Su cuy’gar, ner vode. Ibi’tuur copaani miit’gaanar be kebi meg vut’yc par ni, bal balyc par an beroyase – Mando’ade bal val joha, Mando’a. Still with me? Fret not, for it shall all be made clear momentarily!
Those of you familiar with Karen Traviss’ “Republic Commando” series may have already had some exposure to the Mandalorian language, Mando’a. Originally, I planned on merely crafting a lengthy treatise about Mando’a and its grammar, but in the end I thought this would be a great opportunity instead to speak with a member of the larger Star Wars community whom I have followed for awhile, Natasha Morea, AKA “Mandalorian Girl.” I recently had the great pleasure of sitting down with her at a dusty cantina, where she graciously allowed me to ask all manner of questions. Below is an excerpt from our conversation.
SWTOR-Life: First of all, thank you very much for taking the time out to talk with us here at SWTOR-Life. I’d like to start off by asking what first drew you to the Star Wars universe? Also, do you have a favorite moment (from the films, books, etc.)?
Mandalorian Girl: I grew up watching the original films and I thought that they were the greatest movies ever, but I think the thing that really drew me in was the 1984-1985 made for TV Ewok Adventures: Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor. To me, Mace and Cindel Towani were heroes. They didn’t have any powers, they were just ordinary kids, in an extraordinary galaxy, fighting for survival and as a child, that really appealed to me. Besides, who could resist those cute little Ewoks?! After that, I think I just starting absorbing everything related to Star Wars that I came across. As far as a favorite scene goes, it would have to be the fight scene of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, in The Phantom Menace. I watched the fluidity and intricacy of the lightsaber combat and was totally in awe. In my opinion, that is the best fight scene, ever!
S-L: Could you please give our readers a little background about what drew you to the Mandalorian culture in specific? What aspects of the Mandalorian culture do you identify with?
MG: I have always loved the Mandalorian people. I think it probably started with Boba Fett. I have always loved armor and weapons, and his were incredible! I immediately wanted a set just like his. Canderous Ordo from the KOTOR games made me love Mandalorians even more, but what really drew me in would have to be Karen Traviss’ novella, Boba Fett: A Practical Man. I just fell in love with the Mandalorian characters in the story. I enjoyed getting to know Boba a little better and I fell in love with Goran Beviin. They became more and more real to me. I saw them as a group, that no matter the odds, they just kept going, never giving in or compromising their beliefs. I simply loved that! That novella, added to Karen’s Republic Commando series, truly cemented my love of the characters and the culture. I knew from then on, if I could be a Star Wars character, it would have to be a Mandalorian.
S-L: You’ve displayed quite a knack for Karen Traviss’ Mando’a language, are you a polyglot in real life? Do you have any tips for those aspiring to learn more about the language?
MG: Actually, no. I don’t speak any language fluently, other than my own and sometimes I am not even sure I speak it fluently! I just think that Mando’a is an exceptionally beautiful language and it compliments the Mandalorian people extremely well. I just want to absorb as much as I can of these great and colorful characters. I think that if you really want to learn about the Mando’a language you should read Karen Traviss’ books and search out sites on the internet. There is a lot of information out there about the language and the people, it just takes a little effort to find it. It is a fun language to learn and I am still learning too. I just like tweeting about it and sharing the knowledge with fellow Star Wars fans.
S-L: Do you have a favorite Mando’a phrase that you’d like to share with our readers?
MG: “Ib’tuur jatne tuur ash’ad kyr’amur” pronounced: “EEB-toor JAHT-nay toor ASH-ahd KEE-ram-oor” (Today is a good day for someone else to die). I think it represents the Mandalorian mind set very well; Go out, fight with all you have, never give in and come home to your family.
S-L: Could you please give us a little bit of background about your character, Na’sha Tal-i? Where do you get your inspiration from when writing your fan fiction pieces? Do you have any long-term goals regarding your writing?
MG: Na’sha Tal-i is young woman who was captured by Mandalorians in a raid on her village and was taken in by the clans when she was a child. She was taught to be a productive member of their society, but even though she loved them, she didn’t agree with all aspects of the culture, especially slavery, so she left home to see what the galaxy had to offer. She was asked to come home during a pivotal point but stayed away due to a dream she had about her people’s destruction. It saved her life and now her clan members are all dead. She takes odd jobs, bounties and just keeps on the move. She has a way with people and a way of getting into sticky situations.
Creating her, was a spur of the moment decision. I made a WordPress account and said to myself, “Now what can I blog about?” Her name popped in my head all of a sudden and I just started typing. I love Star Wars, I love to write and I love Mandalorians, so what better to blog about? The Old Republic is my favorite era in the Star Wars Universe, so naturally, I wanted to set my adventures there. There is so much room to create and so many worlds to explore during that time frame. Star Wars is a vast creation and there are so many things that are yet unexplored, so many platforms to build on. The era itself is an inspiration!
I plan on taking this story as far as I can. I intend on Na’sha and her companions having a long and fruitful adventure. I know at some point, it will have to have an ending, but that is a long way off. After it is over, who knows? I may come in with a story of one of her descendants. I have been playing around with it already. As long as there are fans out there that enjoy reading my fan-fiction, I will keep providing it. It is a great way to spend my spare time and a joy to write.
My great thanks to Na’sha for sitting down and chatting with us today. I definitely reccomend checking out her WordPress Blog, “The Exploits of Mandalorian Girl.” Also, she has contributed to the Tor Syndicate podcast as well. Make sure to drop by and and check out her wonderful fan-fiction today!
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