The Mandalorian alphabet was a form of writing used by the Mandalorians, consisting of twenty-six characters. Despite there being no F, X, or Z equivalents in the verbal Mando'a, these letters were included in the written alphabet for greater ease in transliterating foreign words.
The True Mandalorians traditionally used it to provide information on personal datapads and ship-board display screens. Jango Fett relied heavily upon written Mandalorian to display relevant information on his ship-board displays. It is most likely that by design, and his upbringing, that Boba Fett also displayed information in Mandalorian.
The New Mandalorians used written Mandalorian quite frequently in their everyday lives even though they relied little on Mando'a to communicate amongst themselves.
Behind the scenes
Prior to 2002, a typeface consisting of narrow vertical characters was developed to represent the written form of the Mandalorian language. It was developed by Philip Metschan at the request of George Lucas to be used throughout Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. This typeface, erroneously named "Mandelorian" by Metschan, was created in conjunction with the further development of Joe Johnston's Star Wars '76 (originally developed during the Original trilogy) as well as a Geonosian typeface that can be seen woven into the Geonosian Death Star plans and display screens throughout the movie. Metschan's typeface is often seen as using the same character for "C" & "U". This is not the case and upon closer inspection it can be seen that there is a subtle difference between these two characters.
A common misconception is that the written form of Mandalorian was developed by Karen Traviss and Jesse Harlin for the Republic Commando multimedia project. While they did develop the Mando'a spoken language and it's associated grammatical rules, they are not responsible for its original written visual depiction. Karen Traviss often credits a 23-letter alphabet to Jesse Harlin. However, at the time, it is highly likely that they were simply working from an incomplete version of Metschan's typeface licensed to them by LucasFilm. The 23-letter alphabet may in fact be Ancient Mandalorian as named by Jesse Harlin. The absence of 3 characters supports that Ancient Mandalorian was utilised "in-universe" prior to the need for the current 26-letter Mandalorian alphabet.
Many fan-made typefaces have been created and distributed via the internet throughout the years, inconsistently varying and containing numerous fan-made characters. None of the freely available typefaces accurately represent the original "Mandelorian" typeface available on Philip Metschan's website that was officially used throughout Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. When compared to the official version of the Mandalorian alphabet, common characters that are often incorrectly depicted (allowing fan-made fonts to be identified) include the letters "C", "M", "N", "P", "Q", "V", "X" & "Z".
The Star Wars Insider 117 article, "The Duchess and the Jedi", has further compounded the issue by erroneously using a fan-made font instead of Philip Metschan's typeface used in Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones. The publishers at Insider have in fact used one of the oldest and most widely known fan-made fonts by Erik Schroeder (alias Erikstormtrooper.com). Erik has developed two fan-made fonts based upon his own research: Version 1 - Mandalor_old & the updated Version 2 - Mandalor. The telltale sign that the older fan-made font has been used in Issue 117 are the letters "M" & "C". They match those developed by Erik exactly. Erik himself has noted that the original characters were incorrect and had subsequently updated them for version 2 of his font. Even more telling is that Erik's character "C" is entirely his own design and does not appear in any other offical media. While closer to Metschan's work, Erik's version 2 font is still not 100% screen accurate as seen by the letter "C" and the numerals "1", "2" & "0" when compared to Philip Metschan's offical type-face. Why the publishers of Star Wars Insider have chosen to use an old fan-made font instead of the officially licensed font by Metschan is unknown.
In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode, The Academy, the Mandalorian prison guards crest reads "In Defense of Mandalore". Curiously in this version, the letter "M" differs from that developed by Metschan for the Slave I display screens in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
The mandalorian inscriptions on page 25 and 26 of Star Wars Insider #86 translate as "Jango Fett lost his head" and "akod oya akod oya akod oya" respectably.
- Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (First appearance)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Mandalore Plot"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "Corruption"
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Academy"
- Attack of the Clones: The Visual Dictionary
- "The Mandalorians: People and Culture"—Star Wars Insider 86
- "The Duchess and the Jedi"—Star Wars Insider 117 (fan-made font erroneously used on page 34)