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Treasure Island

Pirate talk originated with the seafaring pirates of old

Pirate talk originated in Disney's 1950 "Treasure Island" movie

Where did Pirate talk originate?

Oooh arrr, shiver me timbers landlubbers!

If it doesn't sounds too obvious a question, where did this distinctive pirate talk originate?

If you thought it must have been with, well, pirates on the high seas think again. It was in fact first heard in Disney's 1950 movie "Treasure Island", and started a trend that's now ingrained so deeply into our culture it's true origins are largely forgotten.

There's even a full online dictionary of pirate terms and phrases, so yo! ho! ho! and a bottle of rum, fill yer boots me hearties!

September 19th

The International Talk Like A Pirate day falls on September 19th. Romantics can even use pirate pick-up lines.

National Geographic acknowledges real pirates didn't speak the way we think they did. Most pirates couldn't even read and write, so there's nothing written down from them about their dialect and spoken mannerisms. 


To British ears, there's little difference in the accents of those from the South-West of the UK, around Somerset and Cornwall, and the pirate accent, except the pirate talk is an exaggerated version of it. This is no co-incidence. The actor playing the most famous fictional pirate of all, Long John Silver, was Robert Newton and hails from that part of the world. He just added a few colorful phrases to his own natural voice, with the appropriate emphasis. It became an instant stereotype which moved beyond pirates to represent many other seafarers of old, from Captain Hook right through to Captain McCallister in the Simpsons. Fittingly, Long John Silver also came from the same region in the novel.

Another pirate myth is walking the plank. There are no records of this ever happening. Whilst it's up for debate whether that too is a Mandela Effect, what isn't, me hearties, is how those Hollywood scallywags created an enduring myth.