Thanks to the global pandemic sea shanties are suddenly popular, which fine, great – it’s about time something good came out of all this death and disease. But the rise of sea shanties has meant a corresponding rise in people talking about sea shanties, which has highlighted one of the greatest horrors of the modern age:
People saying “aaargh” when they want to sound like a pirate or old-timey sailor, instead of “aaarrr”.
“Aaarrr” is clearly correct, though people of good conscience can disagree about the precise numbers of “a”s and “r”s. I will also accept “yaaaar”, as Horatio McCallister uses to start every sentence.
But “arrgh” is clearly an expression of distress, much like “augh”
Can I pirate say “argh”? Sure, I guess, if the pirate in question had stubbed his toe or his parrot had pecked him in the ear or something, but so can a non-pirate, and more to the point this putative pirate wouldn’t start every sentence with “argh” like he would with “arrr”. And more importantly, we can all agree that only sea-faring types would ever say “arrr”. So let’s all agree to socially condemn people who do it wrong.