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Why Does Yoda Speak Backwards?

Yoda's Bizarre Manner of Speaking in Star Wars, Explained!

Yoda's speech patterns have confused fans for years. So, here's the official reason he speaks backward, according to George Lucas and Frank Oz.

While Obi-Wan, Anakin and Luke are the most important Jedi inStar Wars, there are plenty of other impressive Jedi. The prequels did a great job of elaborating on some of those background figures, and recent content has doubled down on that sentiment. Jedi like Plo Koon, Ki-Adi-Mundi and Kit Fisto all played prominent roles in the successes and failures of the Jedi Order. Yet, it was always Grandmaster Yoda who had the biggest impact on everything Jedi-related in Star Wars.

Yoda was a legendary Jedi Master and stronger than most in his connection with the Force. Small in size but wise and powerful, he trained Jedi for over 800 years, playing integral roles in the Clone Wars, the instruction of Luke Skywalker, and unlocking the path to immortality.

Yoda was first introduced in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, and even though he wasn't the warrior that Luke expected, Yoda proved his power and wisdom in the Force. Having seen that in the original trilogy, fans were excited to see Yoda put his prowess on display during the prequels. While his green lightsaber and Force skills were impressive, it was worth noting that Yoda still spoke with a bizarre, reverse syntax. It wasn't a habit that Yoda picked up on Dagobah during his exile, and it wasn't something he did especially for Luke. So, here's why Yoda spoke backward.

George Lucas Created Yoda's Speech For Practicality

The first time hearing Yoda's speech patterns is confusing for anyone. All the words are there, but it's straight-up backward. It makes listeners focus, and it turns out that was exactly the point. George Lucas wanted viewers (and characters in the films) to hone in on what Yoda was saying because he was so full of wisdom. However, Yoda's speech patterns weren't just to make viewers focus, it was also designed to make their lives easier. Here's a quote from Paul Duncan's 2018 guide book The Star Wars Archives. Asked how he came up with Yoda's language, Lucas said:

"Mostly we had these strange languages and voices that were created out of foreign languages. I didn't want to go through a whole movie where everybody is reading subtitles. He had a lot of dialogue. So, I had to come up with a language that was alien, but still understandable. So, I reversed everything around. The language was designed to make you focus on the boring, philosophical lessons."

Thus, Yoda's bizarre way of speaking was designed to highlight what he was saying. Yet it was also designed to make sure that viewers weren't stuck reading subtitles the whole time. That way, Yoda could sound like an alien while still technically speaking English.

Yoda's Weird Speech Was a Conscious Choice For Him

George Lucas' comments make it seem like Yoda's speech patterns were a natural thing for him. However, the original Yoda had a different idea. In a recent interview, Dave Filoni (who was explaining why Yaddle doesn't speak like Yoda) recalled a conversation with Frank Oz. He said, "Frank Oz told me once that Yoda speaks that way specifically in honor of his own master. That was what he had thought about it." Granted, actors regularly come up with backstories for their characters that may or may not be considered canon. But Filoni's comments and the way that Yaddle speaks could prove Frank Oz correct.

Yoda's master isn't a part of canon, but in Legends, he was named N'Kata Del Gormo. He was a Hysalrian Jedi Master who was seemingly in the middle of an exile when Yoda and a friend crash-landed on his planet. In an obvious parallel to Yoda training Luke on Dagobah, Master Kel Gormo trained Yoda and his friend, who later departed for the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and left the ancient Jedi to his exile.

If Yoda's master did teach Yoda to use a backward way of speaking, it clearly helped him become a better Jedi. That's why Yoda also adopted a weird way of speaking -- so he could help train countless other Jedi and impart his wisdom to them.

Yoda's species

"Small, green, and wrinkly with pointy ears."―Ezra Bridger talking about Kanan Jarrus' description of Yoda

The species to which the Jedi Grand Master Yoda belonged was ancient and shrouded in mystery. Members of this species were rarely seen anywhere in the galaxy. The few members of this species seen in the galaxy were all Force-sensitive, and the species' homeworld and name were unknown.

in: Pages needing citation, Canon articles, Semi-protected pages, and 5 more Yoda's species The species had two known sexes: male and female. Members of the species were small in size, roughly comparable to that of a human child, with green skin, large eyes, and long pointed ears. Their three-fingered hands ended in claws. The species were suggested to mostly have a carnivorous diet, with a preference towards catching and devouring live amphibians whole. Their ears were expressive, curling, and unfurling in accordance with their emotions.

Members of the species were capable of growing thin hair, with shades varying from auburn to white being documented, females having longer and thicker hair than males. The species had a very long life expectancy, spanning at least several centuries; Yoda lived nearly a thousand years before dying of old age,[6] and they aged very slowly, remaining in infancy for at least fifty standard years.[5] Even at this stage of life, certain Force-sensitive individuals of this species could use Force powers such as telekinesis and Force healing;[10][11] they were also capable of complex thought processes, and could understand speech and communicate via the Force at this age.[12] Despite their slow aging for the first five decades of life,[5] members of the species reached maturity by their hundredth year, as exemplified by the Jedi Yoda, who began training other Jedi when he was about one hundred years old. Society and culture

Due to the rarity of the species in the wider galaxy, little was known about them except that the species was ancient and shrouded in mystery. Members of the species were capable of speaking Galactic Basic Standard, although Yoda used a distinctive and archaic syntax.


Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi

"Do, or do not. There is no try."―Yoda to Luke Skywalker —

Yoda served as Grand Master of the Jedi Order when he was almost nine centuries old.

Yoda, the last Grand Master of the Jedi Order prior to its fall at the end of the Clone Wars, was a member of the species born around the standard year896 BBY. He began training other Jedi when he was around a century old. Over the centuries, Yoda, who never revealed what his homeworld was,trained many Jedi before eventually becoming the Grand Master of the entire order.[3] One of his final Padawans was Dooku, a human male who eventually left the Order and fell to the dark side, becoming the Sith Lord Darth Tyranus,

When Sidious, publicly Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, revealed himself and issued Order 66, which killed most Jedi across the galaxy, Yoda was one of the few survivors, returning to Coruscant and dueling the self-declared Galactic Emperor; however, Yoda was forced to retreat. Yoda subsequently went into hiding on the remote planet Dagobah, eventually training one final student, Luke Skywalker, during the Galactic Civil War to overthrow Sidious' Galactic Empire.[1] Yoda died on Dagobah shortly before the Battle of Endor, afterwards becoming a Force spirit.[16]

Yaddle of the Jedi Council

"Yaddle is known for being very kind and quiet, but on the other hand possesses some of the deadliest Force powers."

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1 Comment

Cheryl Bunn Yamaguchi
Cheryl Bunn Yamaguchi
Mar 28, 2023

Absolutely love this!!

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