Now I Know My Aurek Besh Creshes . . . .

by Beedo Sookcool
on 2021-01-24, 21:10:18

WARNING! This is going to get . . . nerdy.

A funny thing happened a little while ago -- I found out that I was wrong about something!!! (Shock, horror!) When I wrote about the backwards Aurebesh letters for the "warning" screen in the Season 2 episode "The Believer" in The Mandalorian, little did I realise that I would find out two days later that backwards Aurebesh letters mean that THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE UPPERCASE. That wasn't a warning screen -- that was a WARNING screen! How did it take me until December 2020 to learn that?!

So I did some digging. And I found that there isn't a single really, really good, definitive Aurebesh table out there, so it's no wonder there's a lot of confusion on the subject. There are a lot of good ones, but they're incomplete, or based off early versions of the letters, or contradict other tables, or are downloadable fonts that haven't thought out all the symbols you might use in the course of your typing.

So, naturally, I took on the burden of producing what I hope will become the best, most complete, definitive table to date. And here is my proposed lettering, The Sookcool Aurebesh:

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(Click on the panel above to go to the enormous, hi-res table.)

Some Aurebesh fonts, instead of flipping the letters horizontally to make them capitals, flip them vertically, or by rotating them 180 degrees. So, for those letters that are bilaterally symmetrical around a vertical axis (Osk, Trill, Vev, Xesh, and Onith), I flipped them vertically to make them capital letters. Not much I can do with Besh, Herf, Wesk, and Orenth, though. Those bastards look the same no matter which way you flip them, and if you try to rotate them 90 degrees, none of them will fit between the lines (apart from Orenth), so there's no point in trying that.

A few of the newer symbols, like the ones for #, %, and &, I've ported over largely unchanged, although I've had to redraw them, because the best ones I found were in a more rounded, italic font that wouldn't fit in with the rest of the chart. The symbol for "@" I modified ever-so-slightly so you can really make out the Aurek inside the border.

As for the rest, well, I just plain made up new symbols for asterisk, opening and closing brackets (both wavy and right-angled), the mathematical functions, and the copyright and trademark symbols, trying to make them fit into the Aurebesh aesthetic. I've seen a couple of these represented on other Aurebesh tables, but I was either unable to reproduce them adequately, or they were using other symbols already assigned to something else, or I couldn't make them look like they fit in with the rest. And the others just plain didn't exist.

And, if you're down for some really geeky insider stuff -- because of course you are; you're a Star Wars fan, aren't you? -- here're some of the inside gags and historical references:

In general terms, nearly all of the "Defunct and Obsolete Letters" (Girt, Ornate Isk, Kev, Morn, Onan, Sesh, Wek, and Yeth) come from a single scene in The Phantom Menace where Li'l Annie and Artoo are up in an N-1 starfighter during the Battle of Naboo. Artoo beeps, and a glowing blue screen shows some text, which ostensibly reads: "Anakin, turn the ship around and go back home right away." Only a lot of the letters don't match up with what we've come to know as Aurebesh:

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Hence the bit about these aberrant letters showing up on old-fashioned planets like Naboo. I have since found a couple of references to this slightly different font being called "Aureboo."

The comments about G and Y swapping places in the "Girt" and "Yeth" entries really actually happened in English. In Old English, for example, "yellow" was written as "geolu," derived from the Germanic word for gold.

Jerek and Phek are both derived from ErikStormtrooper's "Galactic Basic" font, which was apparently based on a controller's screen shown on Death Star II, hence the bit where I mentioned they can be seen in encryption ciphers:

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Most of these letters are more rounded-off and complex than the Aurebesh we've become familiar with, and some symbols get used for things we're not expecting them to correspond with. But of all of them, the ones used for J and F (the ones I ended up calling Jerek and Phek) had nothing even remotely like them in the "modern" Aurebesh, which is why I felt they needed to be included somewhere.

And the thing about ErikStormtrooper's Galactic Basic font is this: It might very well be 100% screen-accurate, but are you looking at an "E" or an "n"? Or are you looking at an "e" or an "N"? An apostrophe or an open wavy bracket? It's like how in some sans serif fonts, you don't know if you're looking at an uppercase I, a lowercase L, the number 1, or that | vertical bar thing that's right above the on your keyboard. Because if it's confusing, it needs to be addressed!

In more specific terms, however . . .

Girt: Besides that symbol being used for Y (Yirt) for ages -- apart from that single Episode 1 screen where it stood in for G -- and the whole G-to-Y switch in early English, I chose the name "Girt" not only because of its similarity to Yirt, but also because "gurt" is a Devonian dialect pronunciation for "great," as in "whacking gurt big stone."

Ornate Isk: It's an Isk with an extra bit at the bottom. Simple as that.

Jerek: Supposedly representing J, I needed a believable-sounding Aurebesh name, and Jerek rhymes with the already-existing Cherek (CH). Plus, its variant spellings (like Jerec and Jerecq) can be popular names, like Jay, Jaye, Jae, or Jaie. ;)

Kev: I decided this defunct K-cipher should rhyme with Vev. Also, a tribute to a former colleague and possible distant cousin, Kevin.

Morn: The version of "M" from the N-1 readout screen, it was made to rhyme with Dorn (D) and Forn (F), contains the "Ornate Isk," and also pays tribute to that fat mute alien from the bar in Deep Space Nine.

Onan: The name of this character was meant to be similar in sound to Onith (EO / OE) and Orenth (OO), plus I couldn't pass up a joke about overly finicky show-off types being tiresome, self-indulgent wankers. (And, yes, I'm aware of the irony, here.)

Phek: Rhymes with the other "-ek" letters, makes an "F" sound, and pays homage to Father Jack Hackett from the Irish sitcom, Father Ted. And I'd wager you can imagine the other kinds of jokes I wanted to work in for the changeover from Phek to Forn, too....

Sesh and Sesk: Enh, I needed names for the Naboo Starfighter and ErikStormtrooper versions of S, and they sounded good.

Wek: Before the internet made all human knowledge accessible, Da Boyz and I would often go to BW3s for NTN trivia, drinks, and hot greasy bar snacks. And nobody could ever answer "What the Hell's 'Weck' mean?" in "Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck." And not knowing that bugged me for decades. Turns out, it's a type of New York beef, horseradish, and dripping sandwich originally made with Kümmelweck, a type of Germanic bread roll with caraway and Kosher salt sprinkled on top. And now it's also an obsolete Aurebesh letter from Episode I.

Yeth: I just had to slip in that running gag from The Muppet Movie from 1979: Telly Savalas: Ugh. Wash up, you'll get warts. Kermit the Frog: That's a myth. Telly: Yeah, but she's my "myth"! Kermit: No, no, myth! MYTH! Carol Kane: Yeth...?

If you're wondering about the additions I made to the accepted "translations" of some of the letters, I mostly went with the International Phonetic Alphabet symbols for those sounds. Onith has always bugged me, though. It's originally listed as representing "eo," presumably as in "people," but another diphthong letter, Ethel (see videos and/or links below), makes the same sound, but is represented as "œ". (Or a smooshed-together "oe", if the website isn't co-operating and showing a different symbol, like a question mark.) So I figured to Hells with it, and made them the same. Finally, what looks like the number 3 under the Krenth entries is actually the defunct English letter Yogh, which makes the throaty "kh" sound heard in words like "loch" (see video links below).

And finally, if you're interested in how languages can lose letters over the centuries, here are a couple of interesting videos: 10 Letters We Dropped from the Alphabet and Corrections to "10 Letters We Dropped from the Alphabet".


10 LETTERS WE DROPPED FROM THE ALPHABET:

CORRECTIONS TO "10 LETTERS WE DROPPED FROM THE ALPHABET":





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