Why does Yoda speak in such a unique way? Yoda, the diminutive Jedi master who helped train Luke Skywalker, is an odd Star Wars character. We don’t mean because he’s a tiny frog man who lives alone in a swamp — that’s pretty normal for the Star Wars movies. No, what’s interesting about Yoda is how little we know about him.
Indeed, in a science fiction movie franchise that prides itself on giving every one of the Glup Shittos in the Mos Eisley cantina a backstory, Yoda’s history is relatively unknown. We don’t know the name of his species, if they’re all Force-sensitive, or anything really.
This has led to the Star Wars fandom filling in the gaps. Specifically, we all presumed that every member of Yoda’s species spoke in the same distinctive way. You see, Yoda’s speech (according to The Atlantic) uses an ‘object-subject-verb’ construction — rather than the subject-verb-object construction used in English —that serves to make him sound more alien. As Yoda was the only member of his people we’d ever heard talk, we just guessed this was the way, but that’s not true.
In the Star Wars animated series Tales of the Jedi, one of the few other ‘Yodas’ we’ve seen in a galaxy far, far away, Yaddle finally speaks (with Bryce Dallas Howard’s voice). Shockingly, though, she constructs her sentences exactly as we do in the real world. So why does Yoda speaks in such a unique way?
Why does Yoda use such a unique speech pattern?
Yoda speaks in the way he does to honour his own Jedi master. That’s not some random bit of trivia from Wookipedia either; that comes from Dave Filoni, the guy behind a lot of the Star Wars series you know and love.
‘No, I don’t think so. I think that’s a Yoda thing’”, Filoni told Nerdist when asked if they considered making Yaddle talk backwards. “Frank Oz told me once that Yoda speaks that way specifically in honour of his own master. That was what he had thought about it. I try to keep moving forward with these thoughts. And Bryce, on her own made a great Yaddle.”
Of course, this is just the in-universe explanation. As we’ve already said, Yoda talks the way he does to make the character more alien and otherworldly, but the reason for Yaddle’s speech pattern being normal probably comes down to the literal bottom dollar.
It may sound cynical, but when you’re paying Dallas Howard to voice your cartoon character, it’s our guess that you want people to know you spent the money on her, so you’re not going to have her do a bad Yoda impression (Editor: her Yoda might be great, we’ve never heard it) are you?
If you love Star Wars, check out our guides breaking down Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Ahsoka Tano. Or find out more about the Star Wars series Andor with our Andor cast guide and the Andor season 2 release date guide, or our explainers on Syril Karn, Dedra Meero, Maarva, Mon Mothma, and Luthen Rael.