I just watched TFA again last night and there's a scene where Finn and Rey reunite (with Han and Chewie's help) in the Starkiller base.

During the reuniting scene where Rey and Finn are happy to see each other, the Wookiee says


and Rey interprets:

He said this was your idea

How does Rey know the Wookiee language? I can understand her understanding BB-8 after working with Droids all her life, but the Wookiee language?

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    Related: Does Rey speak Shyriiwook?
    – TARS
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 14:28
  • @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach - Thanks. I honestly didn't think to look elsewhere for Star Wars questions. I also didn't know the exact name of the Wookie language, so probably wouldn't have found it anyway....
    – user71418
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 14:46
  • Coursera, would be my guess. :)
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 19:22
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    @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach I find it amusing that movies.SE used the name "Shyriiwook" and scifi.SE did not
    – Izkata
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 20:06
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    +1 for transcribing Chewbacca's line. That made my day. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 23:47

2 Answers 2


The factbook "Rey's Survival Guide" strongly implies that she learned to speak Wookiee using the computer language tapes that she found during her salvage of Rebel ships, in much the same way that she learned to speak droidspeak.

What do I do when I'm home? Mostly, I refurbish gear at my workbench - it costs too much to make extensive repairs at Unkar's washing tables in Niima. I have an old Y-wing computer display I use to study schematics of rebel and Imperial starships and run flight sims. I practice alien languages and droidspeak so I can talk to people in Niima. And I sleep - I made myself a hammock when I was just a kid. At first it was huge, and I would feel lost in the middle of it. Now it fits more snugly.

She apparently used these language skills to speak to a group of itinerant Wookiee Traders in Niima, strongly implying that she already spoke their language.

I'd heard of Chewbacca from some Wookiee traders who'd stopped off at Jakku. They said he was an amazing hyperspace scout and smart smuggler, with a reckless human first mate who was always getting him in trouble. I never dreamed I'd get to meet them.


She picked it up by interacting with offworlders.

According to Pablo Hidalgo’s TFA Visual Dictionary (which is canon):

Rey’s interaction with offworlders has allowed her to learn nonhuman languages such as Wookiee and astromech binary.

Props to @DVK for finding this, as seen in this answer on another site.

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    Huh, Rey's Survival Guide (which I'm guessing probably isn't canon, though it is being bundled with the DVD release) says that she learned languages through the computer link in the pilot's helmet she owned. Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 14:31
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    Both can be true at the same time. Interacting with off-worlders gave her a motive to learn as well as people to practice the languages with. The computer link in the helmet was something she could use to practice and expand her vocabulary when she was alone.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 14:49
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    Hmmm. When I saw the film, I assumed that the helmet was inoperative and Rey was simply using it as a curiosity/role-play, possibly as a nod to the young Annakin. I don't recall anything in any other film that shows the helmets being stand-alone computers (otherwise Luke would have retained his on Dagobah after his x-wing sunk..)
    – user71418
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 15:16
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    @disturbedneo - Rey's Survival Guide is fully canon, as are all Star Wars books published post-April 2015.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 15:05
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    Oh, that's cool. I guess it's fine in this case, in fact it's quite likely that interacting with off-worlders further enhanced and cemented the lessons she learned via the helmet. It does feel like Disney got kinda lucky though. They could have had two conflicting canon sources and been right up a proverbial creek. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 15:48

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