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Two pages from a copy of The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force, written in High Galactic characters, with handwritten comments from some of its former owners

"Done up in High Galactic letters, I see."
Zerba Cher'dak, commenting on a standard alphanumerical keypad[src]

The High Galactic alphabet was a form of writing in the galaxy. While not as common as Aurebesh, this alphabet was frequently used in signatures and by nobles,[1] and was often associated with snobbery.[2] It was most commonly used to write Galactic Basic Standard. High Galactic letters came in two forms: a printscript, in which all letters were separate glyphs; and a handwritten, cursive form, in which the strokes of successive characters were joined and the angles rounded.[3] While the High Galactic alphabet normally distinguished between the letters that were in larger uppercase and smaller lowercase,[4] many logos were written entirely in capital letters.[5][6]

Origins and history[edit | edit source]

The logo of the Corporate Sector Authority incorporated both the High Galactic alphabet and Aurebesh.

"Does the weapon begin with the letter A?"
Weequay bodyguard, speaking to his quay[src]

The alphabet originated as part of the High Galactic language, which was spoken by the colonists of Alsakan prior to 17,000 BBY, and originated during the war between the Galactic Republic and the Tion Cluster. The alphabet entered widespread galactic use in approximately 17,000 BBY, during the Alsakan Conflicts. The Alsakanese borrowed characters from Tionese language and introduced others of their own invention, creating a writing system with no ties to the Aurebesh or related scripts.[1]

Millennia later, the alphabet continued to see fairly widespread use. By circa 22 BBY, Republic Census figures showed that the High Galactic alphabet was used by nearly one third of Galactic Basic speakers when writing, and by over half of upper-class Basic speakers. As a result, Aurebesh and the High Galactic alphabet were often presented side by side.[1] Nearly all Basic advertising was presented in the High Galactic alphabet, as were corporate logos that incorporated written language, such as those of Industrial Automaton, the Corellian Engineering Corporation, and Sienar Fleet Systems.[1]

The High Galactic alphabet was also used for naming many starship models (such as the T-65 X-wing starfighter) and droid models (such as the R2 series of astromech droids).[1]

Texts written in this alphabet[edit | edit source]

"Dhannut Logistics. Dee, aich, ay, double enn, yoo, tee."
Besany Wennen[src]

Although this alphabet was less common than Aurebesh, there is indication that whole (although few) texts were written in it. Following are several examples:

Ashii Nermani delivers an Imperial HoloVision newscast with headlines in both this alphabet and Aurebesh.

Signatures[edit | edit source]

Many Humans—and some non-Humans—used this alphabet in their signatures, instead of the more common Aurebesh, perhaps by tradition. Those individuals included:

Droid names examples[edit | edit source]

A Sienar Fleet Systems transport decorated with the alternate Basic alphabet

Droid names often derived from letters in this alphabet:

Other examples[edit | edit source]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

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

The High Galactic alphabet is identical to the real-world English alphabet, the alphabet of the English language, which itself is essentially identical to the in-universe language Galactic Basic Standard. This alphabet is derived from, and sometimes referred to, as the Latin or Roman alphabet, the most common alphabet family of Western nations.

This article describes the occurrences of the English alphabet in the Star Wars universe. Although canon and Legends have both established the fictitious writing system of Aurebesh, it is somewhat unsurprising that this alphabet, especially its American English variant, appears in the Star Wars universe, as the Star Wars movies and most Expanded Universe materials are of American origin.

Canonicity[edit | edit source]

"Well, actually, they do use the Roman alphabet in the Star Wars universe."
Pablo Hidalgo[src]

The Latin alphabet has appeared in several instances of the original trilogy and the Expanded Universe, but its appearance was unexplained before it was dubbed the "High Galactic alphabet" in the Hyperspace-exclusive article The Written Word.[1] Roman labels in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope were edited into Aurebesh in the 2004 DVD release, suggesting that George Lucas believed that real-world Roman letters don't belong in the Star Wars universe.

However, in the way that Galactic Basic is English, Roman letters were seen in some in-universe inscriptions (such as the Jedi Code) or emblems, like that of the Jedi Order. The text seen on viewscreens in The Star Wars Holiday Special is in Roman, rather than Aurebesh, due to the fact that Aurebesh had yet to be invented at the time in the real world. Aurebesh was introduced later, in The Empire Strikes Back (when R2-D2's conversation with Luke Skywalker in the X-wing on the way to Dagobah is translated on the ship's dashboard readout).

In The Clone Wars episode The Gungan General, a display in Barb Mentir's Flarestar-class attack shuttle shows High Galactic letters; it says "WHATEVER 123467-RR."

Some instances show both Roman and Aurebesh alongside each other (such as the Corporate Sector Authority logo), showing that the two coexisted. Various starfighters (X-wing, Y-wing, A-wing, etc.) were named for characters from the Roman alphabet, as the shapes of these craft do not match the shapes of the corresponding letters in Aurebesh. Other craft were named after letters in the Aurebesh alphabet (Aurek-class tactical strikefighter) or Tionese (which corresponds to the real-world Greek alphabet ) (Lambda-class T-4a shuttle).

Droids, too, are named with the alphabet, such as R2-D2 being called "Artoo-Detoo" rather than "Reshtoo Dorntoo," and C-3PO being See-Threepio and not Cresh-ThreePethOsk. Clone Troopers are also sometimes code-named in games such as Star Wars: Battlefront.

The Tokyo Disneyland queue videos for both Star Tours and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue contain English writing using both Roman lettering/"High Galactic" and Aurebesh, along with Japanese writing. The Disneyland Paris version of the former ride used French writing and speech.

Non-canon appearances[edit | edit source]

The Happy Nerf Herder's signage was in Basic, as were various other Coruscant signs around 50 BBY.[30] Darth Vader wrote his diary in this script.[31]

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Non-canonical appearances

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Written Word
  2. Scoundrels, chapter thirteen
  3. See the signatures on the Declaration of a New Republic as shown in the Dark Empire Sourcebook.
  4. As seen in the Pets' "N" Pieces advertisment featured on the HoloNet News official website.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Platt's Starport Guide
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Galaxy Guide 12: Aliens — Enemies and Allies
  7. Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids
  8. 8.0 8.1 Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Sourcebook
  9. Heir to the Empire Sourcebook
  10. Republic Commando: True Colors
  11. "Best Birthday Ever"—Star Wars Tales 16
  12. The Official Star Wars Fact File 107
  13. Star Wars Droids 5: Separated
  14. Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion
  15. The Resistance Within
  16. The Farlander Papers
  17. The Official Star Wars Fact File 104
  18. Jedi Apprentice: The Dark Rival
  19. Gundark's Fantastic Technology: Personal Gear
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Dark Empire Sourcebook
  21. Secrets of the Sisar Run
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 22.7 The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force
  23. The Rebel Alliance Sourcebook
  24. The Last Command Sourcebook
  25. 25.0 25.1 Pirates & Privateers
  26. Flashpoint! Brak Sector
  27. SWAJsmall.jpg "Shape-shifters"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 12
  28. SWAJsmall.jpg "The Pentastar Alignment"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 3
  29. Before the Storm
  30. "Hate Leads to Lollipops"—Star Wars Tales 9
  31. "Lunch Break"—Star Wars Tales 16
  32. The Clone Wars Episode Guide: Senate Murders on (content now obsolete; backup link)
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