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What Is The Alphabet Used In Star Wars?

A is for "Andor." B is for blaster. C is for Chewbacca's Wookiee bowcaster. You might know your Star Wars ABCs, but that doesn't mean you know the Star Wars alphabet, even though it pops up all the time.

From inscriptions on clone armor to Imperial computer readouts, the odd little symbols that make up the written language of Star Wars are everywhere. And yes, that alphabet has a name: Aurebesh. It's the written form of Galactic Basic, the most common spoken language in the Star Wars universe (aka whatever language you're watching in), and it's a bit different from our alphabet. Aurebesh has a whopping 34 letters — one for each of English's 26, plus 8 more for compound sounds like "OO" or "SH." The symbols also include 10 numerical digits, though those are just our numbers in a fun font.

The name Aurebesh comes from the first two letters, "aurek" and "besh," which are simply A and B. This mirrors "alphabet" being a portmanteau of "alpha" and "beta" — terribly original. Because the alphabet directly translates to our own, you can learn and write in Aurebesh with a little practice. Knowing the symbols will also help you find some hidden Easter eggs throughout the movies and TV shows, as the creators of Star Wars keep using Aurebesh to add detail and flavor. But where did this strange alien language come from?

Aurebesh has its origins in a Star Wars tabletop role-playing game

Like so many gems of the Star Wars universe, Aurebesh can be traced back to West End Games' "Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game," which began its run in 1987. With Lucasfilm's approval, graphic artist Stephen Crane developed the alphabet in 1993 as part of his work on the "Star Wars Miniatures Battles" tie-in. He based Aurebesh on an early scene in "Return of the Jedi" where Darth Vader's shuttle is scanned. After copying down all the symbols appearing on the computer screen at that moment, Crane built them out into a working alphabet for use in West End Games' various projects.

The language caught on quickly. It was made official after appearing in "The Phantom Menace," and even though many prominent Aurebesh instances were wiped from canon after Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the alphabet has continued to be featured prominently in the new continuity.

While Aurebesh is certainly the most common and well-known alphabet in the Star Wars universe, it isn't the only one. Other systems like Dishabesh and Domabesh have been created over the years to add dimension and texture to the universe, showing that there's far more than just one written language in the galaxy. But when push comes to shove, Aurebesh is still the primary code of Star Wars, so make sure you know your aurek besh creshes.