News & Politics

A Long Time Ago, We All Talked Like Yoda


Today in news you can use (to amuse yourself while you learn something, too), there is evidence that early man (and woman) spoke like Yoda. Meaning: Not necessarily full of wisdom, but using a subject-object-verb (SOV) word order — for example, “I you like” or “Me cookie want,” as opposed to the Cookie Monster’s “Me want cookie.” Researchers also believe that all human languages came from one form, spoken in East Africa some 50,000 years ago, and that one form was Yoda-speak. Yoda-speak, that form was?

According to NBC,

Out of the 2,000 modern languages that fit in the family tree, the researchers found that more than half are SOV languages. The ones that are SVO [subject-verb-object], OVS [object-verb-subject] and OSV [object-subject-verb] all derive directly from SOV languages — never the other way around. For example, French, which is SVO, derives from Latin, which is SOV.

Furthermore, languages that are VSO [verb-subject-order] and VOS [verb-object-subject] always derive from SVO languages. Thus, all languages descend from an original SOV word order – “which leads to the conclusion that the word order in the language from which all modern languages derive must have been SOV,” Ruhlen wrote.

Linguists had previously argued that that SOV was the first word order because that’s how kids learn to talk. Why word orders would switch, people don’t really know. Strange, people are.

In any case, here are a few of our favorite Yoda phrases. Employ one today!

Yoda: Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless.

Yoda: Stopped they must be; on this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight, with the Force as his ally, will conquer Vader and his Emperor. If you end your training now – if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did – you will become an agent of evil.

Luke: I want my lamp back. I’m gonna need it to get out of this slimy mudhole.
Yoda: Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!

Yoda: Size matters not.

Talk like Yoda? We may have originally [NBC]
Did our ancestors speak like Yoda? [The Week]


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