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Pirate Primer Book

Book Review:

  • The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues by George Choundas
  • Hardcover: 469 pages
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books (March 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582974896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974897
The Pirate Primer

George Choundas and the folks at Writers Digest Books have published a handsomely bound book that should grace the shelves in 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 informs the reader of where the quotes came from.

This well researched book does not stop here. 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 them.

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 (and it is a minor one) is the lack of pictures. (That, and Choundas doesn’t include any quotes from the movie The Black Swan -- one of my favorite pirate movies.) 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 actor. Aye matey, This be yer book if a pirate you must be. Get'er now by thunder or in the scuppers fer sure ye'll be!

(Iff'n ye the book make purchase ye'll not be sorry for the act, but y' min' me nows! Be not me gettin' no rewards for yer, genrerosity! I give ye me affi-davies this here review is just me honest words and they's no jolly dollars here for my kinde.)

By Tobias Gibson.

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The only author and editor of all pages on the site. Most of what I write about is based on years of book reading on the topic. My first web page was published back in 1994.

Updated: 04 September 2022