Talk Like a Pirate. A *Somalian* Pirate.

Today, September 19, is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. But "avast ye hearties" and "arrrrr" aren't representative of the language you'd most likely hear if your boat were overtaken by actual, modern-day working pirates now. At, the Danger Room blog offers a more accurate contemporary take: How to Talk Like a Somalian Pirate.


  1. My birthday (today) is forever tainted by talk like a pirate day, so I greatly appreciate this – besides it being really interesting anyway :)

    1. Or Somalian; see any good dictionary. You’re welcome!

      (Some sources state slightly different meanings for the two words; doesn’t matter in the context of this post though, both would be okay here.)

  2. Eh… I dunno. Somali pirates just don’t have the same savoir faire as European pirates. Indian pirates are pretty interesting, too, though not nearly as prolific or notorious as their European colleagues. I think the appeal lies in a pirate’s motivations. All pirates are initially motivated by desperation, but the European (and some Indian) pirates grew to enjoy their lifestyle and even revel in it (consider Blackbeard’s habit of burning hemp cord under his beard to make himself seem to smolder demonically).

    However, the Somalis are driven purely by desperation and nothing more. They have no designs on building a pirate fleet or sailing the high seas in search of other ports to plunder. They merely paddle out in some sad dinghy, commandeer a freighter and wait for either a ransom or a bullet through the noggin. Now that would be a handy Somali phrase to know: “Don’t shoot!”

  3. Somali pirates are not the ones that will save us from Global Warming as any good Pastafarian would know. So, please, for the love of The Noodly Appendage, speak like a proper Caribbean Pirate today and Save The World before it’s too late!!!

  4. as, for instance, according to the AP:

    1. Wikipedia lists both Somali and Somalian as demonyms. Plus, that style guide has at least one obvious inaccuracy where it defines ‘hijab’ as a head scarf, when its more important meaning is modest Islamic dress.

  5. This really spoils the fun. Things involving people from a long time ago are fun and humorous. That’s whyin History of the World  Mel Brooks can make jokes about the Inquisition and the Holocaust (well it helps that he’s in the relevant ethnic group.) Pirates from olden times- cool and funny. Reminding us that there are pirates now and that those pirates’ existence is to a large extent due to the fact that their country was shattered by being a proxy for the conflict between the US and the USSR? That’s tragedy, not comedy. In two hundred years, Somali pirates will be hilarious. Right now, this is just a call back to reality. 

    So for me at least, I’ll stay in denial and just shiver me timbers and bury me doubloons. 

  6. The Arabic script is mangled. Letter spacing and ligatures are off. Considering it’s DoD document though, that doesn’t surprise me.

    Edit: Also, Arabic goes from right to left. They seem to have missed that.

    1. Perhaps now that DADT is officially over and done with, we can start re-enlisting some of the homosexual military Arabic translators who were dishonourably discharged.

  7. We’d be telling different jokes if these were airplane pirates.  I’m laughing just thinking about it!

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