Being a life-long fan of Star Wars, and having recently rewatched Rogue One, I was just thinking about writing in the Star Wars universe…

If you’re not a Star Wars fan, no need to stop reading – in fact, the point of this post is to highlight the phenomenon of creating a writing system for a fictional universe. And these days it is a common phenomenon, especially given that fictional other worlds are often created in visual media like television, film and comics. If your creations live in a literate world (and potentially speak a created language too), then choices have to be made about how to represent writing in that world.

This is Aurebesh, a writing system created for the Star Wars universe and used to represent the most common language, Galactic Basic Standard Language (heard in the films for example as English):

Aurebesh.jpg

Image from HERE.

The very linear, ‘boxy’ nature of the signs lends itself to representation on a computer screen as well as other media, I think. You can read more about the writing system HERE.

Interestingly, when the system was created its name was based on the Phoenician/Greek/Roman alphabetic system, with the first two signs (aurek and besh) making the name of the alphabet, Aurebesh. This is just the same as our word ‘alphabet’, which is taken from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta. (And in fact, aurek and besh – along with the other letters – sound rather close to letters from the Phoenician and Greek alphabets.)

I realise now that Aurebesh is not the only writing system in the Star Wars universe – far from it in fact. You can read more about other systems if you are interested HERE, but I will just show a picture of some Ewokese, the language and writing system used by the Ewoks:

Scroll_of_the_Mantigrue2 Ewokese.jpg

Image from HERE.

The next time you are watching a film or TV show set in a different world, do look out for what writing looks like. One of my favourites is the Tengwar writing system created by J.R.R. Tolkien for Elvish writing in The Lord of the Rings and other books set in the same world. No doubt that will make a nice blog post for another day…

In the meantime, please tell us your favourite fictional writing systems! You can comment here or find us on Twitter (@crewsproject – hashtag #fictionalphabets). And do check out Philip’s recent post on writing systems in the world of the Legend of Zelda video games HERE!

~ Pippa Steele (Principal Investigator of the CREWS Project)

Pippa Steele

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One thought on “Aurebesh – an alphabet long ago in a galaxy far, far away…

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