19

There have been a few little bits of BB-8’s vocalizations that I’ve heard in trailers and such, and it sounds fairly different from R2-D2 in terms of the “voice” but I couldn’t hear enough to figure out if it’s still the same actual language that R2 speaks. I assume it’s some version of “Binary” but I wonder if they are identical languages?

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    Side-note: BB8 and R2D2 seem to understand each other when R2D2 wakes up. But R2 and BB8 also understand human speech for example so that does not mean they necessarily speak the same language, just that they can understand each other. – Fatalize Dec 18 '15 at 10:48
  • @Fatalize fair point, and in SW universe it seems most folks speak in their own language and expect others to understand them, even if they speak a different language in their side of the conversation (which doesn't seem to happen as much in our universe). – zipquincy Dec 18 '15 at 18:00
  • BB-8 speaks MIT's Scratch :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 19 '15 at 15:26
  • Please consider changing the accept since I got the canon answer this time :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 20 '15 at 23:12
12

Not quite. But it’s a more advanced version of “droidspeak.”

According to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary:

BB-8 converses in 27th generation droidspeak code, a compressed variant of the most common astromech language

enter image description here

Also, please note that out-of-universe they specifically worked to make BB-8 sound more "human" like, with a Voice Consultant and a live voice actor.

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    +1: 27th generation droidspeak code? Now I wonder what year/timepsan that equates to? Can R2-D2 get a firmware upgrade? – JakeGould Dec 20 '15 at 23:08
13

I have to credit DVK with posting this, but he has the eBook version of The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster and there is definitely a clue as to the language/dialect that BB-8 speaks. The scene describes when BB-8 meets R2-D2 at the Resistance base; bold emphasis is on the droid language part of this:

In the dark, dusty storeroom he rolled over to the R2 unit and beeped a greeting, the transmission sequence too rapid and too exhaustive for any human to follow. It didn’t matter. There was no response from the immobile R2 unit.

BB-8 tried again, utilizing a different droid language. When that also failed, he moved forward and gave the other mechanical a forceful nudge. Like everything else, that too failed to generate a response.

So it is clear that BB-8 is fluent in a few different droid languages/protocols. And I am assuming that BB-8’s initial “beeps” were in it’s default language and it then “switched gears” to some other language.

UPDATE: I just saw DVK’s comment on the original question here and will gladly accept a “defeat” to this answer if DVK can dig up something more concise or more detailed than my simply swiping an excerpt that was previously posted.

  • I like this answer but it doesn't prove whether BB's default language is the same as R2's only that there are different languages and BB knows several – Liath Dec 20 '15 at 17:55
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    @Liath True. And I don’t disagree. I stated, “I am assuming that BB-8’s initial ‘beeps’ were in it’s default language…” for just that reason. I think at the end of the day there will be no clear answer to this if the novelization doesn’t directly address it. – JakeGould Dec 20 '15 at 17:57
  • Sorry, you borrowed the wrong info for the answer ;) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 20 '15 at 22:57
  • Droids seem to speak two different languages, one is a sort of human-understandable pidgin known as 'Binary'. The other is a highspeed "droid only" language used only between robots. – Valorum Jan 9 '16 at 21:05

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