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Avast Ye Scalawag · 8 February 2020



I never knew that Pirate was a different language that could be taught and learned.


There are all sorts of apps out there that teach different languages. Of course, the biggest of them all is Rosetta Stone. Its approach is immersion. As much as you can immerse yourself in your own computer. (Which is a completely different story.) But there are other apps that are certainly worth looking into and trying.


Mango Languages is one of those noteworthy apps. It is available for download on phones and tablets and such. Plus you can access it online. The nice thing about it is that it connects to our local library and whatever languages the library has available are available on Mango Languages. I would imagine that is true in other places too. Just connect the app to your library account and you can be learning a language in no time at all.


The great thing about language is that it brings people together. Obviously, we all use language to communicate. Yes, we can use pictures (after all a picture is worth a thousand words), but when it comes right down to it, we need language to communicate.


I need to interject a side note here. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but how many of us complain about movies not being able to correctly portray a book? Those thousands of pictures cannot hope to accurately portray the tens of thousand words. So is a picture really worth a thousand words?


But I digress.


Language is indeed important and learning new ones is a great way to learn to communicate to a wider range of people than we can just knowing one. For instance, if I wanted to communicate with more people in the world, I would learn Spanish. Or Chinese. Or Hindustani.


We might also want to learn different languages for different reasons too. If I wanted to learn more about my culture of origin, I would learn Japanese. If I wanted to watch more soap operas on TV, I might learn Korean. If I wanted to find out what they were saying on those pirate movies, I might learn Pirate. Really. Pirate is an actual language!


When I first saw Pirate as a language on Mango Languages, I had to laugh. Pirate!? How ludicrous. There were even six lessons (at least) on how to speak pirate. Quite the eye opener. At least the one without the patch. I thought to myself, why would anybody want to learn to speak like a pirate? And why would anybody go through the trouble of making lessons to learn Pirate? Obviously for people in my family. After all, we opened up the first lesson and went through the whole thing.


“Brush me barnacles!”
“Avast ye scalawags!”
“Shiver me timbers!”
“Haul wind, ye landlubbers.”


And then later, we opened the second lesson and learned those phrases too. I was not quite as in tune with those and did not practice those phrases, although Swashbuckler and Landlubbers were certainly part of that lesson and not the first. Still, I thought it quite entertaining to hear the iPad spitting out those phrases. Especially, with the emphasized arrrr everywhere. And the never conjugated “be” or the forgotten “g.” I be thinkin’ it be quite enterrrtainin’. For spectators and participants of the lessons.


My favorite part about the whole thing was that the narrator could be so straight-faced, rather straight-voiced, throughout the whole thing. I wondered how many takes it would take to record the whole thing. It was no wonder that they only had six lessons on Pirate. Then I was told the truth. The narrator was a computer generated voice. So all they had to do was put in the right words to say and the computer did the rest. What a disappointment. But I can still imagine a real narrator having to do the lessons tons of times before getting it right. Before doing it without so much as a smirk.


I suppose the pirate was a computer too. Then again, maybe the pirate was real. After all, he sounded like a real scalawag. Who knows. All I know is that when we looked at all the languages we could be learning, we chose Pirate. Because as you now know, Pirate is a real language that you can learn to speak.

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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