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Clearly, he speaks English not very well.

So he must speak another language natively. Which one?

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I think you mean "English not very well he speaks." :) – Dima Feb 13 '12 at 18:47
up vote 31 down vote accepted

We don't know much about Yoda's species mostly because "George Lucas maintains a strict policy of keeping the history, name, origin, and whereabouts of this species secret". This is also the case for his native language.

From Yoda's Wookieepedia article :

Yoda spoke an unusual version of Basic. He usually tended to place verbs (especially auxiliaries) after the object and subject (an object-subject-verb format). An example of Yoda's speech pattern: "When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not." Most agreed that this pattern of speech was convoluted, and while it seems as though others of his species (e.g. Yaddle) had the same penchant for rearranging sentences, not all of them did (e.g. Vandar Tokare).

His strange syntax has a high symbolism of Yoda's personality; he always put action last. This fits well with the old master and hermit guru archetypes.

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Yoda-speak closely resembles German in the way its sentences are constructed -- its grammar. German often puts verbs at the end of a sentence, though not always. I theorize that George Lucas (presuming he wrote Yoda's words) might know at least enough German that he thought to do this.

A common in-joke among native English speakers who learn German as a second language (including me) is to poke fun at German by sometimes speaking English with a German sentence structure/grammar. For example:

English: I wish to go home.

German: Ich wünsche zu hause gehen. (Literally: "I wish to home go.")

English words, German grammar: I wish to home go.

Yoda-speak: I wish to home go.

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I am German, and this is absolutely not the case and your German example sentence is gramatically totally wrong too. – juergen d Apr 25 '15 at 17:59
I was about to add that I'd like to hear from native German speakers about this, and voila, you appeared! How fortunate. Juergen, how would you write/say, "I wish to go home"? I'll be the first to admit that I'm not anywhere near fluent in German. Just about every German or Austrian I tell that to expresses happiness that I even made the effort to learn German, lousy as it may be. I look forward to your illuminating all of us on this matter. – Delmarva Apr 25 '15 at 18:00
I möchte nach Hause gehen would be correct or even I möchte nach Hause. But actually most sentences have the verb not at the end like Ich habe Hunger = I am hungry – juergen d Apr 25 '15 at 18:03
Aren't the first/primary verb at the 'beginning', and the following verbs are placed at the end? – Jaciq Apr 25 '15 at 18:04
@Jaciq: Just as much as in English too. I want to go fishing = Will will fischen gehen – juergen d Apr 25 '15 at 18:06

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