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The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers and Rogues [Paperback]

George Choundas


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Book Description

Dec 28 2010
Ebbry-blastin'-theng ye needs must know-oo to lay tongue liker aargh-thentic pirate, by the devil's twisted tail.

Take a tour through the world of piracy with the only authoritative work on the pirate language. A comprehensive course in pirate vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and syntax, The Pirate Primer contains three centuries of distinctive terms and usages uttered by (and attributed to) pirates in film, TV, literature, and history.

Discover more than 100 pages of threats, curses, oaths, insults, and epithets; 31 types of pirate drink; 60 different pirate terms for "woman"; 67 kinds of pirate torture and punishment; 44 distinct definitions of "aargh"; and more.

Each entry in the Primer is accompanied by an excerpt, so you can see the words and phrases used in proper context by actual pirates. And each linguistic concept is introduced by a related anecdote or narrative account, so you can live the language while you learn it.

Whether you're simply fascinated by the culture of the Brethren of the Coast or you fancy yourself a modern-day corsair, The Pirate Primer is your guide to authentic pirate speak. Should you ever stare down Davy Jones and he demands proof that you're one who flies no flag, despair not.

You'll be able to talk the talk, and no mistake.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (Dec 28 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599631962
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599631967
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.4 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #365,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

George Choundas lives and works in New York City. Educated at Emory University, he is a corporate litigator and former FBI agent. The Pirate Primer was inspired by a trolley ride he and his wife took in Key West, Florida during which a coarse shop owner charged after the sightseers on foot, swinging a cutlass and screaming pirate epithets.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  54 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Entertaining May 14 2007
By David T. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A friend of mine (non-pirate) recommended this book, so I leafed through it without much expectation. Not being a fan of the genre, I expected to be none too interested. I was shocked to find that a couple of hours had passed when I looked back up! Really informative and, most importantly, fun to read. Great stuff. I've been recommending it highly to all my friends.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ye'll be a bold scug to say no to the Primer May 4 2007
By Tobias, Son of Floyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
George Choundas and the folks at Writers Digest Books have published a handsomely bound book that should grace your pirate library. The look and feel of this book is absolutely fabulous. I'm sure some will wait for a soft cover edition to be printed but if you are one of them you will miss out on one of the joys of this book. The illustrations on the end pages and quality of the paper used for the interior pages make this hard bound first edition a must. If this book comes out in soft cover, it will be impossible to duplicate this fine workmanship.

As the subtitle of the Pirate Primer suggest, the book deals with the language of pirates. However, in discovering the language; you do learn something of the pirate life, both in fact and fiction. Choundas does not limit himself to the language of actual pirates but tackles the language as presented in works of literature, motion picture and television. In every case, the author states the word or phrase, provides a short definition and then provides an example of how the word or phrase is used. Choundas provides a citation for the examples which inform the reader of where they came from.

The book does not stop there. It also includes an entire chapter on the most famous pirate word uttered; that being "arrrgh!" It will come as no surprise to most pirate enthusiasts that are smart as paint that real pirates didn't say "arrrgh!"

The book also includes a lexicon of nautical terms that are sure to please anyone who has ever tried to read a seafaring book. You'll also get a section on food, drink, weapons and women.

If this isn't enough, you'll learn a hundreds of ways to greet your fellow pirate, bid the same adieu, and curse or compliment him/her.

And like a late night TV ad, I have to say "But wait, there's more." The book goes into great detail on how to form a pirate sentence, the use of adverbs and adjectives, positioning verbs, the use of transitive verbs, and other grammar rules as they apply to pirates Choundas actually covers the language as an English teacher would but the difference is you'll actually enjoy this textbook.

Did I mention the collection of Ship's Articles at the end of the book? Yep! You even get ship's articles with the Primer.

All in all, the entire book is a joy to read and joy to look at. Probably the only drawback is the lack of pictures. (That, and Choundas doesn't include any quotes from the movie The Black Swan) But let's face it; most of the pictures found in pirate books tend to be the same ones found everywhere else. In closing, not only will this book get you ready for the next Talk Like a Pirate Day, it will also make you want to rewatch all those old pirate movies and perhaps buy a pirate novel you haven't already read. The book will also act as a handy reference tool for the aspiring pirate author or acotr. Aye matey, This be your book if a pirate you must be.

Tobias Gibson
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Addition June 12 2007
By Karen Mercury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great volume for a writer to add to his library. As people have probably mentioned, it's separated into handy categories such as "Retorts" and "Malapropisms." My only caveat for a writer of historical fiction is to watch out for the fictional sources, which seem to be the majority. I'm not sure how authentic they are and I'm wary of that. I'd stick with sources like "General History of the Pyrates," Woodes Rogers, Exquemelin, and William Dampier. I feel safe with Defoe and Marryat, as they were experienced seamen writing for contemporaries.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avast ye maties! An excellent read! April 22 2007
By Patrick L. OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ever wonder how in the world they come up with all that pirate lingo for movies like "Pirates of the Carribbean?" Wonder no more! This book is the definitive guide to pirate-speak. It details everything you would ever want to know about the eytmology, meaning, and use of all that pirate speak you've heard but can never adequate reproduce on your own. It is also filled with little-known facts and interesting stories about the pirating way.

Whether you are an aspirating pirate or an author or screenwriter needing to know the proper use of pirate speak this book is for you. The outline of the book is simple and indexed so well that you can always find exactly the term you need to define or the proper turn of phrase be it oath (burn and sink me), curse (you can up anchor and away to the devil), or respectful address (son of a sea dog). Additionally, the book's beautiful binding and pages (all the pages look like ancient parchment) makes this a great book to set out in your home or office as a facinating topic of conversation.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teachers- Use this in your classroom! June 12 2007
By Patricia V. Davis (Volonakis) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You cannot believe the creative ways I've come up with to use this primer in my workshops on how to conduct English grammar lessons. By having a book that's so much fun (and so timely what with Johnny Depp looking adorable in dreadlocks and gold-filled teeth) ESL and native-language grammar pupils really sit up and take notice. I love the look and feel of this book, too, and apart from using it as a language tool, I'm sending it out as a gift to every 'pirate lover' I know! Unique and well done!

Review by author of Harlot's Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece
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