Yar har, mateys! Grab your favorite parrot, a tricorn hat, and set your Facebook to pirate English (really, look in the language settings), because each September marks Talk Like a Pirate Day. You’ll find learning about these swashbucklers considerably less dangerous than trying to deliver cargo across the seas.
If you want to know about the quintessential pirate that came to define how pirates are portrayed in film, television, and literature, you have to go with Edward Teach, or Edward Thatch, as some knew him. Oh, you might know him as Blackbeard. According to an article in American Heritage which is accessible through Academic Search Premier Database in the Library, Blackbeard and his infamous ship the Queen Anne’s Revenge frequented not only the tropical islands of the Caribbean, but the waters of the Carolinas as well where his prized frigate was eventually run aground.
If you already know about Blackbeard’s legacy, perhaps you’d like to hear about some of the women who made their fortune on the high seas. Hop onto the Library’s JSTOR database to read an article from the Wilson Quarterly that describes the exploits of the Irishwoman Anne Bonny or Mary Read who, prior to her life of piracy, fought in the British military while disguised as a man.
Are you in a pirate mood yet? How about some sea shanties? This album by the Robert Shaw Chorale from the Library’s Naxos database has plenty of historical shanties that you might hear on the deck of a flagship so many years ago.
Now that we have you feeling like a pirate, we should also give a cautionary word that piracy is illegal. Nowadays, a pirate’s treasure is more likely to be illegal copies of films and music than gold doubloons, but we recommend you avoid both types whether on the high seas or behind the keyboard. If you want to know more about the new age of piracy, try this article from the Harvard International Review, accessible through GALE database:
The golden age of piracy: can open-source democracy redefine citizenship for the internet age?
Piracy on the high seas still exists as well, though the environs have changed. Somali pirates are still a major threat around the Horn of Africa where large cargo container ships are slow-moving targets. You can see a dramatized account of one such pirate attack in the film Captain Phillips. You can also check out this excerpt from the documentary Madagascar to the Seychelles: Indian Ocean, with Simon Reeve which is available through Library’s Films on Demand database.
Well, this has all gotten a bit too serious, hasn’t it? Talk Like a Pirate Day is all about having fun with the campy, swashbuckling antiheroes that pop up everywhere from Peter Pan to Robinson Crusoe. If you need help talking like a pirate, we have you covered. Mango Languages database, an excellent online language learning program that is set up to teach over 60 languages has a module specifically for learning to talk like a pirate. Get out there and have a swashbuckling good time this September.
(By the Library Clerk, David Winn)