Star Wars Spoilers, Revealed in Translation 

We often talk about information getting “lost in translation.” But translation can also reveal information that was originally concealed. For example, earlier this week, the studio released translated versions of the title for the upcoming Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. 

As the Star Wars storyline expands, dedicated fans play detective, trying to anticipate upcoming plot twists. So everything Star Wars-related is scrutinized, including foreign language versions of material that’s already been released in English.

How Many Jedi Are Left? English Conceals, Spanish Reveals

Fans have been scratching their heads for months, trying to figure out who The Last Jedi is and what the title means. Is it Luke?  Rey? Kylo Ren? Some new character we haven’t met yet?

Or is the title plural? After all, in English, the plural of Jedi is . . . Jedi. As the Telegraph speculated in an article from January,

[I]t took  us a while to cotton on to this fact. But after spending  a fair few hours last night contemplating the question “Who is the last Jedi?”, we realised that that, because the word Jedi can be both singular and plural, “Who are the last Jedi?” in fact works equally well.

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The Languages and Cultures of Star Wars

It’s May 4th, and that means it’s Star Wars Day. The Star Wars universe encompasses many different languages and cultures. In honor of this special occasion, we’d like to highlight some of them. This list is by no means exhaustive:

Tusken Raiders: The Tusken Raiders, also known as the Sand People, inhabit  Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine. These fierce, nomadic hunters roam the desert, often raiding human encampments.  To cope with the planet’s harsh climate, they wear clothing over every inch of their bodies.  They speak Tusken, a guttural language that Wookieepedia describes as sounding like “the barking of sea lions.”

Hutts: These giant hermaphroditic slug-like beings rule over large swaths of the galaxy, making Huttese the second most common language in the Star Wars universe. Clan relationships are the guiding organizational force in Hutt culture, which also values wealth, power and physical girth.

The Ewoks: Everybody’s favorite little intergalactic teddy bears hail from the forest moon of Endor. Ewok society is organized into villages, with each village being led by a chief and a council of elders. They speak Ewokese, the sounds of which are based on both the Tibetan language and the language of Russia’s isolated Kalmyk tribe.

Wookies: Yes, all of that growling and grunting actually does constitute a language. Wookies speak Shyriiwook, which other races can learn to understand but not to speak. Likewise, Wookies are able to learn to understand other languages, but don’t have the physical capabilities to speak them. “Wookie” translates to “man of the forest.”

Mon Calamari: An amphibious race native to the planet of the same name, the Mon Calamari value art and technology highly. They speak Mon Calamarian, which, if their given names (like Admiral Ackbar) are anything to go by, must sound quite a bit like Arabic.

May the Fourth (and the Force) Be With You!