Why would Chewbacca have a name he cannot pronounce?

A Facebook discussion yesterday on the merits of Star Wars reminded me of something that’s bothered me for years: why can’t Chewbacca pronounce his own name? More specifically, why would he even have a name he cannot pronounce? Not only can’t Chewbacca pronounce his own name, Wookies, the race Chewbacca comes from, cannot even say the word Wookie.

It just doesn’t make any sense. Granted, it’s a fictional universe where sound travels in space and Jedi Knights can make inanimate objects float through the air with their minds. I get the fact that it’s all silly make-believe. I just don’t think there’s ever been a fictional character in any medium that’s had a name they personally cannot pronounce.

Chewbacca is an intelligent being

Who would have a name they are incapable of pronouncing? It’s as though Han Solo gave him the name like a person would with a dog or a cat. The difference is that Wookies are intelligent creatures with their own language and culture. Granted, their language sounds like the noise a mentally retarded Irish Setter would make if it snorted crystal meth, but it’s still a language. I guess. Chewbacca is a sentient creature that can navigate and pilot a starship, play three-dimensional battle chess with a druid, and shoot a Bowcaster.

How does Chewbacca introduce himself to others?  How does he tell people where he’s from? I just don’t get it.

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