I am a huge dork.

I am a huge dork.

I’m a Star Wars man, myself. I don’t *hate* Star Trek, and when I was growing up, I spent a lot of time watching The Next Generation with my mom. I love Picard; I love Kirk (and I don’t know any of the other captains). Still, one particular part of Star Trek has long been a thorn in my side: Lieutenant Worf. Well, not him personally, but the fact that his species (the Klingons) had given Trekkies a fully functional language with verb conjugations and nuanced capitalization patterns. And while those filthy pahtaks could carry on conversations in their own language, Star Wars fans like me were relegated to the occasional sentence like “Peecha wanchee lockhba tang nannee du chonky troy,” which is Jabba the Hutt refusing to give up his favorite decoration: Han Solo’s frozen body. Very few things occur in life for which that quote would be appropriate.

A couple months after Star Wars: The Old Republic came out, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Because this was going to be a hobby tacked onto my work and family responsibilities, I started looking for a language with a solid base vocabulary. There are literally hundreds of languages in the Star Wars universe, but the vast majority of them consist of two or three words—and that’s including the name of the language and the species that speaks it. I dove into Star Wars lore to find a language that would work, and when I came up for air, there was one language that seemed perfect for the job: Twi’leki.

Everybody remembers the slave dancer Oola, right? In Return of the Jedi, she’s the slave dancer at Jabba’s palace who gets thrown into the rancor pit. Maybe a picture would help.

Oola, about to get eaten by the rancor and wearing what appear to be leftover props from Clockwork Orange.

Oola, about to get eaten by the rancor and wearing what appear to be leftover props from Clockwork Orange.

If that doesn’t ring a bell, how about Bib Fortuna? Surely you remember Jabba’s lovely lieutenant from your nightmares.

Bib Fortuna, next on To Catch A Predator: Tatooine Edition.

Bib Fortuna, next on To Catch A Predator: Tatooine Edition.

Oola and Bib Fortuna are members of an alien species known as the Twi’leks. So’s that fat guy on the cover pic for this post; that’s Senator Ord Free Taa. Twi’leks speak Twi’leki and just so happen to be pretty popular in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. They’ve been staples among the roleplaying community, members of which have shared their stories and their take on Twi’leki culture and language in online databases, creating a thriving mythology that was built on official Star Wars sources (so-called “canon”) but not limited to it.

I’m gathering both canonical and fanonical (fan-created) uses of Twi’leki in my Dictionary of Twi’leki Terms. The dictionary is a work-in-progress. I’m researching each word until I can trace it to its original source, and I’m noting the source so that players and fans don’t have to take my word for it.

The dictionary is only the initial stage of this process, which I’m calling Project Twi’lex. After compiling the existing words, I’m filling in the gaps. There are very few verbs and no guidance on conjugation, for example. I’m really looking forward to the verb conjugation; it presents so many possibilities! 😀

I am a huge dork.

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