Sep 19

Talk Like A Pirate Day: Shipwrecks, Booty, and Linguistics

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day, the one day out of the year where everybody gets to talk like their favorite buccaneers of the 17th and 18th centuries. And nothing says swashbuckling good times like a lesson in linguistic anthropology. Yo ho, yo ho

So did pirates really pepper their speech with arr, shiver me timbers, and avast? Probably not, says the lubbers over at National Geographic. There’s almost no record of how pirates spoke–no letters or logs. ‘Tis a bummer, matey. The truth is that pirates were such a diverse crew–including Scots, Irish, Africans, French, Dutchmen, Swedes, and Danes–that there was probably more than one dialect on the seven seas.

But there’s still some pirate lore that facts won’t ruin today: shipwrecks and buried treasure.

After years of searching, the undersea explorer Barry Clifford made world headlines with his discovery of the first pirate shipwreck of Captain “Black Sam” Bellamy’s ship, the Whydah. Bellamy was ranked by Forbes as the top-earning pirate, plundering over $120 million in booty, and his ship was said to be stocked with over four tons of gold and silver.

Clifford finds where X marks the spot with National Geographic below. Merry Talk Like a Pirate Day, me hearties!

Barry Clifford: Pirate Treasure Found from National Geographic Live on FORA.tv

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