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The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues Hardcover – March 29, 2007


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The Pirate Primer: Mastering the Language of Swashbucklers & Rogues + Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates + A General History of the Pyrates (Dover Maritime)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (March 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582974896
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974897
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #317,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

Very cool and funny book.
Amazon Customer
As the subtitle of the Pirate Primer suggest, the book deals with the language of pirates.
Tobias, Son of Floyd
19 is talk like a Pirate book, she loves it!
Helen Buck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By David T. Kim on May 14, 2007
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.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Tobias, Son of Floyd on May 4, 2007
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.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Patrick L. OConnor on April 22, 2007
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.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Karen Mercury on June 12, 2007
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Patricia V. Davis (Volonakis) on June 12, 2007
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Sheridan on June 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a unique and facinating book, the likes of which I had never known existed. I had no idea there was a "Pirate Language" any different than the English spoken by their countrymen at the time. The stories of the pirates themselves, both male and female, are savage, bloody and depraved: perfect summer reading material!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THE PIRATE PRIMER: MASTERING THE LANGUAGE OF SWASHBUCKLERS AND ROGUES represents the only general reference to examine the language of pirates, offering up a pirate vocabulary complete with pronunciation and grammar. Three centuries of distinctive terms and usages from TV, literature and history blend into entries organized by 'oaths', 'commands', 'retorts' and more. Any writer involved in pirate representation needs thorough knowledge of the lingo, making THE PIRATE PRIMER a pick for any writer's library.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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