By Cory Doctorow at 1:54 pm Mon, Apr 2, 2012
YodaFan has recut Yoda's scenes from the Star Wars movies to correct his grammar. I've always summarized Yoda's speech patterns with this: "Bad grammar have I you think? When 900 years old you are, talk like your zayde you will, too!"
Speaking Correct Order of Words Yoda Is (via IO9)
This was really fun, but this wasn’t all of his dialog. I can’t discern any sort of pattern for what they chose to include and what they didn’t… the bits I can remember which aren’t included might already have correct grammar, but some of the bits that were included have correct grammar too?
Anyway… my favorite Yoda line was always when he says “no, no no…” (near the beginning of the ESB section here).
Putting everything together like this also shows how striking the difference between original trilogy Yoda and prequel Yoda is… the performance was so, so much better in the original.
“That’s a good point. You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
Yeah, I always used to think, in all the depths of this dude’s cosmic wisdom and connectedness to the source of all things and such, you’d think he could see himself to mastering some basic syntax.
The idea is that he’s essentially speaking in an archaic way. He’s so old, even the way Common has come to be spoken has changed around him. Imagine a professor who spoke in a Shakespearean manner, simply because he is old enough to remember when that was correct and common.
Besides, it was never that weird. All he ever does is take a typical English sentence, and move the subject and verb to the very back. German’s not that dissimilar, and I’ve even seem the structure in some English poetry.
The only strange part was the solitary, “you will be.” To be fair, that’s not really capable of being moved around any more. (Sure, you could try to treat “will be” as separate words and not just a conjugation of “to be”, but “Be, you will” just sounds bathetic.)
Or it’s just not his first language, and never took the time to learn to speak it properly?
I think Yoda’s mispronunciation is part of his character’s reflection of the stereotypical small, strange Asian Martial Arts/Philosophy master, it’s just part of who he is.
Slightly off topic: I never noticed before, but that CGI is really bad. Look at the clothing in the Vimeo freeze frame. It’s like Yoda is wearing a thick plastic macintosh.
Hmm… will there be an episode 1 special edition when the CGI improves? Then George Lucas can say “this is the version I really wanted to tell…”
They managed to ruin Yoda in a lot of ways in the prequels. But as far as episode 1 goes, I doubt Lucas would try to go back and fix something that’s, you know, actually broken. If they’d done something right during the prequels, you can guarantee it’d be ruined in the re-release.
But when your films are 90% dated CG animation, it’s hard to retroactively ruin them with dated CG animation.
They managed to ruin Yoda in a lot of ways in the prequels.
Not the least of which was giving him a lightsaber and having him bounce around the walls like a ninja flea on speed. It was unintentionally hilarious on screen, it seemed to be in direct conflict with everything he taught in the original trilogy (we are more than this crude matter/you don’t need your weapon/etc), and it was entirely unnecessary. Shouldn’t a master of his stature have been beyond that kind of thing? Palpatine didn’t need a stupid laser-sword to kick Luke’s ass in ROTJ.
It’s interesting that Yoda’s best monologue (“Size matters not…”) has only one line of mangled grammar (“Luminous beings are we.”) In fact, that might be the only really ungrammatical sentence in the whole scene. When Yoda REALLY wants to make himself understood, he doesn’t mess around.
Also, “Luminous beings are we” is a beautiful sentence, improved by the reversal, unlike, say, “Not if anything to say about it I have!”
Well, cross one off the bucket list…
#83 – Get stupid video I made featured on BoingBoing.
Awesome – thanks for picking it up, was silly, but glad you liked it ;)
In before the ultra-PC linguists saying Yoda’s grammar doesn’t need correcting…
There’s nothing wrong with his grammar. It’s his syntax that’s the problem.
Shared this on facebook I have…
Note that most of the lines in Empire don’t need correcting; it was a bit of flavor, but it didn’t overwhelm his dialog and make it stupid; most of the time he speaks normally, except when he’s pretending to be a cute/stupid alien. As soon as he drops the act (“I give up. The boy has no patience”), his diction improves. But by the times the prequels were made, Yoda’s manner of speaking was a thing, and the stupid writer (i.e., George Lucas), not understanding that it was just to be used for color, hammered this in on every sentence. Ah, well.
It’s like Latin, where the verb goes at the end of the sentence. Or like poetry. It’s not bad /grammar/ exactly. It’s poetic licence.
“To boldy go …” now that’s bad grammar, but we all love it so much we forgive it.
Are you objecting to a split infinitive? That is *not* bad English grammar, that is bad Old English grammar. Your pedantry is incorrect. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Split_infinitive
“Bad grammar have I you think? When 900 years old you are, talk like your zayde you will, too!”
Shouldn’t that be, “talk like your zayde too, you will?”
Ugh. Reminds me all over again how odious “CGI Yoda” was.
language star wars video
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