Aurebesh Alphabet

Overview of the Star Wars Universe and Languages

The Star Wars franchise is one of the most popular science fiction universes in the world. Created by George Lucas through the initial film, Star Wars: a New Hope, the intellectual property of Star Wars has exploded, especially after the acquisition of the franchise by Disney. There are various languages contained within the Universe, with the predominant language being called "Galactic Basic", or simply "Basic". Basic speech is denoted by English within the franchise, but it is unknown what the actual language is. As the original shooting of the movie was in dire straits, with a severely underfunded set and crew, Basic may explain why this is canonically accepted as English, as it would have been a Herculean effort to try and bring on a team of linguists to create a standardized language. This also helps viewers to relate to the movie more if it is spoken in their native tongue.

Some characters speak languages other than Basic, with the most commonly presented one in television and movies being Shriiwook, which is spoken by Wookies. The most notable Wookie of the Star Wars franchise is Chewbacca, who is the stalwart companion of the famous smuggler Hans Solo.

What is Aurebesh?

Aurebesh is a system of writing that represents the Galactic Basis language. As this needed to be canonically identical to English, the letters in the Aurebesh language were directly translated into English letters of the common Latin alphabet. The difference lies in some English digraphs, which were added to the language for the "exotic feel" of a fictional language, used in pronunciation and notation. The alphabet was written and designed by Joe Johnston in the original trilogy, which saw its first feature and used in Return of the Jedi. Of course, there was not enough in the budget to afford this type of service before the successful launch of the original movie. The language was called Star Wars 76, which is a font that is used again in the famous addition, Attack of the Clones, which incorporated the font into Aurebesh versions that are used in spin-off products and canon.

What is the History of Aurebesh?

In the early 1990s, the art director of West End Games, named Stephen Crane, had become intrigued with the shapes and symbols that appeared on the famous Death Star capital ship. He took this version and wanted to develop the symbols into an alphabet that was native to the Star Wars galaxy and use them in licensed products of the Star Wars franchise. The need for the addition of this alphabet was for players of games, particularly, which allowed players to create and render character names using a canonically developed alphabet that was agreed upon. Of course, they needed to receive permission from Lucasfilm to do this.

Crane would copy the letters from screenshots by hand and standardize the letters, naming and assigning a value to each letter. Much like the alphabet, Aurebesh was named in this way after the first two letters, Aurek and Besh.

Aurebesh Alphabet