This week’s post is a follow up to last week’s in which I encountered an example of a rarely used Aurebesh number system and incorrectly guessed how to properly read it.
In doing some research I discovered that it is possible to write Aurebesh numbers in two different formats, in the same way we use both Arabic and Roman numerals in English. With this new information, I have corrected the translation in the entry about Dromund Kaas signs.
The most common form of Aurebesh numerals more or less match the appearance of Aurebesh letters, but the second technical style uses pips and dashes and is perhaps related to droids’ binary language.
I was able to find examples of both styles in canonical sources and in SWTOR and imagine that most citizens of the galaxy use them interchangeably.
The origins of Aurebesh’s dual number systems, however, are murky as far as I can tell. The original Aurebesh guide from West End Games did not indicate glyphs for numbers, and two of the first fan-created fonts from the 1990’s included their own style of numbers. The iterations that followed use differing variations of those styles and have found their way into official content. I suspect which type of numbers we encounter in the Star Wars universe simply comes down to which font the artists who created the prop, scene or illustration had on hand.
Looking at both, it’s clear to me that the styles were developed separately from the original Aurebesh. The technical numbers with their pips and dashes are appropriately futuristic, but they don’t really match the rest of the alphabet. While the Arabic style more closely matches the Aurebesh, the glyphs too closely duplicate our own numbers for my taste. Those numbers could appear in a non-Star Wars setting and remain perfectly readable.
However, we can assume that the history and development of writing in the Star Wars universe is at least as diverse as it is in our own. The letters of the Aurabesh could very well have come from one corner of the galaxy, and the numbers from another. At any rate, be glad that we don’t count like the Gree and have to recite multiplication tables using hexadecimal color codes!