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Why Does Yoda Talk Backwards?

Why Does Yoda Talk Backwards?

Speech is one of the things that distinguishes us from other people. It shows where we grew up, where we live, the language we’re accustomed to and much more. 

Of course, George Lucas implanted this in the masterful Franchise he created. This is most evident in the character Yoda.

Grand Master Yoda is arguably one of the most interesting characters in the Star Wars universe. Species unknown, Yoda was a Force-sensitive male who was a legend in the Galactic Republic. 

Don’t let his adorable shortness fool you. Yoda was packed to the brim with incredible power and unfathomable wisdom. 

So much so that he imparted his vast knowledge of the Jedi way into generations of upcoming Jedi. 

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Surviving through a whopping nine hundred years of galactic history, Yoda bore witness to the inception of the Galactic Republic and its unfortunate demise after Order 66.

As a reminder, Order 66 was the corruption of the Clone Troopers that caused them to see all Jedi as traitors to the Republic. 

This caused absolute carnage to ensue, wiping out 99 percent of the existing Jedi Order. Needless to say, having lived through that was an impressive feat on Yoda’s part.

During the Star Wars Franchise, Yoda had little quirks that made him pleasant to watch. One such quirk is his tendency to speak backwards.

But why exactly does he do that? Keep reading as we delve into this puzzling topic. 

Why does Yoda Sometimes Speak Backwards?

Things evolve, and the longer you live the more you see the things you once identified with fall in and out of fashion.

In the case of Yoda, he lived through an astounding nine generations. What’s more, he clocked a total of 900 years of life.

Therefore it would be safe to assume that over this entire period, the language in Star Wars would have adapted to the changing atmosphere, similar to how our languages would adapt as the years roll by. 

Therefore, it’s possible that Yoda simply spoke in a manner that he was most comfortable with.

This could be because as he got up there in age he found it easier to use his original speech pattern. Or perhaps he thought it was superior to the way the youngins spoke, like most of our elders in the real world.

Regardless of the reason, this manner of speaking often resulted in Yoda speaking in inverted sentences. That is, speaking backward. 

Does Yoda Talk Backwards on Purpose?

Yoda made the conscious decision to speak backward. 

George Lucas Explains Why Yoda Talks Backwards

Apart from this possibly being a comfort thing for him, Yoda spoke backward to ensure that whoever he’s speaking to is giving his little gold nuggets of wisdom their undivided attention.

When given some thought, this makes a boatload of sense. As crazy as it may seem, Yoda was onto something here.

Often, when we’re talking to someone, their minds will wander and they will drift from the conversation multiple times.

Usually, this is dependent on their attention span and the length of the conversation. Still, this can result in a message being lost in translation or important information being missed.

Then there’s the major possibility that the individual could eventually forget whatever they were told.

What happened when Yoda would speak in inverted sentences? The listener would have to disassemble the sentence and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense.

This would get them actively involved in the conversation. 

What is Yoda’s Speech Pattern?

The way we speak is subject-verb-object.

This structure is the regular speaking pattern that almost all people are taught regardless of their language or their geographical locations.

What Yoda does is he changes this regular structure. He doesn’t just flip it backward, but he completely rearranges it.

Take this famous example coming from Yoda himself, “Much to learn, you still have.” Once taken apart, “much to learn,” is the object, “you,” is the subject, and “have” is the verb.

Therefore, Yoda generally speaks in an object-subject-verb fashion. 

Can Yoda speak Normally?

Initially, this was heavily debated because it seemed as though Yoda only spoke in nonsensical parables (at least that’s how it seemed to us the viewers).

Understandably, it was a mystery as to why he did this, or if he was capable of speaking normally.

It seems as though he can’t, or rather, he chooses not to. Yoda speaks the way he is most comfortable. 

Of course, his first language would be that of his home planet, which is probably not English.

Just like most non-native English speakers, when they start speaking English it will be slightly broken at first.

It’s the same thing with Yoda. His English was slightly broken because he opted to transfer his original language’s grammatical structure to his new language.

This bodes well for him as speaking in his backward, broken English allows for his message to be far more effective than it would have been. Had he been speaking normally, it’s more than likely that his message may not have come across exactly as he wanted it to. 


Yoda is one of the most legendary, wise, and comical characters that the Star Wars Franchise has to offer.

He brought the stereotypical old, all-knowing, wisdom-imparting character to life in a way that has delighted viewers for decades.

One major factor that added greatly to his charm was the way Yoda chose to speak. He spoke in parables and inverted sentences. This was absolutely genius on his part.

Once the Jedi, or other Force-sensitives that go to Yoda for advice, begin speaking with him, they are immediately captivated by what he is saying. This is in small part thanks to the sentence structure.

Because of the strange, backward nature of his sentences, Yoda’s listeners are forced to make sense of his words on their own and make use of their brains and interpretation skills.

This forces the listener to pay attention by default. For that reason, they would be less likely to forget.

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