Star Wars and Language

Published 15th December 2017
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Star Wars and language


With the next instalment of the Star Wars is soon to come to cinemas, and we here at Lingua Translations are very excited to see The Last Jedi!


Star Wars has been on our screens for decades. Episode IV – A New hope was released in 1977! Since then the trilogy (Episodes 4-6) inspired a generation. That generation had to wait a further 2 decades for the prequel trilogy (1-3) which showed Luke’s father and how he became Darth Vader. At this point a new generation of viewers enjoyed the fantasy world of Star Wars. In 2012, Disney confirmed it had purchased the rights to make further films for the franchise. Episode 7 (The Force Awakens) came out in 2015, followed quickly by ‘Rogue One’ (not part of the trilogies), and now Episode 8: The Last Jedi is next.


Star Wars has been a worldwide phenomenon. Go anywhere in the world and they will know Darth Vader, or Luke Skywalker. Star Wars has been translated/ dubbed into 50 languages. Harry Potter books have been translated in 68 languages, so there will still a while to go before they win the translation race! The latest language Star Wars has been translated into is Navajo, keeping the language alive for their children by promoting it through the franchise.


Languages in Star Wars

It would’ve been highly unrealistic to believe that ever character in Star Wars spoke English – considering they are from all over the Galaxy! Chewbacca for example speaks Shyriiwook. Chewy doesn’t speak but understands English (Galactic Basic), and is normally understood by Hans Solo. R2-D2 speaks ‘Droitspeak’ along with the modern-day bot of BB-8. Some of the better-known languages in Star Wars include Ewokese, Huttese, Jawaese and Ubese.

For those who love Star Wars are surely aware there are so many different forms of communication known in the franchise. C-3PO has the ability to understand more than 6 million forms of communication! When meeting the Ewoks, they thought he was a God. C-3PO then needed to try and persuade the Ewoks not to kill Hans Solo and the gang.

C-3PO isn’t the only linguist lurking around too. Earlier I wrote that Hans Solo can understand and interpret Chewbacca in his Shyrillwook dialect. In episode 4, he was also able to understand Greedo who speaks an ‘unspecified alien language’. Clearly travelling around the galaxy has allowed him to learn and understand many dialects!


Keen linguists might notice that Star Wars languages lack the detail and technique of other fantasy languages such as Klingon (Star Trek) and Elvish (Lord of the Rings). With Elvish and Klingon grammatical rules and vocabularies have been worked out, so you can hear the occasional fan speak a few phrases. But there is a guide to help you along the galaxy. The Galactic Phrase Book and Travel Guide has been put together by data from the books and films to try and give a guide of phrases, vocabulary and rules.


A little off topic, but something I do think is amazing….

Star Wars and religion

Star Wars is not just a film for some people, but a way of life. In the 2001 census, over 390,000 UK respondents entered their religion as Jedi! In New Zealand and Australia, they too saw a surge of Jedi in their censuses. This is the effect of Star Wars! The Jedi code has been modified for us earthlings to follow. It is a concept that the Force is an energy field, for all living things that binds the galaxy together. The modifications left out the fictional element of telekinesis.

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