How to talk like a Dutch pirate

Cartoon pirate with parrot skip to content

Trust our fans to keep us from being too Anglocentric. We've had a how-to-talk-like-a-German-pirate page up on the site for a few years, and we recently heard from one Kap'tein Sander, who wrote:

‘Tis a great concept, this (Talk like a pirate day’), but it seems to me that it has one big flaw: No Dutch Pirates?! My good sirs, I hope that you are aware of the great naval history of the United Provinces, both those of Holland and the Dunkirkers? If not, I recommend you to read some pages on wikipedia or something J.

But I am not in my right to scold you, for you have already performed a very good task on the English pirates.

I myself present to you in this document a small list of words, which will hopefully prove useful to you and to Dutch-speaking would-be pirates around the globe!

Here's his glossary:

Types of pirates:

Kaper (pl. kapers): privateers; pirates that had received a permit from a country to raid and pillage ships of their enemies.

Boekanier (pl. boekaniers): pirates who attacked French & Spanish ships in the late 17th century.

Vrijbuiter (pl. Vrijbuiters): completely independent pirates, without a pirate code (which boekaniers had and respected)

Types of ships:

Fluit(schip) (Fluyt in old Dutch): Dutch tradeship, with a slight pear shape

Galjoen: galleon

Jacht: Yacht, originally invented by the Dutch navy as a fast boat for pursuing fleeing enemies

Korvet: corvette, not a kind of car, lightly armed warship

Linieschip: ship-of-the-line

Schoener: schooner, a bit sturdier than a jacht, but no real warship

Spookschip: ghost ship

De Vliegende Hollander: the Flying Dutchman

Parts of the ship:

Anker: anchor

Bak: forecastle, upper deck of the ship

Bakboord: left side of the ship

Boeg / voorsteven: bow of the ship, front of the ship

Brug: bridge

Dek: deck

Kajuit: cabin

Kiel: keel, a sort of ‘fin’ at the bottom of the ship

Patrijspoort: porthole

Roer: rudder

Romp: hull

(Scheeps)ruim: can’t seem to find an english word, yet it’s just the place where you put all your trading goods and booty

Spant: the ‘ribs’ of a ship

Spiegel: stern, flat backside of the ship

Stuurboord: right side of the ship

Valreep: the plank

Zeil: sail

Weapons:

Donderbus: blunderbuss, type of early gun

Enterhaak: grappling hook

Floret: foil, a type of sword

Haakbus: arquebus, type of gun

Hartsvanger: cutlass, type of sword

Kanon: cannon

Musket: musket, type of gun

Rapier: rapier, type of sword

Sabel: sabre, type of sword

Ranks:

Bemanning: crew

Kapitein: captain

Eerste stuurman: chief mate, the captain’s second in command (sometimes the kapitein would also name a tweede stuurman, derde stuurman, vierde stuurman, etc.)

Bootsman: responsible for the maintenance of the ship, but may boss the matrozen and lichtmatrozen around

Matroos: crewmember

Lichtmatroos: lowest rank on the ship, he’s the one that has to do the housekeeping on the ship

Scheepskok: the ship’s cook

Creatures of the seven seas:

Achtarm / kraak: octopus, kraken

Dwaallicht: will-o-the-wisp’s, in Dutch folklore it was believed that these lights were the souls of unbaptized and unborn children

Haai: shark, ‘naar de haaien gaan’ (to go to the sharks) means to go down, to sink

Klabauter / dreutel: sea-leprechaun, indiginous to Germany, the Netherlands and the Baltic Sea; although the German version seems to be evil, the Dutch version saves shipwrecked people

(zee)meerman: merman

(zee)meermin: mermaid

(Zee)meeuw: (sea)gull

Papegaai: parrot

Pokken: barnacles

Sirene: siren

Vis: fish

Walvis: whale

Food ‘n’ drinks:

Bier: beer

Grog: grog (thank god)

Rum: rum

Tweebak / (Scheeps)beschuit: rusk

Water: water

Miscellaneous:

Aanleggen / kaaien / voor anker gaan (verb): to anchor a ship

Alle hens aan dek: ‘all hands on deck’, the captain calls out for his crew to join him on deck

Alle trossen los!: the trossen are the ropes with which the ship is attached to the dock

Aye / ja: yes

Bries: wind, breeze; ‘een lichte bries’ (a light breeze), ‘een stevige bries’ (a strong breeze)

Buit / scheepsbuit: booty, swag

Dok / werf: dock

Dood en(de) duivel!: Death and devil!

Doodshoofd: skull

Duizend bommen en granaten!

Enteren (verb): to capture a ship

Haak: hook

Houten been: pegleg (‘wooden leg’)

Hou vaart!: ‘fare thee well’

Kielhalen: to drag someone along the keel of the ship

Lagune: lagoon

Landrot: landlubber

Maat: matey, friend

Ooglap: eye patch

Schatkist: treasure chest

Verduiveld!: by the devil!

Vervloekt!: damned!

Voetenspoelen: (to wash the feet), euphemism to throwing prisoners overboard

P.S.: The German pirate song ‘Alle die mit uns auf Käperfahrt fahren’ is in fact an old Flemish folk song, originating in Dunkirque, present day French-Flandres (where people in those days still spoke Dutch and the place was called Duinkerken, a notorious haven for pirates).

The original Dutch song was sung as early as the 17th century. I don’t want to rip off on the German version, but right information is right information; which doesn’t mean that the German pirates can’t sing the German version of the song!

Al die willen te kaap'ren varen /(All who wants to fare out to raid with us)/
Moeten mannen met baarden zijn /(Must be men with beards)/

refrein:
Jan, Piet, Joris en Corneel /(Jan, Pier, Tjores and Corneel)
/Die hebben baarden, die hebben baarden /(They have beards, they have beards/
Jan, Piet, Joris en Corneel /(Jan, Pier, Tjores and Corneel)/
Die hebben baarden, zij varen mee /(They have beards, they sail with us)/

Al die ranzige tweebak lusten /(All who like the taste of filthy rusk)/
Moeten mannen met baarden zijn /(Must be men with beards)/

refrein

Al die deftige pijpkens smoren /(All who smoke classy pipes)/
Moeten mannen met baarden zijn /(Must be men with beards)/

refrein

Al die met ons de walrus killen /(All who hunt the walrus with us)/
Moeten mannen met baarden zijn /(Must be men with beards)/

refrein

Al die dood en duivel niet duchten /(All who do not fear death and devil)/
Moeten mannen met baarden zijn /(Must be men with beards)/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxoNe-5D_M4

And I’ll end with the Dutch translation of one of the best songs of the sea ever made; the drunken sailor. As with many translated folk songs, this song has many versions; I picked one and added verses from other versions.

Wat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman (/Wat shall we do with the drunken sailor?) /x3
's morgens in de vroegte. /(Early in the morning)/

Chorus
Hela hop daar gaat ie (/Hooray, and hup there he goes) /x3
's morgens in de vroegte! /(Early in the morning)/

Gooi hem overboord dan kan ie zwemmen (/Toss him overboard so he can swim)/

Hang hem in de mast om uit te waaien (/Hang him onto the mast so he can blow out)/

Stop hem in zijn bed om uit te slapen (/Put him in his bed so he can sleep it off)/

Stop z’n kop in een emmer met water (/Put his head in a bucket full of water)/

Roep de kapitein die zal hem leren (/Call the captain, that will teach him)/

Dat zullen we doen met de dronken zeeman (/That’s what we’ll do with a drunken sailor)/