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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

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Avast, Ye Scurvy Dogs

— An annual tradition continues.

The learned readership of the Collegiate Way certainly doesn’t need to be reminded that today, Friday, September 19th, is International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day. But truth be told, how many of us have kept up with the language we studied so assiduously in our youth? Those long hours spent in Beginning Pirate and Intermediate Pirate have receded so far into the past that I bet many of us can remember today only a few fragments of vocabulary and almost no grammar. (“Small Pirate and lesse Greeke.”)

Not to worry. This brief video will bring you back up to speed, and will help you avoid those embarrassing moments around the water cooler in the Senior Common Room when you can’t seem to remember the difference between arrr! and yarrr!


But wherefore this exhortation? (On the Collegiate Way there’s always a moral.) Because, as Cardinal Newman famously said, a college should be an alma mater, a nourishing mother, who knows her children one by one—and laughs and plays with them, too. It should not be a foundry or a mint or a treadmill.

Who went in search of the golden fleece? Jason and the Arrrgonauts. An odd-looking French philosopher? Jean-Paul Sarrrtre. Your favorite nineteenth-century Dane? Søren Kierkegaarrrd. The ruler of the round table? King Arrrthur. Need to type more efficiently? Use the specially designed Corsair Ergonomic Keyboard for Pirates:

[The Pirate keyboard, arrr.]

Does your college have its own playful annual traditions? If not, why would anyone feel any special attachment to the place? One of my residential college students once said, “I’ve never lived anywhere that had so many inside jokes.” Your students (and your fellows) should be saying the same thing, matey. Yarrr.

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© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2014