yaddle star wars

The Phantom Menace/Star Wars

‘Yoda was just a weirdo’: ‘Star Wars’ fans are wondering why Yoda and Yaddle sound so different in ‘Tales of the Jedi’

Fans expected Jedi master Yaddle to sound like Yoda. They were very wrong.

 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

The new Disney+ series Tales of the Jedi just dropped a bombshell on Star Wars linguists: Unlike Yoda, Jedi master Yaddle talks just like a human. This revelation is provoking confusion and hilarity in Star Wars fandom, because if Yaddle sounds normal, why doesn’t Yoda?

Debuting in The Phantom Menace, Yaddle belongs to the same alien race as Yoda. Since Yoda’s origins are famously mysterious, her arrival was a pretty big deal, confirming that Yoda isn’t the last surviving member of his race. However she doesn’t actually have any dialogue in the movie, meaning there was no way to compare her speech patterns to Yoda’s.

Fans generally assume that Yoda rearranges his sentence structure as an artifact of his original language, resulting in lines like, “The greatest teacher, failure is.” So when Disney announced that Bryce Dallas Howard would voice a more prominent role for Yaddle in Tales of the Jedi, people pricked up their ears. Then when the series premiered on Wednesday, it revealed that Yaddle’s newly-canonized voice is less “grammatically quirky alien” and more “regular old lady.” An intriguing creative choice!

https://www.twitter.com/lukeisamazing/status/1584649871302094848

In the words of one viral TikTok, “Yoda was just a weirdo who speaks in riddles.” The prevailing theory is that he just likes to mess with people, which certainly tracks with his teaching style. Yoda’s overall vibe is a guy who is so old and widely-respected that he can get away with trolling everyone around him.

Other theories include the possibility that Yoda has a speech impediment, or that he originally spoke a different language from Yaddle. Alternatively, he’s so old that he lived for centuries before Basic evolved as a language, making it harder for him to adapt his speech patterns. (It’s also possible that Yaddle’s first language is Basic, suggesting a similar backstory to the way Grogu is being raised by a human father in The Mandalorian.)

This debate over alien grammar highlights the absurdity of modern Star Wars canon trying to make sense of goofy details in the Original Trilogy.

When Yoda debuted in 1980, he was a Jim Henson puppet whose role drew inspiration from the trope of elderly martial arts masters in East Asian cinema. He isn’t widely perceived as an offensive character (unlike, say, Jar Jar Binks), but his speech patterns were certainly designed to make him sound “foreign” compared to the human heroes. That doesn’t necessarily need to be replicated with all characters of the same species. And in the same way that humans have different accents and languages, there are plenty of in-universe explanations for why Yoda and Yaddle sound so different.

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