Guide to the Star Wars’ Alphabet Aurebesh


You’re watching a Star Wars movie or one of the animated TV shows, and something catches your eye. It’s written text, probably displayed on a sign or some kind of electronic screen.

But it’s not like any text you’ve seen before, and it’s certainly not English. The main language spoken in Star Wars may sound like English, but it’s actually called Basic, although sometimes it’s referred to as Galactic Standard. Either way, it’s English they’re speaking.

So their language sounds like ours, but their written words don’t look like ours. Aurebesh, the written form of Basic, traces its roots back to 1993 and the publication of role-playing game companion volume from West End Games. It was created by author Stephen Crane, who’d seen some sci-fi glyphs on a screen in Return of the Jedi and decided to make up an alphabet based on it. Another book in 1996 expanded Aurebesh to include punctuation marks.

1999 was the first time Aurebesh was officially canonized by Lucasfilm when it appeared in The Phantom Menace. (Written text in original trilogy films were later changed to Aurebesh in special edition releases.) Since then, it’s been seen in, Rebels, novels, comic books, video games, and more.

Crane’s original version of Aurebesh included eight additional phonemes that combined two existing letters into a single character, for sounds such as “ch,” “ng,” and “th.” But these are not officially recognized by Lucasfilm (at least not yet), so I’m not including them.

So the next time you see words written on a Star Wars product, or on a screen in a movie or TV episode, here’s how to translate so you can read what it says. Maybe you’ll learn them so well you’ll be able to impress your geeky friends by reading Aurebesh without the need for a translation cipher like this one.

The only tip I can give you is to think of what an English letter looks like when it falls over on its side. Many (but not all) Aurebesh letters appear to be inspired by this way of thinking.

Numbers and Punctuation

Robin Parrish / Font by David Occhino

No numbers have ever been officially recognized in Aurebesh; most fonts you’ll find typically use a stylized version of our English numerals.

But punctuation gets used quite frequently. To the left,​ you can see a selection of the most commonly-used punctuation marks. A comma is a small line, for example, while a period is two of the same. And since Star Wars uses “Credits” as its currency, the dollar sign gets substituted here with a credits sign (which is basically a “Resh” with two little lines added).

The version of the “Aurebesh” font used here was created by graphic designer David Occhino.

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