FOR ACTION, YOU SCURVY DOGS!" made especially weird when the admiral saying that is Horatio Nelson note . Who has a Fowl-Mouthed Parrot...
- Surprisingly little of this in the Monkey Island series, where accents are all across the map. Possibly the creators didn't want any bit characters to out-ham LeChuck. There are some examples, though, notably in the insult sword-fighting sequence in the first game, complete with a lampshade:
Guybrush: Why do you talk so funny, anyway?
- In Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, there is a cheat to make it so every line from Edward's mouth is "full of stereotypical pirate clichés." Also, from the character profile of Edward "Blackbeard" Thatch's multiplayer incarnation:
Blackbeard: "Arrrr! Ahoy matey! Shiver me timbers! All that pirate drivel the tourists are always asking me to repeat. Bollocks."
- In the DLC case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies , the crime scene is a part of the 'Shipshape Aquarium', which has a pirate theme. This runs to a show put on there where every speaking character puts on this pirate accent, which gets ridiculous when talking to the lead of the show when she spontaneously gets into character and pulls out this accent.
- If you want to talk about characters who suddenly pull a pirate accent out of nowhere in this case, look no further than Marlon Rimes.
Fifteen Web Animations...
... on a Web Comics' Chest
- There be a Pirate translation of Darths & Droids, mateys, 'pon which th' settin' be altered ta more seafarin' environs. Landlubbers be warned. Here bein' the link, mateys.
- Both a pirate and his Pirate Parrot speak like this in a strip of Cyanide and Happiness.
- Naturally, this be the form a speech used by Bikke in 8-Bit Theater. ARRR, a scurvy dog be he, utterly illiterate and slow-witted to the last!
- The Law of Purple has Morgan, a Caligulan space pirate.
- Something Positive Sometimes remembers to celebrate:
- The Repository of Dangerous Things features Wanderin' Laurie. If yer curious if she be a pirate, yer all kerrectly. Also, if ye remember proper terminology from yer Talk Like a Pirate Day, it can save yer guts.
- Pokemon X turns Magma vs. Aqua into Rednecks vs. Pirates.
- The pirates in Irregular Webcomic!, of course. Then got inverted in one strip, being on Talk Like a Pirate Day, the pirate invert their speech to British style.
- Blossom from Rhapsodies, though that's just her being from Devon.
- Exaggerated in Keychain of Creation: Seatongue apparently consists entirely of a bunch of piratey words strung together, most of which are variations on "arr".
Mew Cai: Aharr yarr, harr <Seatongue> yarr?
Secret: Avast! Yo ho yaharr harr yarr, matey!
Mew Cai: Aharr yarr yo ho, scurvy dog bilges.
- In Rusty and Co.:
- Bug, when discussing pirate hippies and possibility of being shanghaied.
- Walter from Dubious Company, when he's wearing his captain's garb and not explaining the magical technology.
- Captain Locke alternates between this and normal modern English in Ozy and Millie. His crew sticks to it for the most part.
- Xykon indulges in this in one strip of The Order of the Stick:
Xykon: I like you this way. It's like we have a grumpy pirate on the team.
Demon-roach: Thus began the Legend of Arrrghcloak!
Xykon: OK then, let's cast off, ye evil mateys!
- As do Bangladesh DuPree of Girl Genius once. Well, she is a pirate lass, after all.
DuPree: Ooooh, I've missed you, me proud beauty. Hee hee! YARRRR!
- Eerie Cuties has the Ghost Pirate gym coach, who yells like a pirate at the students.
- Kyzok and the Space Pirates in Episode One of Space Kid.
- A pirate finds a new use for one of his piratey nautical terms when on land in this Biter Comics strip.
Web Original and a Bottle of Rum
- Open Blue's help topics tend to shift into and out of it. Depends on the mood, apparently.
- "Captain Highliner" talks about the worst team of the National Hockey League's New York Islanders (given both the name and an infamous logo that resembled the Gorton's fisherman, adequate).
Western Animation and Really Bad Eggs
Real Life, Yo-Ho
- In 1995, Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy be introducin' to the world an Innernation'l Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th, so all humanity be talkin' like a pirate fer one glorious day.
- Considering many pirates, including Blackbeard, came from the south west of England, Robert Newton was pretty much spot on with the accent.
- Mad Cap'n Tom be standin' for Parleyment in the 2010 UK General Election. For some reason he only be gettin' 84 votes though.
- In some regions of Michigan, the "R" sound is pronounced like a pirate's "arr".