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"It could be a variant of Sy Bisti, sir. Some of the words are familiar, and the syntax is right. But it's not standard."
"Hard to imagine a standard for a language so obscure that even the droids don't bother with it."
―Eli Vanto and Mosh Barris[src]

Sy Bisti was a trade language used in the so-called Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Some Chiss, like Thrawn, spoke it. Eli Vanto, whose parents occasionally did business in the Unknown Regions, was also proficient in Sy Bisti, which he regarded as a perfectly well-defined and eminently useful language.[1]

By the time of the Galactic Empire's reign, Sy Bisti was still used but only by lesser known people. Imperial translator droids could not understand it. Sy Bisti could be written by using Bogolan script.[1]

Known words and phrasesEdit

  • Binesu—"Manifests" (verb)[1]
  • Esethimba—"Aura" or "presence" (can refer to a person's height, weight, build, vocal quality, mannerisms, profession and expertise, or some combination)[1]
  • Ezenti ophu ocengi—"Equipment and comlink"[1]
  • Eqhuwa—"Courageous"[1]
  • Ezeboli hlusalu—"Preemptive strikes"[1]
  • Gubudalu—"Usurpation"[1]
  • Ngikotholu—"Incommunicado"[1]
  • Nikhi—"Notwithstanding"[1]
  • Ohuludwu—"Monofilament line"[1]
  • Omseki—"Syndrome"[1]
  • Ubuphaka—"Beholden"[1]
  • Xishu azwane—"Exiled"[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

Sy Bisti was first introduced into the Star Wars Legends universe in Outbound Flight, a novel by Timothy Zahn.[3] The trade language was reintroduced to canon in Zahn's later novel, Thrawn, where it played far more notable role than in the previous literature.[1] In an interview published on, Zahn confirmed that he based Sy Bisti on the Zulu language. Like Sy Bisti, Zulu had a lot of multi-syllable words. After finding a word in Zulu, Zahn explained that he would shift all the vowels one vowel over to create a fictional language that was influenced by Zulu.[4]


Notes and referencesEdit

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