International Talk Like a Pirate Day is coming up on September 19, so today we’ll talk about pronunciations and phrases associated with pirates!
For example, you may be wondering why pirates are usually portrayed as speaking a rhotic variety of English—in other words, why do pirates say, “Arr”?
One theory is that many famous pirates, including Blackbeard (real) and Long John Silver (fictional), were said to come from a British region known to have a strong rhotic West Country accent.
The ‘Arr!’ of a pirate comes from the West Country English accent.
Pirates also came from other regions, and “Arr” was used in some depictions of pirates before the 1950s, but the actor Robert Newton is largely responsible for popularizing the “Arr” sound for depicting pirates.