The Written Word: A Brief Introduction to the Writing Systems of Galactic Basic


The Written Word: A Brief Introduction to the Writing Systems of Galactic Basic

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This article is about the in-universe article. You may be looking for The Written Word, the Hyperspace article.
"Writing is the basis for our civilization."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]

"The Written Word: A Brief Introduction to the Writing Systems of Galactic Basic" was an article written by Doctor Milanda Vorgan, the Associate Professor of Xenolinguistics at the University of Charmath. The article was published in 38 ABY as a part of The Shafr Anthology of Galactic Language, Second Edition. Split into six main sections, the article detailed the various forms of writing that had developed over the course of the galaxy's history, and how the various forms of language and typography had evolved and come to be implemented, from the pre-Republican Infinite Empire of the Rakata, to the more recent Galactic Alliance standards.

The main forms of writing covered by Vorgan in the various segments of the article were Aurebesh, the High Galactic alphabet, Tionese, Sith writing systems, Trade Federation Basic, Naboo Futhark and Futhork, and Atrisian script. In addition to providing various recommendations for further reading, Vorgan's article was illustrated with charts comparing the characters from several of the writing styles with the more common characters of the High Galactic Alphabet, as well as various other illustrations demonstrating the disparate forms of typography in use throughout the galaxy.


"The Written Word: A Brief Introduction to the Writing Systems of Galactic Basic" was written by Doctor Milanda Vorgan, the Associate Professor of Xenolinguistics at the University of Charmath. The article was released in 38 ABY, within The Shafr Anthology of Galactic Language, Second Edition, a publication from The Shafr Center Press. The published article was illustrated with a series of images, including logos, photographic reference, and charts.[1]



"Historian Voren Na'al once wrote, 'History survives only if it is recorded,' but fundamentally, this is true of all endeavors of sentient species, be they history, or science, or art; and only when so recorded can future generations build upon them."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]

Vorgan's article began with a general overview of the nature of writing, and a quotation from author Voren Na'al's recent chronicle of the galaxy's history. The doctor touched briefly upon the nature of Galactic Basic Standard—its origins in what had come to be known as Old Galactic Standard as well as its implementation as a widespread trade language. Vorgan mentioned the spoken language's basis in the Human culture of Coruscant, in addition to the fact that it had seen widespread use as the official language of governments and commerce since the inception of the Galactic Republic. However, the doctor reminded the reader that the universality of Basic was offset by the fact that it was recorded in a broad array of disparate writing systems, none of which had been embraced as a "primary" system. This was in spite of the fact that there had been many vain efforts over the years to install one of the writing systems as the definitive choice for recording Basic; instead, some of the systems had found more prominent use in certain cultures and professional sectors.[1]


"The currently ascendant writing system of Basic is the Aurebesh. Originally brought to galactic prominence by its use in military applications, it has since become the most used alphabet in the galaxy."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]
Aurebesh TWW

The chart used to illustrate the "Aurebesh" section of Vorgan's article

The first writing style covered by Vorgan was Aurebesh, the most widespread and common visual alphabet in the galaxy. To illustrate, the article provided a chart of the Aurebesh characters aligned with their analogues in the High Galactic alphabet. The doctor discussed the various levels of inconsistencies inherent in the form, partly borne from the fact that despite originating with Coruscanti Humans, the script had been influenced by several non-Human cultures who had only recently entered the wider galactic community. The inconsistencies and similarities of Aurebesh to the non-Human writing styles had been a mystery to scientists, until the more recent archaeological discoveries of a pre-Republic force, the Rakatan Infinite Empire. Artifacts from the Empire had been found to bear symbols closely resembling the Aurebesh characters, and Vorgan noted that this likely indicated that it was the Rakatans who had provided the basis for modern Aurebesh and its variants. This was apparently in spite of the fact that the Rakatan writing was logographic—the species enslaved by the Infinite Empire merely adopted the symbols for their own use without any connection to their Rakatan significance. As a result, several different writing forms stemmed from the same Rakatan origins.[1]

Aurebesh, Vorgan asserted, was the most successful of the Rakatan-borne writing systems, but despite Old Galactic Standard's rise as the universal language, the Galactic Republic did not initially officially adopt Aurebesh as its written form. Vorgan then went on to describe the political maneuvering that prevented the codified adoption of Aurebesh, as a variety of disparate systems were implemented up until the Tionese War. The doctor then summarized the events of the war, in which the Republic Military was forced to adopt a uniform writing system in order to properly communicate. As Aurebesh was at that time the accepted system on Coruscant, it was finally officially adopted as soon as the Tionese War was brought to a conclusion. Vorgan then went on to mention the efforts of the "legendary" Rin Assid, whose exploits led to wider coverage of Aurebesh in the galactic community. As a second illustration for the section, the article featured an image of advertisements on Coruscant,[1] dating back to the Clone Wars,[2] to illustrate the reach and implementation of the system.[1]

High Galactic AlphabetEdit

"Alsakan's promotion of High Galactic and its associated alphabet was surprisingly successful. The conservative nature of the language appealed to the nobility, who sought to set themselves apart from the rabble."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]

The second section of "The Written Word" concerned the High Galactic Alphabet. Vorgan explored the system's origins in the Alsakan culture. Circa 17,000 BBY, Alsakan had made a concerted effort to be recognized as the new galactic capital, and as part of the effort, High Galactic and its equivalent alphabet were pushed as substitutes for Basic and Aurebesh. The Alsakan script was derived from the Tionese, as well as several other cultures. Although their language was derived from the same Coruscanti origins as Old Galactic Standard, High Galactic had developed entirely independently. High Galactic was somewhat successful, as its conservative nature was met with enthusiasm by the nobility, who wished to distance themselves from the proletariat. The alphabet was ultimately used by the upper class to write both High Galactic and Basic.[1]

Vorgan then explored the impact of the Alsakan Conflicts, in which tensions between Coruscant and Alsakan boiled over into war, on the use of High Galactic. The alphabet remained popular among the upper class, and according to data collected in the Republic Census circa 22 BBY, nearly a third of all Basic speakers wrote in High Galactic Standard. As an example of just how widespread the form was, the doctor highlighted the fact that HoloNet simulcasts featured their Basic Standard text in both Aurebesh and the High Galactic Alphabet. Another example cited was the fact that Human signatories on documents of great galactic importance would commonly sign in High Galactic. To further illustrate her point, Vorgan discussed the widespread usage of High Galactic in marketing, and the article provided visual examples of Industrial Automaton, Corellian Engineering Corporation, and Sienar Fleet Systems logos that featured the system in use. Vorgan also explored the High Galactic alphabet's prominence when it came to droid naming conventions. In addition, she discussed the trend to nickname starfighters based on the High Galactic characters they resembled—a trend formalized in the Alliance to Restore the Republic, who utilized craft such as the X-wing and R-22 Spearhead, the latter of which resembled the letter "A" and was ultimately superseded by the officially titled A-wing.[1]


"As Xim continued conquering world after world, and Desevrar administrators tied these conquests into an empire, the writing system of the Livien League, now known as the Tionese alphabet, spread far beyond the borders of the Tion Cluster."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]
Shuttles img

Various shuttles that used Tionese in their classification

Vorgan then explored the nature of the Tionese language, touching upon the history of the Tion Cluster itself and the Livien League located within, in regards to the expansions of the infamous Xim the Despot. The doctor asserted that the administrators within the conquered Livien League were able to formulate the Tionese alphabet in order to better coordinate the broad variety of worlds that gradually were annexed, and brought under Xim's empire. The language survived the defeat of Xim, and served the Tionese well when they later ran afoul of the Galactic Republic. The war brought the Tionese language into new regions, and so their alphabet had an impact upon High Galactic. Although Basic would eventually become the official language in the Tion Cluster, Vorgan highlighted several exceptions, notably the Kingdom of Barseg, which retained Tionese as their official language until the Draggulch Period, and the Cygnus Star Empire, in which it remained in use for special occasions.[1]

In terms of its more contemporary usage, Vorgan illustrated its various implementations within militaries. As examples, the doctor provided the trends within the Grand Army of the Republic, which used Tionese letters such as Delta, Omega, and Alpha within their hierarchy. Another example was the Imperial Navy, which used the letters to designate flight groups. The doctor also highlighted the usage of Tionese to name stars and planetary bodies, such as Imdaar Alpha and Desev Alpha. Furthermore, Vorgan explored the usage of Tionese to designate Sienar Technologies and Cygnus Spaceworks products, and the article provided images of the demonstrative Nu, Theta, and Lambda-class vehicles. Another illustration demonstrated the appearance of the Tionese language in the designation of military tactics, namely Attack Pattern Delta.[1]

Sith writing systemsEdit

"Furthermore, the defections and counter-defections between Republic and Sith forces during the Old Sith Wars brought Common Sith letters into the Republic military, and to this day one occasionally sees this script used in military contexts with little attention paid to its sinister origins."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]

Vorgan's coverage of the Sith's writing systems began with a look at the Sith's earliest forms of record and communication, which involved hieroglyphs, and gave rise to both the High Sith and Common Sith forms. The Sith script was spread when the Sith themselves seized hyperspace technology from the Infinite Empire, and expanded their borders. When the Dark Jedi Exiles gained dominion over the Sith Empire, they began writing Basic in Sith script. As the Empire expanded, the writing forms respectively influenced the recorded styles of Arkanian, Myke, and Kruskan. Although the Sith species eventually died out, the Force traditions of the Sith endured, as did the writing systems of the culture.[1]

Using an image of Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Vader's armor, Vorgan's article illustrated more recent and popular usage of High and Common Sith. In particular, Vader's armor featured several phrases in Common Sith. Other more exposed usages of Sith writing systems, according to the doctor, included the temples of Yavin 4, which used the Massassi script. Furthermore, the continually shifting allegiances during the Old Sith Wars had surreptitiously brought elements of the Sith language into the Republic Military. Another example used by Vorgan to illustrate the indirect usage of the language within the Galactic Alliance military included the Aleph-class starfighter, which derived its name from the Sith-influenced Myke language.[1]

Trade Federation BasicEdit

"As the Trade Federation's influence spread across the spacelanes, the alphabet became known outside the Federation itself, though it never enjoyed the success of the Aurebesh or the High Galactic Alphabet."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]

The next section of "The Written Word" concerned Trade Federation Basic, and another chart was provided for comparison with High Galactic Standard. Vorgan explored the system's origins on Neimoidia, where the natives utilized a language known as Pak-Pak. Up to that point, the Neimoidians had used Durese and the corresponding syllabary, but the system could not adequately express the sounds of Pak-Pak, and so they conjured a new system. The doctor then charted the development of the Neimoidian language, which had enjoyed rapid expansion due to the presence of the Neimoidian bloc within the expansive Trade Federation. The system had not enjoyed the success of Aurebesh or High Galactic, and with the nationalization of the Federation by the Galactic Empire, the system largely died out.[1]

Other systemsEdit

"While the two scripts are similar, small variances differentiate the Royal Script from the Naboo Futhark, a fact made eminently clear when Senator Binks of Naboo famously misinterpreted the name of the Palazzo's Heroine Hall as "Hero in Hell" during Queen Apailana's state visit to the world."
―"The Written Word," by Dr. Milanda Vorgan[src]
Naboo mccaig

A chart used by Vorgan to compare Futhork to High Galactic Basic

In the final section of her article, Vorgan explored three more obscure writing systems, two of them from the planet Naboo. The first, Futhark, was the formal style used on Naboo, and was derived from the Royal Script of Grizmallt. The system was used in a more regal fashion on Naboo, but was largely found hard to decipher by common folk, as its characters all resembled similar oval shapes. Instead, the Naboo had fashioned a second writing system, Futhork, of which there was yet another correlating chart comparing the system to High Galactic. Vorgan suggested that the Naboo had perhaps been loathe to adopt other writing systems in an effort to barrier themselves from the greater galactic community, although she illustrated that they did use more widely embraced systems such as Aurebesh in the computer displays of their starships.[1]

The last script to be covered by Vorgan was Atrisian script, a form that, in her view, was attached to a legacy of "pitiless" beings. Standardized by the First Atrisian Emperor of the Kitel Phard Dynasty, the system was established across all of Atrisia by the expansionist 54th Emperor, Uueg Tching. Although the script's status continued to evolve, it first received interplanetary recognition with the publication and release of Tching's Sayings. Appreciation for the works of the 54th Emperor saw the Atrisian script put in use by Imperial Intelligence, after having being used informally for a significant amount of time. The system also found use outside of Imperial Intelligence—Vorgan used the example of General Rom Mohc of the Galactic Empire, who was a native of the Atrisian Commonwealth and used the script's obscurity to veil his operations from outsiders. The doctor also used the example of Alliance Special Operations, who would use the script in their transmissions purely to harass and infuriate Imperial Intelligence operatives.[1]

As an addendum to her article, Vorgan provided a section with recommendations for further reading. The cited works were: Writing in Basic: An Orthographic Chrestomathy, compiled by the Galactic Languages Working Group of the New Republic Historical Council; The History and Development of the Human Languages, Volume I by Dr. Arner Figgis; Star Maps and Scripts: The Rakata Connection by Dr. Corellia Antilles and Gideon Na'al; as well as Huttese Ain't What It Used To Be by Dribba Vermilic Scaiti.

Behind the scenesEdit

"The Written Word: A Brief Introduction to the Writing Systems of Galactic Basic" is the in-universe representative of the out-of-universe article The Written Word, which was published as a part of Hyperspace on March 5, 2010. The author, John Hazlett, chose Milanda Vorgan, a character originating in The Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook (1996), as the in-universe author. In the sourcebook, Vorgan was referenced as an assistant to the character Garv Debble, and Hazlett decided to make her an expert in xenolinguistics. He also connected her to the University of Charmath, which was first mentioned in The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987). For the in-universe publication of the article, Hazlett used The Shafr Center, which was created in "Race for the Tessent," itself published in Star Wars Gamer 9 (2002).[3]


Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

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