There have been a few questions about the sentence structure used by the Star Wars character named Yoda:

  1. When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not
  2. If no mistake have you made yet losing you are ... a different game you should play
  3. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

But what I'm more interested about is how it is perceived by a native English speaker. For example, the unusual word order makes the sentence more poetical in Russian and some other languages. It does not make the sentence harder to understand nor does it make it sound incorrect.

I understand that English is quite different in that regard. There is usually only one correct word order. On the other hand, there exist things like alliteration which have zero effect on native Russian speakers, even if their proficiency in English is good.

Which labels would you attach to Yoda-speak? Is it easy to digest? Does it sound incorrect? Poetical? Nothing special at all?

  • Why someone would give this a negative vote escapes me. I like and appreciate this question very much. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:37
  • 1
    This question seems better suited with Movies & TV StackExchange. It could generate only primarily-opinion-based answers and there seems to be a duplicate.
    – user140086
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:41
  • @DannyRodriguez I'm the one that initially gave this a close vote and the downvote as its is so opinion based and off topic. Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


Yoda sounds like a foreigner trying to speak English, but doing a poor job of it. His structure and accent lend it a comical nature.

Per @Lawrence's comment, it is very easy for us to understand Yoda, so that the movies gain the humor, but do not lose comprehensibility.

  • 2
    It's also easily understandable and unambiguous. Or if you prefer, know what Yoda means, you do.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:48
  • Yoda's structure often involves anastrophe, the swapping of subject, object, and verb positions. The Wikipedia article on anastrophe actually uses him as an example. Nobody has yet commented on whether it has the effect of sounding more poetic or (pseudo) profound. I would say that it does, albeit in a comic, foreign way.
    – DyingIsFun
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 14:23
  • It's a foreigner practiced at speaking English (or, in-universe, "Basic"), but one who has reached a certain level of comprehension that he feels no need to perfect it further. Combine that with our first impression of him, an ancient hermit, and he comes across as intelligent, wise, and someone who would rather learn and teach than make sure his grammar was spot-on.
    – Paul Rowe
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 14:26

To me Yoda sounds like someone speaking some English dialect from several hundred years ago. The speech has a sort of Shakespearean feel to it. It doesn't seem "illiterate" or "foreign", just "mystic".

  • Yes, a guru, poetic quality. Commented Mar 26 at 16:00

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