We’re big Star Wars fans here on the CREWS Project, and with a new film out now seems like a good time to revisit the topic of writing in the Star Wars galaxy. Pippa’s written before about Aurebesh, the most well-known Star Wars writing system, but as she mentioned in that post there are actually a lot more, and they’re a nice illustration of the changing way popular media uses writing-systems in its world-building.
Philip has just had an article published on Eurogamer looking at writing systems, and the problem of decipherment, in computer games and the ancient world. You can read the whole thing here:
With the new season of Game of Thrones starting, I have been thinking about writing and literacy in the world of the show.
NB This post contains NO SPOILERS FOR SEASON 7! Please note also that copyright for the books belongs to George R R Martin, for the show to HBO and for the created languages to David J Peterson.
Image from HERE.
The novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin give lots of hints at linguistic diversity in both Westeros and Essos. In the books, very occasionally a word or short phrase appears from one of the other languages (i.e. ones other than the ‘Common Tongue’, represented by English in the show). Probably most famous is valar morghulis, meaning “all men must die” in High Valyrian. But for the most part the books only signal the existence of the languages without giving any details. The show, made by HBO under the direction of David Benioff and D B Weiss (see the official website), takes the languages of Essos a great deal further. They employed a linguist, David J Peterson (see more HERE), to develop George R R Martin’s hints into fully fledged, constructed languages that could be used in the show with subtitles to show us what the characters are saying.
This post, however, is going to focus not on languages specifically but on writing. I hope these thoughts on various aspects of writing and literacy, drawn from my watching of Game of Thrones over the last few years, will prove interesting!
For one reason or another, we’ve had a bit of a fantasy writing systems theme lately in our blogging. Not so long ago I wrote something about the various invented writing systems of the Legend of Zelda games, and Pippa has told us about Aurebesh, from the Star Wars series. Just one more for now. Since there’s a new Alien movie out, we thought it’d be nice to take a look at the influential ‘Semiotic Standard’ pictographic system developed for use in spaceship signage in Ridley Scott’s original 1979 film.
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):
Image from HERE.