Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hiro Yoda Speaks




(screen shot from NBC.com/heroes)

I couldn't help but notice on Monday night's episode of Heroes, the recently discombobulated Hiro spoke a couple of sentences in Yoda-speak. Namely these two:
  • Good you have done, Princess.
  • Defeat the dark side, we will.
Well, let me clarify that. He was translated into English subtitles as speaking Yoda-speak, which is, in English, rather already Japanese-like (verb final and all that). BUT WAIT! What was Hiro saying in Japanese? If Yoda-speak means you take verbs and put them at the end of sentences, then how is Yoda-speak represented in a language that's already verb final? Were his sentences verb-initial? I'm curious to know what grammatical funny business the writers came up with to pull this off (or was he simply speaking grammatical Japanese and the English subtitles alone contained the allusion?). Any Japanese speakers care to clear this up?

PS: I believe my title Hiro Yoda Speaks follows acceptable topic comment order for Japanese for me to model the intended sentence Hiro Speaks Yoda. Were my title Yoda Hiro Speaks, I believe a better English translation would be "It is Yoda that Hiro speaks."  No?

1 comment:

Panglott said...

I was meaning to figure out how to obtain Japanese versions of "Empire", but someone else has done the work: Yoda speaks ordinary Japanese.

http://nihonshock.com/2009/12/star-wars-quotes-in-japanese/

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