Speaking Yodish

May the fourth be with you!

May fourth is widely regarded (among nerds like me) as being Star Wars Day. Get it? May the fourth . . . may the force? Yeah, these are the kind of puns a certain grammarian with an extensive R2D2 collection finds hilarious.

And what better way to celebrate than by devoting a tutorial to my favorite little green contrarian of language—Yoda. Today we will be learning how to speak Yodish.

Yoda is famous for his strange speaking pattern, which you can see in these quotes.

“No more training do you require.”

“Only pain will you find.”

“Your father he is.”

Though it may not seem like it at first, Yoda’s speech does follow a set of rules. But to understand how to speak Yodish, we must first understand how English-speaking humans (including Jedi Knights) construct sentences.

English sentences follow a subject-verb-object order. Take, for example, this sentence:

Luke fancies Leia. (Which we all know is gross because they are brother and sister, but Luke didn’t know that in A New Hope, okay?)

In this sentence, Luke is the subject, fancies is the verb, and Leia is the object. That makes “Luke fancies Leia” follow the subject-verb-object order.

Yoda, on the other hand, tends to use an object-subject-verb order. If he were to say the sentence we used in the example above, it would look like this:

Leia Luke fancies.

Leia is the object, Luke is the subject, and fancies is the verb, making this sentence follow the object-subject-verb order.

Let’s take another example:

“Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!”

In regular English, we would say, “This is my home.” But with Yoda’s object-subject-verb order, it comes out as “My home this is.” My home is the object, this is the subject, and is is the verb.

And there you go. That is the basic rule to speaking Yodish.

Many more rules are there to speaking Yodish, however. Too complicated are they for me to discuss without further study. Thankfully, another nerd took the time to break them down. Beware: it is heavy on the linguistic jargon. But, if you have the grammatical force with you, you can learn more here.