Avast, Me Hearties!
Ever wanted to talk like a pirate? Here’s just the thing
George Choundas 92C, a corporate attorney and former FBI agent in New York, is also a pirate linguist.
To capture the lexicon for his book, The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues (Writer’s Digest Books, 2007), Choundas pulled words and phrases from twenty films, thirteen television episodes, an amusement park attraction, and more than forty books.
The Pirate Primer, which is bound to look like a mahogany leather guide that washed up from the sea ages ago, is the first complete guide to the pirate language, Choundas says, with nearly five hundred pages of the vernacular of English-speaking pirates over the last three centuries of history, literature, and film. This includes threats, curses, oaths, insults, epithets, pronunciation, and even pirate grammar. A chapter on cultural terms describes thirty-one types of pirate drink, sixty different pirate terms for the word woman, and sixty-seven kinds of pirate torture and punishment.
“Each linguistic concept is introduced by a related anecdote or historical account, so readers can ‘live’ the language as they learn it,” he says.
The Pirate Primer was inspired by a trolley ride Choundas and his wife took in Key West, during which a coarse shop owner-cum-pirate charged after the sightseers on foot, swinging a cutlass and screaming pirate epithets.
“I’ve never been or worked as a pirate, but there are connections,” says Choundas. “My father captained transoceanic supertankers for Aristotle Onassis and others before leaving Greece for America (though he never encountered pirates), and my great-grandfather, a fisherman in Greece’s Saronic Gulf, was killed by Algerian pirates.”
While at Emory, Choundras was a Woodruff Scholar, Phi Beta Kappa, a member of the Barkley Forum, and an Emory Law Scholar. He is donating 25 percent of his profits from The Pirate Primer to the National Debate Project, an organization that develops urban educational debate programs nationwide that was founded by Barkley Forum director Melissa Maxcy Wade 72C 76G 96T 00T.
“Reaction so far has been great, and we’re getting more attention around the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean III,” Choundas says. “And International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day on September 19 follows not too long after that!”
So on September 19, landlubbers might want to raise a pint of grog and say a few “arrghs” and “ahoys” in honor of pirates the world over. You wouldn’t want to have to walk the plank and wind up in Davy Jones’ locker.—M.J.L.
Kim Jollow Zimring 00G 00M 03MR was a voracious reader as a child, and devoured every science fiction book her father owned. Although she became a doctor, her fascination with futuristic adventures endured. Zimring, now a general physician at Emory University Hospital, was named a finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest for her novelette, “Ripping Carovella.” A thriller in which neurons are stolen from people’s brains, Ripping Carovella “turns neurology into anthropology,” Zimring told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She wrote the story in one week last summer while at a writing conference at Michigan State University. It will be published this year in the anthology, Writers of the Future, Volume 23. Zimring and her husband, Jim Zimring 92C 98G 99M 02MR, live in Decatur.
In The Modern Heretic—Principles for a New Humanism, mathematician Deborah C. Arangno 82G, associate professor of mathematics and physical science at the University of Maryland, European Division, explores the purpose of human existence, the debate over abortion, the origins of the universe, and the controversy over intelligent design, speaking in defense of moral absolutes as a refutation of secular materialism and the ideology of relativism.
Baptists in the South were once considered the last bastions of segregation. But that has changed in a powerful way over the last several decades, writes minister Emmanuel McCall 76T in his book, When All God’s Children Get Together: A Memoir of Race and Baptists (Mercer University Press, 2007). The shift toward diversity, says McCall, resulted from the work of leaders and laypeople alike.