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The Aurebesh
AurekArial.svg BeshArial.svg CreshArial.svg DornArial.svg EskArial.svg FornArial.svg GrekArial.svg HerfArial.svg IskArial.svg
Aurek Besh Cresh Dorn Esk Forn Grek Herf Isk
JenthArial.svg KrillArial.svg LethArial.svg MernArial.svg NernArial.svg OskArial.svg PethArial.svg QekArial.svg
Jenth Krill Leth Mern Nern Osk Peth Qek
ReshArial.svg SenthArial.svg TrillArial.svg UskArial.svg VevArial.svg WeskArial.svg XeshArial.svg YirtArial.svg ZerekArial.svg
Resh Senth Trill Usk Vev Wesk Xesh Yirt Zerek
CherekArial.svg EnthArial.svg OnithArial.svg KrenthArial.svg NenArial.svg OrenthArial.svg ShenArial.svg TheshArial.svg
Cherek Enth Onith Krenth Nen Orenth Shen Thesh
"These symbols are in our own language—Aurebesh…"
Je'daii Temple Master Quan-Jang[src]

Aurebesh was a writing system commonly used to represent the Basic language. Its name was a portmanteau of its first two letters, Aurek and Besh. Aurebesh was commonly used by major governments from the Galactic Empire to the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

History[edit | edit source]

A Rakatan Star Map bearing pre–Aurebesh letters

"These symbols are a designation—marked on our skin by our Rakatan masters."
―The Force Hound Xesh[src]

Aurebesh was thought to have been derived from the writing system of the Rakatan Infinite Empire, introduced to the galaxy at large during that Empire's reign. It spread during the Alsakan Conflicts approximately 17,000 years before the Battle of Yavin.[1] However, already by 25,793 BBY, Aurebesh was used by the inhabitants of the Settled Worlds, prior to their first contact with the Rakata. When contact was made, the Rakatan Aurebesh was apparently identical to that used in the Settled Worlds.[2][3]

Generally, Aurebesh was considered to be for the common folk, whereas the High Galactic alphabet was associated with snobbery.[4]

Luke Skywalker learned to read Aurebesh by the time he was four years old, from a set of old educational datatapes given to him by his aunt Beru.[5]

Aurebesh was extraordinarily common throughout the galaxy. Clone troopers used it to mark their LAAT gunships such as Lucky Lekku and Spaceward Ho!, both of which had their names painted on their sides,[6][7], or the Crumb Bomber, which "Laugh this off" was inscribed on.[8] Private starships also sometimes bore their names in Aurebesh, including the freighter Tecora.[9]

Aurebesh text could be seen on the screens of various types of technology, including screens in the cockpits of N-1 starfighters[10], the Separatist facility known as Skytop Station,[11] and inside macrobinoculars.[12][13][14]. Similarly, the Grand Army of the Republic's tactical readouts made heavy use of Aurebesh text.[15][13][14] Aurebesh was also used in medical settings[16] and on wanted posters found in the Jedi Archives.[17]

The clone trooper Sketch had a letter senth tattooed across his brow.[18] Kix[19][14] and the owner of Plop Dribble's also had Aurebesh tattoos.[20] Similarly, the trooper Ponds wrote "some guys have all the luck" on his armor.[21] Some time after his death, Fives and Echo both added decals to their armor that read "Hevy."[22]

The electro-proton bomb, attached to Goji and Rod's bomber and dropped during the Battle of Malastare had a warning printed on the nose cone that read "CAUTION ION DETONATOR." The body of the bomb had "CODE SWITCH DESIGNATOR" • "POSITION 1" • "POSITION 2" • "POSITION 3" • "POSITION 4" printed on it and on one of the tail fins, the words "THIS IS FOR YOU DOOKU" were handwritten.[23]

Buildings were often marked with Aurebesh signs. These included Kristall Skull on Iego,[24], Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina on Tatooine,[25]. Many other companies used Aurebesh text on posters[26] or billboards, such as one that promoted Star Tours, which read "STAR TOURS GLEE ANSELM CALL 1-800-555-6576 NOW!"[27]

At Hondo Ohnaka's camp on Florrum, a huge piece of superstructure read "HONDO'S SALVAGE" – "PRICES SLASHED" stenciled on it in Aurebesh.[28] Meanwhile, around the time of the Bombing of the Jedi Temple Hangar, protesters carried Aurebesh signs that read "THE JEDI ARE CORRUPT" and "STOP CLONING VIOLENCE!".[29]

Features[edit | edit source]

Aurebesh implemented consonants, vowels, digraphs, and punctuation marks. Words were separated by spaces. Aurebesh could be written mainly left-to-right or up-to-down. All letters are the same relative size, although occasionally symbols were mirror-inverted to denote capital letters. The symbol for the Republic Credit was a Resh (R for Republic) with two vertical lines through the upper half of the symbol. Letters of the alphabet were also used to denote musical keys, such as the key of Cresh.

While the Aurebesh had several glyphs that corresponded to digraphs in the High Galactic alphabet, they were frequently disregarded. For example, the sound "oo,"[30] that was properly noted using Orenth, was frequently spelled with a double Osk.[31] Similarly, the letter Thesh was often replaced by a combination of Trill and Herf.[32] Such was also the case for Cherek and Shen, often written respectively with combinations of Cresh and Herf and Senth and Herf.[33]

Letters and numerals[edit | edit source]

Letter Name
Letter Name
Letter Name
Letter Name
Letter Name
Letter Name
Letter Name
Aurek Aurek
Besh Besh
Cresh Cresh
Dorn Dorn
Esk Esk
Forn Forn
Grek Grek
Herf Herf
Isk Isk
Jenth Jenth
Krill Krill
Leth Leth
Mern Mern
Nern Nern
Osk Osk
Peth Peth
Qek Qek
Resh Resh
Senth Senth
Trill Trill
Usk Usk
Vev Vev
Wesk Wesk
Xesh Xesh
Yirt Yirt
Zerek Zerek
Cherek Cherek
Enth Enth
Onith Onith
Krenth Krenth
Nen Nen
Orenth Orenth
Shen Shen
Thesh Thesh
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6
7 7 8 8 9 9 0 0 Plus + Minus

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Evolution[edit | edit source]

The tractor beam information gauge, as it appears in the original Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope (top) and the 2004 DVD version (bottom)

The Aurebesh-like writing that appears in the original trilogy is totally random and it is believed that the filmmakers did not intend to write any meaningful text with it. The letters were first assigned Roman equivalents by Stephen Crane at West End Games in the Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion (1994), for use with the Star Wars Miniatures Battles game and Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. The Aurebesh was later expanded to include punctuation marks in the Star Wars Miniatures Battles supplement, Imperial Entanglements (1996).

This original Aurebesh is occasionally used in electronic and board games such as Star Wars Monopoly. Since the letters in the movies are random, the assignment of the West End Games values to the inscriptions of the movies produces nonsensical results—most words seen in the movies appear to consist solely of consonants, and some letters appear on screen that are absent from the West End Games Aurebesh.

In the 2004 DVD release of A New Hope, and the Blu-ray version, the words displaying information as Obi-Wan Kenobi deactivates the tractor beam on the Death Star, which were written using the Roman alphabet in previous releases, are now in the Aurebesh. Aurebesh can also be seen in the prequel trilogy.

Origin[edit | edit source]

The word "Aurebesh" was developed in a manner similar to the word alphabet, which is derived from the first two letters of the Phoenician/Greek alphabet (alpha and beta).

In-universe sources show Arabic numbers; however, one of the fan-made fonts (discussed below) presents a numerical system based on dots and lines.

In many instances, the sounds "ch," "sh," and "th" are written using Aurebesh exactly as they would be in English (cresh-herf, senth-herf, and trill-herf, respectively), despite separate letters existing in Aurebesh for those sounds (cherek, shen, and thesh, respectively). While it is possible that these instances represent legitimate in-universe variations of the sound-values for the letters in question, it is more likely that they represent errors on the part of the real-world transliterators (who are understandably more used to employing digraphs than employing single letters to write these sounds).

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canonical appearances

Sources[edit | edit source]

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Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. The Written Word
  2. Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 3
  3. Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan 1
  4. Scoundrels, chapter 13
  5. A New Hope: The Life of Luke Skywalker, p. 9
  6. Checklist: 10 Things to Spot in The Clone Wars - Gunship Art on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  7. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Storm Over Ryloth on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  8. Checklist: 10 Things to Spot in The Clone Wars - Gunship Art on (content now obsolete; backup link) – Note that the guide says "Laugh this off!", with an exclamation point
  9. "Kidnapped" - The Clone Wars Episode Guide" on (backup link) (slide 4)
  10. Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
  11. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Duel of the Droids on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  12. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: "Ambush" on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Official Episode Guide: Season 1
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Star Wars: The Clone Wars Official Episode Guide Series 1 & 2
  15. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Downfall of a Droid on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  16. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Jedi Crash on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  17. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Lightsaber Lost on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  18. Star Wars: The Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia
  19. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: The Deserter on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  20. "Brothers" - The Clone Wars Episode Guide on (backup link) (Slide 7)
  21. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Liberty on Ryloth on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  22. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: ARC Troopers on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  23. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: The Zillo Beast on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  24. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Mystery of a Thousand Moons on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  25. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Corruption on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  26. Deception Trivia Gallery on (backup link) (Slide 5)
  27. Coruscant Billboard from The Clone Wars on (content now obsolete; backup link)
  28. "Revival" - The Clone Wars Episode Guide on (backup link) (Slide 6)
  29. "Sabotage" - The Clone Wars Episode Guide on (backup link) (Slide 8)
  30. Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
  31. Scum and Villainy
  32. Star Wars 14: Five Days of Sith, Part Two
  33. TCW mini logo.jpg Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Evil Plans"

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Aurebesh Soup Tells the story of the formation of Aurebesh and includes a number of different Star Wars fonts including Aurebesh
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