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From:Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Date:Tuesday, July 18, 2006, 13:20
What is the origin of the stereotypical speech of Anglophonic nautical
types?  Most recently it's been more closely associated with pirates
in particular (see "Talk Like a Pirate Day"), but historically it's
been attributed to sailors on both sides of the law, including the
superheroic Popeye the Sailor Man.

The basic features seem to be these.  Individually all are found in
other contexts, but the particular combination is quite evocative,
especially with some nautical vocabulary sprinkled around:

- "you" supplanted by "ye" in both numbers and all cases

- "yes" replaced by "aye" (I suspect this is a misinterpretation of
the Naval tradition of using "aye" for "I hear and obey" vs "yes" for
other uses of the affirmative)

- unconjugated infinitives used as finite forms, especially "be"

- velar nasal in -ing ending replaced by alveolar -n

- intervocalic /v/ -> zero in words such as "never", "ever"

Is this a (no doubt exaggerated) version of some regional English
dialect closely associated with the sea?   It has some noticeable
overlap with the stereotypical Scots dialect..

Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>