Friday, September 17, 2010

Talk like a 13th Century Pirate - Challenge!

My father just sent me this, from the 18th-Century Literature list he's on: not sure if it's a real assignment, but I'd like to think that it is. (He asked if I'd heard of Talk Like A Pirate Day: arrrr, an' knowin the sort o' scurvy bilge rats crossin' my wake across the Seven Cyber Seas, it's sure as curses in dead men's eyes I'll savvy the High Holy Day o' the Pastafarians...)


I think this assignment is awesome, too. In fact, I'd love to toss it out there as a challenge. (Steve Zytveld, I'm looking at you.) If you want to give this a try, the assignment, as originally posted, is below. Post your translations here in the comments section! (If you post them by Monday, that's extra points. Points are redeemable for 'geek cred,' the standard currency of conventions, comic stores, online discussion boards, and any and all MMORPGs, particularly the ones with pirates. Also legal tender in many fine academic establishments.) 


(N.b. You do not need to be a geek, nerd, or medieval literature student to participate.)


"This coming Sunday, Sept. 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Any of those who have chosen to write at least one two-page paper for their paper options may, for this Monday only, translate any 50 lines of Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales into pirate-ese. You must demonstrate understanding of the original text in your translation -- no random translations, please. Your grade will reflect the accuracy and originality of
your translation. I will, of course, take into account different possible readings of lines.

If you need some direction in talking like a pirate, check out this website:

The links from this page are probably more useful than the page itself.

Good luck, have fun with it if you choose the translation exercise, and see you all Monday.

 --James Rovira"


  1. Ha... your father kindly sent along a link to this blog. Yes, it is indeed a real assignment. I had four students out of a class of 25 attempt it with varying degrees of success -- but all of them were quite amusing. Thanks much for the notice...

  2. My respect to the four that tried! I haven't had any takers yet, as you can see... But I do think it's a grest assignment. (Nothing indicates whether you actually understand Chaucer like trying to translate it. I was reminded of Baba Brinkman's "Rap Canterbury Tales" - do you know it? Chaucer translated into hiphop.