Star Wars and Languages: Learn Star Wars Vocabulary in 8 Fictional and Real Languages!
May the Fourth be with you! To celebrate Star Wars Day and Star Wars Celebration, we’re diving into the Star Wars language universe.
Table of contents
- Star Wars and Languages
- What is Aurebesh? Learning the Galaxy’s Alphabet
- Mando’a: The Mandalorian Language and Writing System
- Star Wars Languages: Conlangs or Total Nonsense?
- Star Wars Phrases and Slang: Canon Phrases to Know
- Star Wars in Japanese
- Star Wars in Chinese
- Star Wars in Korean
- Star Wars in Spanish
- Star Wars in German
- Star Wars in French
- This is the Way… To Learn Languages!
If you’re a Star Wars fan, you probably already know that the galaxy far, far, away is full of unique alien languages. (There are about 70 or so that we’ve been introduced to so far!)
But the lingua franca of the galaxy, Galactic Basic, is pretty much English… Except it’s written in its own system called Aurebesh.
I’m going to introduce you to Aurebesh so you can catch all the easter eggs inside the movies, and chat a bit about the languages in Star Wars.
But we’re also going to learn Star Wars words in some real life languages too: Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, French and German.
That way you can be a step closer to C3PO’s 6 million forms of communication.
If you love talking about something in your native language, you should learn how to talk about it in the languages you’re learning, too!
I know I have LOVED learning some of the Japanese words and phrases for Star Wars, like フォースとともにあらんことを (fo-su to tomo ni aran koto wo). Which is, of course, “May the Force be with you.”
Are you ready, young Padawan?
In the galaxy far, far away that we all know and love, they speak Galactic Basic and use an alphabet system called Aurebesh to write.
Aurebesh has all the same letters as English. But the names of each character are different and there are some English alphabet letters that combine (called digraphs). These are ae, ch, eo, kh, ng, oo, sh, and th.
Check out the Star Wars language alphabet here:
Aurebesh can often be seen on the screens of different Star Wars tech – like in the cockpit of a starfighter or on the Death Star. But there are also lots of easter eggs that you can catch by learning to read Aurebesh.
For example, in Star Wars: Rebels, there’s a wanted poster written for former Jedi padawan Kanan Jarrus in Aurebesh.
Mando’a is the native language of the planet Mandalore and spoken by the Mandalorian people.
Although we see it less often in the series, it does make an appearance in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the Clone Wars and Rebels series, as well as The Mandalorian and the Book of Boba Fett.
Boba Fett shows Mando his chain code inside his Mandalorian armor that’s written in Mando’a. It shows it belonged to Boba, his father Jango before him, and info about Jango’s mentor, too.
Here’s what Mando’a looks like written:
There’s not a ton of the language used in the Star Wars universe canon so far, but we do know some:
- Hello: Su cuy’gar
- Thank you: Vor entye
- Goodbye: Ret’urcye mhi
- Peace: Naak
- Leader: Mand’alor
- Yes: Elek
- Armor: Beskar’gam
- Fight: Akaanir
There are constructed fictional languages that you can actually learn and speak – like Klingon from Star Trek and Dothraki from Game of Thrones. But most Star Wars languages don’t really meet the “conlang” (constructed language) classification.
Some of the Star Wars languages are more fleshed out than others, and many are rooted in real languages. But they more take some essence, tones, or inspiration from real languages rather than grammar and extensive vocab.
For example, they recently had Troy Kotsur, a Deaf actor and Oscar winner, create the Tusken sign language seen in The Mandalorian. The Tuskens can’t speak Basic, but they sign with Mando to communicate, which is obviously based on ASL.
Another example is Huttese. You may be familiar with some Huttese phrases because it’s probably the most common galactic language we hear. Like: Chuba! – “Hey you!” in Huttese.
Huttese, spoken by Jabba the Hutt among many others, is based on Quechua. It’s the indigenous language spoken in the Andes mountains in South America.
Ewokese, spoken by the Ewoks on Endor, was based on a combo of Tibetan, Indian, and Kalmyk Oirat, an endangered language from the Mongolia region.
Geonosian was lightly based on Xhosa. Some languages are just based on animal sounds to fit the species, like Shyriiwook – one of the main languages of the Wookies.
That said, there are a few real languages that pop up in Star Wars!
One is Finnish, which you can hear in Episode 1: The Phantom Menace when Watto and Sebulba speak to each other.
And Sullustan, spoken by Rebel pilot Nien Nunb, is actually a mix of Kikuyu and Kalenjin from Kenya. That’s because the voice actor, Bill Kipsang Rotich, is Kenyan.
- “Wizard!” – “Cool”
- “Dank farrik” – “Dang it” or “Damn it”
- “Karabast” – “Dang it” or “Damn it”, a Lasat expletive most often heard from Zeb in Rebels
- “Bantha crap” or “Bantha fodder” – To be full of shit, or, in the Star Wars PG version: bantha crap.
- “Don’t give two bantha ticks about it” – Don’t give a crap
- “Buckethead” – Stormtroopers
- “Clanker” – Battle droids
- “Imp” – Imperial
- “Feed the Sarlacc” – To use the toilet
- “Scughole” – Someone who’s a pain in the ass
- “Moof-milker” – “Idiot”
- “Nerf-herder” – the iconic insult from Leia Organa to Han Solo, where he was a “half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder”. Nerfs are stinky but useful animals found on Alderaan, Lothal, and other similar planets.
- “Scuttlebutt” – A gossip
- “Not the brightest lightsaber in the galaxy” – “Not that smart”
- “Bombad” – Gungan superlative meaning “the best” or “superior”, like “He’s a bombad jedi”
- “Krayt spit” – “Nonsense!”
- “Like shooting rancors in a cage” – Doing something that’s easy, but dangerous
- “Thank the Maker!” – “Thank God!” Threepio’s favorite exclamation, referring to Anakin… his Maker.
- “Womp rat” – An insult (somewhat jokingly) about someone being difficult or ornery
- “By the Force!” – An exclamation
- “For Force’s sake” – “For God’s sake”
Of course, there are also great quotes you could use like:
- “Every once in a while, both suns shine on a womp rat’s tail.” – Cobb Vanth
- “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” – someone in every movie
- “It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar
- “Mind tricks don’t work on me.” – Watto
- “Who’s more foolish: the fool or the fool who follows him?” – Obi-Wan
- “I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie!” – Princess Leia
- “Do it.” – Said as creepily as possible ala Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious
Japanese Star Wars phrases and words are often loanwords specific to Star Wars. They’re written in katakana. Some phrases don’t translate quite as well – like “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” is actually closer to “Somehow, I feel bad.”
Something is always a little lost in translation, but these get pretty close.
By the way, if you didn’t know, George Lucas based a lot of Star Wars on Japanese culture, religion, and history. Samurai, Buddhism, Daoism, Shinto, and Shogunate history all played a role in shaping the Jedi order and beliefs.
So here are some of the best Star Wars words in Japanese to know!
- Star Wars: スター・ウォーズ, suta- uo-zu
- Episode: エピソード, episo-do
- Darth Vader: ベイダー卿, beida- kyou (“Lord Vader”)
- Princess Leia: レイア姫, reia hime
- Luke Skywalker: ルーク・スカイウォーカー, ru-ku sukaiuo-ka-
- Lightsaber: ライトセーバー, raitose-ba-
- Jedi: ジェダイ, jedai
- Hope: 希望, kibou
- Empire: 帝国, teikoku
- Revenge: 復讐, fukushuu
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: 遠い昔 はるかかなたの銀河系で・・・, Tooi mukashi haruka kanata no gingakei de…
- “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope”: 助けて オビワンケノービ、あなただけが頼りです, tasukete Obi-Wan Kenobi, anata dake ga tayori desu
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: 君たちが探しているドロイドではない, kimitachi ga sagashite iru doroido de wanai
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”: なんだかわるいよかんがする, nandaka warui yo kan ga suru
- “Use the Force!”: フォースを使え, fo-su o tsukae
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: やるか、やらぬか。試しなどない。, yaruka, yaranuka. Tameshi nado nai.
- “May the Force be with you”: フォースとともにあらんことを, fo-su to tomo ni aran koto wo
- “I’m no Jedi”: ジェダイではありません, jedai dewa arimasen
- “I love you.” “I know.”: 愛してる。知ってるさ。, aishiteru. shitterusa.
Learning Mandarin? Then master these Chinese Star Wars phrases so you can nerd out in another language!
And then if you really want to sound wise like Yoda, learn these Chinese proverbs to impress.
- Star Wars: 星球大战, xīng qiú dà zhàn
- Episode: 插曲, chāqǔ
- Darth Vader: 达斯·维德, dá sī wéi dé
- Princess Leia: 莱娅公主, lái yà gōngzhǔ
- Luke Skywalker: 卢克·天行者, lúkè·tiānxíngzhě
- Lightsaber: 光剑, guāng jiàn
- Jedi: 绝地, juédì
- Hope: 希望, xīwàng
- Empire: 帝国, dìguó
- Revenge: 复仇, fùchóu
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: 很久以前在一个遥远的星系…, hěnjiǔ yǐqián zài yīgè yáoyuǎn de xīngxì…
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: 这些不是你要找的机器人, zhèxiē bùshì nǐ yào zhǎo de jīqìrén
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”: 我对此有不祥的预感, wǒ duì cǐ yǒu bùxiáng de yùgǎn.
- “Use the Force!”: 使用原力！, shǐyòng yuán lì!
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: 要么做，要么不做。没有尝试, yàome zuò, yàome bù zuò. Méiyǒu chángshì.
- “May the Force be with you”: 愿原力与你同在, yuàn yuán lì yǔ nǐ tóng zài.
- “I’m no Jedi”: 我不是绝地, wǒ bùshì juédì
- “I love you.” “I know.”: 我爱你。我知道, wǒ ài nǐ. wǒ zhīdào
Strong with Korean Star Wars phrases, you will be:
- Star Wars: 스타 워즈, seuta wojeu
- Episode: 에피소드, episodeu
- Darth Vader: 다스 베이더, daseu beideo
- Princess Leia: 레이아 공주, leia gongju
- Luke Skywalker: 루크 스카이워커, lukeu seukaiwokeo
- Lightsaber: 광선 검, gwangseon geom
- Jedi: 제다이, jedai
- Hope: 희망, huimang
- Empire: 제국, jeguk
- Revenge: 복수, boksu
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: 오래전 멀고 먼 은하계에…, oraejeon meolgo meon eunhagyee
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: 이것들은 네가 찾는 드로이드들이 아니다., Igeotteureun nega channeun deurideu-deuri anida
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”: 이거 느낌이 안 좋아, igeo neukkim-i an joh-a
- “Use the Force!”: 포스를 이용해라!, poseuleul iyonghaera!
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: 하거나 말거나 둘 중 하나다. 시도라는 건 있을 수 없다., hageona malgeona dul jung hanada. Sidoraneun geon isseul su eopda.
- “May the Force be with you”: 포스가 함께하길, poseuga hamkkehagil
- “I’m no Jedi”: 제다이가 아니다, jedaiga anida
- “I love you.” “I know.”: 사랑해. 알아요, saranghae. arayo
After you become a Jedi Master of Spanish Star Wars phrases, make sure to check out the best Spanish movies to learn Spanish and keep practicing!
- Star Wars: La Guerra de las Galaxias
- Episode: episodio
- Lightsaber: sable de luz or espada láser
- Jedi Order: La Orden Jedi
- Hope: esperanza
- Empire: Imperio
- Revenge: venganza
- Spaceship: nave espacial
- Galaxy: galaxia
- Trilogy: trilogía
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: Hace mucho tiempo, en una galaxia muy, muy lejana…
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: Éstos no son los androides que estáis buscando.
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”: Tengo un mal presentimiento sobre esto
- “Use the Force!”: ¡Usa la fuerza!
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: Hacer o no hacer. Aquí no hay intentos
- “May the Force be with you”: Que la fuerza te acompañe
- “I’m no Jedi”: No soy jedi
- “I love you.” “I know.”: Te amo. Lo sé.
Don’t be a scruffy-looking nerf-herder. After you learn how to talk about Star Wars below, learn how to start a conversation in German so you can smooth talk your way through anything, ala Han Solo.
- Star Wars: Krieg der Sterne
- Episode: Folge
- Spaceship: Raumschiff
- Galaxy: Galaxie
- Trilogy: Trilogie
- Lightsaber: Lichtschwert
- Hope: Hoffnung
- Empire: Reich
- Revenge: Rache
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: Es war einmal vor langer Zeit in einerweit, weit entfernten Galaxis…
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: Das sind nicht die Droiden, nach denen du suchst
- “Your focus determines your reality”: Ihr Fokus bestimmt Ihre Realität
- “Never tell me the odds!”: Sag mir niemals die chancen!
- “Use the Force!”: Nutze die Macht!
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: Tue, oder tue es nicht. Es gibt kein Versuchen.
- “May the Force be with you”: Möge die Macht mit dir sein.
- “I love you.” “I know.”: Ich Liebe dich…. ich weiß.
Thank the Maker! Chat away about Star Wars in French with the words and phrases below. Then, try these brilliant workouts to flex your French writing muscles so you can become strong in Force.
- Star Wars: La Guerre des Étoiles
- Episode: Épisode
- Darth Vader: Dark Vador
- Lightsaber: sabre laser
- Hope: Espérer
- Revenge: Vengeance
- Spaceship: Vaisseau spatial
- Galaxy: Galaxie
- Trilogy: Trilogie
- “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”: Il y a bien longtemps, dans une galaxie lointaine, très lointaine…
- “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”: Ce ne sont pas ces droïdes là que vous recherchez.
- “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”: J’ai un mauvais pressentiment
- “Use the Force!”: Utilise la force!
- “Do or do not. There is no try.”: Fais-le, ou ne la fais pas. Il n’y a pas d’essai.
- “May the Force be with you”: Que la force soit avec toi
- “I’m no Jedi”: Je ne suis pas Jedi
- “I love you.” “I know.”: Je vous aime. Je sais.
As Ahsoka once said, “It’s a new day… a new beginning.” A new beginning with a language you’re excited to speak!
Language is what brings us together, and talking about Star Wars in a variety of languages can bring new life to your language routine.
Like Yoda says, “Patience you must have, my young padawan.” So remember to be patient with yourself while you’re still a Padawan in your language studies!
And may the Force be with you… always.