Greetings and Salutations
Making a good first impression is always impor-tant when meeting new life-forms. A casual wave of the hand, however, or extension of an arm for a handshake may result in the loss of your limb. So it is generally best to approach each new specimen slowly but confidently, keeping one hand ready to draw your weapon—if you are armed—and an eye open for a quick escape route should trouble come your way. Try to determine quickly just how many eyes and appendages you are dealing with, and make sure you recognize the front from the back. I’ve had many reports of travelers painfully mistreated by involuntary defense mechanisms on the backside of what was otherwise a friendly creature.
This chapter will give you the most probable phrases you need to greet a diversity of life-forms. The particular languages covered here are the most widespread in the galaxy, and chances are, someone will understand you. More specific and localized languages, such as Ewokese or Jawaese, for instance, are dealt with in detail in their own sections.
Pre-Corellian The most universal intergalactic greeting is derived from the ancient pre-Corellian salutation yaa-yaah. This sound is recognized by almost all air-breathing life-forms who vocalize by bellowing air from their lungs through a resonant vocal cavity. This phrase can be accompanied by a soft gesture of the right hand slightly extended with open hand palm downward. Even strictly visual communicators and most telepathic forms seem to understand this phrase when combined with the accompanying gesture. Note, though, that there is one known exception: Ugnaughts, common to Bespin and other Tibanna gas mining planets, take this as a personal insult and often respond by immediately hurling tools. Greet an Ugnaught by bowing silently, then await a guttural purring sound as a positive response. Otherwise, get ready to duck and roll.
To bid farewell, repeat the hand gesture and bow the head slightly. Use the ancient derivative of yaa-yaah for good-bye.
Both the above phrases are recognized as peaceful and respectful forms of salutation throughout the galaxy.
Whether we like it or not, so much business is done with the Hutts that a basic knowledge of that language is essential, especially for the executive and business traveler. More will be covered later in the chapter devoted to Huttese, but here are the basic salutations to get you started.
I am pleased to meet you.
Mee dunkee gunko.
Or, if the situation is a bit tense:
I come in peace.
Nee dolya pukee toba.
In a more formal situation—for example, meeting a Hutt lord:
Greetings, glorious host.
H’chu apenkee, o’ grandio lust.
If you are the host:
A common farewell:
Mee jewz ku.
Or, if more formality is needed:
May your juices stay fresh.
Twoos pa reeta bah flootah.
This is the best translation I can give of this antique Huttese idiom. Delivered with the proper air of humility, it expresses a profound respect for authority.
Copyright © 2001 by Ben Burtt. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.