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evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Why do pirates seem to talk in a Scottish accent?

Asked by evelyns_pet_zebra (12923points) January 17th, 2009

Am I missing something here? I have Scottish heritage, yet I don’t remember hearing about any pirates in my family. Horse thieves and drunkards, but no pirates. Needless to say, I haven’t stolen a drunken horse in decades.

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18 Answers

Bluefreedom's avatar

Could you give us the specifics on what it was like to steal a drunken horse? Someone here on Fluther might just want to do that someday, namely me, and I’d like to know what to expect when I get around to doing it. :o)

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

well, I was pretty drunk at the time myself, but if I remember right, you need a stick, a large burlap bag, and a few friends. Wait, that’s snipe hunting. If I were you, I’d stick to stealing sober horses, easier on the back. Everyone knows horses can’t hold their liquor.

aidje's avatar

There is the whole Treasure Island thing. I’d guess that has something to do with it, given its influence.

Nimis's avatar

Don’t you love how I somewhat answered
this question in an entirely unrelated thread?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@Nimis, yeah, more abuse of the site by the mods. I’m kidding. I’m just trying to make you laugh, so that maybe your tattoo will stop hurting. and I’ve been trying to put my sort of being an asshole tendencies to the wayside You’ll have to tell me if I am succeeding. :-)

Nimis's avatar

Though sometimes I quite enjoy a fine example of assholery.
Don’t put it too wayside.

PS I am a bannerless jelly.

galileogirl's avatar

I don’t think Somalian pirates who are taking on cruise ships and oil tankers do-more like an Afro-English patois.

mij's avatar

I’m also Scottish myself and proud of my heritage.
The history of the West Coast of Scotland where I grew up has some wonderful stories associated with pirates.
Now one must assume as there are no spoken records that the local pirates would have had Scots accents but I think not much like todays spoken Scots.
I recall that Blackbeard or one of those dodgy types of the time was indeed Scottish.
Why not Google Scottish pirates and see what you can find.
And did you know there is a World talk like a pirate day, arggh!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

English (Pirate) is a language selection on Facebook.
Settings>Language>last entry for primary language.

Jack79's avatar

Hollywood has many such conventions. For example, did you realise that during the Second World War German soldiers actually spoke german to each other? True! But of course in Hollywood films they just speak english with “v” instead of “w”. The fact that the actors are all american might have something to do with it.

Or of course all vampires speak French and have a lisp. Except Count Dracula who speaks like a Russian immigrant. And so on…

unused_bagels's avatar

@Jack79 He spoke like a russian immigrant, which was way more almost accurate than the frenchies, I do agree. Also, I hate it when greeks and russians and germans in movies speak with british accents. Why can’t they speak german and we read subtitles?!

@evelyns_pet_zebra the answer to your question is simple. It’s not Scottish, it’s simply an unrefined British accent, much like a hillbilly accent is to America, or an osaka accent is to Japan, or a Glasgow accent is to Scotland herself.

boffin's avatar


evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@boffin, funny you should mention Hollywood. I read a quote the other day that basically said that any historical movie Hollywood makes that is ‘based on a true story’ is very loosely based, since historical accuracy is the death knell for a successful film. So when I want history, I read a book. Movies are too concerned with appearances. The Valkyrie movie with that Cruise fellow won’t get any of my money, because I already know that story, I read about it in the book Killing Hitler by Roger Moorhouse. That particular assassination attempt wasn’t even the most exciting of the fifty known attempts. The one about the world’s first suicide bomber (going to blow up Hitler during a public appearance) struck me as a much better story. Too short for a movie, but a better story.

tennesseejac's avatar

This pirate walks into a bar with a big wooden steering wheel from his ship down his pants. The bartender says, “Excuse me, sir, but do you know you have a ship’s wheel down the front of your pants?”
And the pirate says…
Aaargh, it’s driving me nuts!! (in a Scottish accent)

Jack79's avatar

A young sailor asks a weathered pirate: “how did you get that wooden leg then?”
“Ah, that was a cannonball that. Good ole days. They don’t make cannonballs like that anymore”
“And what about that hook?”
“Just a good old-fashioned duel on the ships deck. The enemy captain’s cutlass cut right through me elbow right there, see?”
“I bet there’s an interesting story behind the eyepatch too”
“Not really. My eye was itching and I had just gotten the hook installed that day”

Knotmyday's avatar

The first mate goes up to the captain: “Cap’n, a warship of the king’s navy is upon us!” “Arrr, then, matey…bring me: Me red coat!”

The battle is fought, and the pirates win. Afterward, the mate asks the captain why he asked for his red coat in particular. “That if those scallywags wounded me, these swabs wouldn’t see me blood and lose harrrrrrt!” <proud of that one

The next day the mate ran in. “Cap’n, eight of the king’s warships are upon us!”

“Bring me…me brown pants…”

benseven's avatar

The stereotypical Hollywood Pirate accent is actually from England, not Scotland – an area referred to as ‘The West Country’. You can read more about its assimilation into Pirate stories in this Wikipedia article.

flutherother's avatar

An atrocious pirate joke told in a mock British accent confusedly understood as a Scottish one. Pirate is wearing an eye patch and has a grossly mutilated ear horribly misshapen and seemingly burned.

Arrr, Jim Lad, I was doin the ships ironing last Wednesday morning when the telephone rang. arrrr.

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