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Yoda's unique speech consisting of reversed grammar is iconic.

Is there any reason he has adopted this speech pattern?

All other alien species encountered seem to have no trouble speaking normally. Why does Yoda speak in this way?

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19  
Know the answer, I don't –  Eregrith Feb 14 '12 at 9:25
4  
Answer in here scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/10971/… –  Kurt Feb 14 '12 at 10:12
11  
"Many tourists to Dagobah, we do not get. Every trick to keep them entertained, we need to pull." - Yoda. –  Wikis Feb 14 '12 at 10:16
13  
When nine hundred years old you reach, speak as well you will not. Hmm? –  Kyle Jones Feb 14 '12 at 10:24
    
Because his English is poor... –  Sachin Shekhar Feb 11 '13 at 12:35

3 Answers 3

up vote 27 down vote accepted

Out of universe, 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.

In universe, 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".

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).

So, since others (but not all) of his species speak this way, it's probably a cultural matter.

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25  
Fun fact - this is how Latin is organized, generally, with the verb at the end of the sentence. Fac vel non fac... "attempta" ibi non est. –  Chris B. Behrens May 2 '12 at 16:52
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@ChrisB.Behrens: There aren't enough +1s for that comment. –  Tynam Feb 5 '13 at 23:53
    
I don't know where I read this this, or saw this, or dreamt this (LOL!) but I remember something about Yoda's gramatical speech to emulate the Japanese language which follows this pattern. Something about the whole Samurai/Jedi connection. This may be totally wrong, but I do remember hearing it somewhere. –  MikeV Oct 30 at 20:14

Presumably, English (or the equivalent in the Star Wars universe), isn't the first language of Yoda's species. Speakers of 2nd and 3rd languages to their mother tongue often struggle, sometimes permanently, adjusting to new grammatical conventions in other tongues. Many, just as we see with immigrant populations on earth, adjust well and manage to speak fluently like natives. Other individuals will learn just enough to get by and never bring their language level past a certain level of polish. Presumably, when Yoda was learning the language, it wasn't done in a setting that focused on grammar and proper syntax. Perhaps he learned it by ear, or taught it to himself in isolation.

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More specifically, people often learn the words, but stick with aspects of the grammar of their first language, like the word order. –  SQB Feb 11 at 12:02

My theory is that he always arranges his words in order of importance, starting with the most important word and working his way towards the last, which can usually be guessed based on the preceding words and thus becomes almost unnecessary.

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