Saturday, May 4, 2013

Star Wars Day: The Languages Of Star Wars

If you didn't know, today is Star Wars Day. As it's May 4th, (May the 4th be with you), we thought we'd look at some of the languages used in the world's best and worst Sci Fi trilogies. Obviously, the three original films are the best.

In a risky endeavour we'll be looking at the languages as they appear in just the first film, from memory. No doubt we'll end up with plenty of fans correcting us. Arguably the second-best film in the series (Empire is the best - fact), Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope introduces us to the series, in which we immediately hear our first language:

One of many Star Wars sets left in the Tunisian desert.
Galactic Standard

Whichever language you're watching the film in is effectively Galactic Standard. However, since the films were made in English, we can assume that Galactic Standard sounds exactly like English with a slightly altered lexicon and different idiomatic expressions. You scruffy nerfherders!

R2-D2's beeps and whistles

Not technically a language but more of a machine code, R2-D2's form of communication certainly warrants a mention given that despite having no lexicon or grammar, the entirety of R2's communication conveys emotion without words.


The language of the Jawas is nothing more than squeaky nonsense. It is lacking any degree of sophistication in terms of constructed languages.


The language of merchants is referenced by Luke's uncle when looking for a protocol droid, effectively a robot translator. It is imperative that the droid, C-3PO, speaks this language.

Shyriiwook (Wookiespeak)

The almost impossible to emulate Shyriiwook is the language of roars, grunts and groans used by Han Solo's furry companion, Chewbacca.

If you can vocally replicate Shyriiwook, we take our hats off to you.

Some think that this rock formation in Arches
National Park looks quite like Jabba the Hutt...

The language spoken by Greedo, the green guy who does not shoot first, is in fact a simplified version of the South American language Quechua. It should be noted that the indigenous speakers of Quechua bear no resemblance to Greedo.


The language spoken by the infamous Jabba the Hutt was considered superior to Galactic Standard, and though the Hutts could actually speak the language, they preferred to use their own instead. It should be noted there exist no pleasantries such as "please" and "thank you" in this language. Typical!

There are clearly millions more languages in the Star Wars universe, but we'll leave them for now before we get too geeky. Tell us your favourites below in the comments. Bib Fortuna's language was a personal favourite of ours.

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