Follow TV Tropes


Strange-Syntax Speaker

Go To

"Stop, thief! No welcome wagon, 'hello stranger' with that good coffee flavor for you! Offer expires while you wait; operators are standing by."

This trope deftly describes when wily characters can't understand unusual dialog delivered brazenly by an alien or outsider. The twist? While words are apprehensible, the text's syntax — significant rules regulating grammar generation — remains reclusive. Perhaps paired words will always alliterate, or orators must mangle texts to fit fifteen-syllable sentences. Regrettably, results sound strange, appearing as garbled gibberish to the central characters, but basic sentence syntax conforms coherently to the strange speaker.

Critical concept: attending audience can clearly surmise sense after attaining strange syntax's prime principles. Axiom acclimation therefore turns into intriguing core component of overture.

Can come as a radical result of other trope titled, fittingly, Future Slang, since Strange Syntax Speaker shows principal precepts are aggressively changed, contrasted against adversary trope's trend of only exchanging expressions. Frequently, fictional and alien words will be broached to trouble the turgid fiction further. Sometimes, said words will be begrudgingly obscure, of course clouding the talking attempts anon.

When wacky rules run obscenely obtuse, strange speaker can commonly appear as Cloudcuckoolander, cackled at and/or otherwise made misunderstood. Regular recurring scenario sets protagonists pursuing education, enlightenment of obscure syntax system for finding important information. If intended, it's Idiosyncratic Elected Elocution.

Compare, contrast against alternatives Conlang (covering artificial argots overall) or singsong Starfish Language; look also at vanilla Verbal Tic trope. Intermittently, Iambic pentameter presents itself in many media as a common case. Often overlaps with witty Candle Constraint.

Zestful? Zero Wingrish would compare concepts.

If indigenous syntax strange to travelers, this trope can convene. Excessive examples abound; avoid listing live representations resultant, otherwise Ocular Gushers guaranteed following futility.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • The Incredible Hercules heel Amatsu-Mikaboshi (later known as the Chaos King) has taken to speaking in haikus exclusively.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier, the character Galley Wag is from a dark-matter dimension and speaks in a bizarre slang like "Bread and Tits!" and "Huff yer oyver in all you'm tick senned such a plumious sparktackle?" While the statements make sense in context, the human Mina can understand Galley Wag and provide translation.
  • Also by Alan Moore, V for Vendetta's title character only spoke in iambic pentameter. They scrapped that for the movie, though, because it would have sounded weird as balls.
  • Often employed in Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol — the Scissormen speak in nonsense phrases, the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. speak in sentences that are expansions of that acronym, the Pale Police speak nonsense that is anagrams of what they want to say, and so on.
  • X-Men:
    • Blindfold speaks rather oddly, usually by putting too many polite phrases in her speech, and when referring to locations when using her psychic powers. It doesn't help that half the time she's talking to her invisible friend Cipher.
    • Selfsame trope also applies to Warlock somewhat.
    • Hepzibah of the Starjammers has a very distinctive manner of speech that combines terse sentences with a structure that places the identifier before the quantifiable, whilst also downplaying multiples. Presumably, it's an attempt to convey in vocal structure the natural "dialect" of her pheromone-based native language.
    Chris, Shi'ar, they were! Shi'ar not friends anymore... If ever were! Turned, Lilandra has! Forget you how we met? ...In slave pits of Chandilar! Abducted you from Earth, wife by Lilandra's brother, Majestor D'Ken, killed... me, for 'terrorism' in there. Raza, his race exterminated. Ch'od's, too. The whole reason we rescuing Kree is because been there we. Suffered that.
    Lucky? Lucky? You born dim, Chris, or do you have to work at it? We got no main weapons, no faster than light drive, no shields. Firefight would have lit up whole nebula like lantern. We just hung out big notice to Shi'ar strike force saying 'Hey, birdies — here we are.'
  • The New 52 Teen Titans featured Thrice, a team of three metahuman brothers with powers that involve merging into one body and splitting apart. The combined form always uses first person and first person plural pronouns, possessives, etc., referring to "I/We", "me/us", and so on.
  • R'amey Holl, a member/warrior of the Green Lantern Corps, speaks/communicates in a dual way that leaves multiple interpretations/readings for each of her sentences.
  • The Transformers (Marvel):
    • The character Weirdwolf, like Yoda, backwards, he speaks. Also reversing standard sentence structure, Decepticon Pretender Monster Slog is.
    • Freelance Peace-Keeping Agent Death's Head, who was introduced in the Transformers comics, turns most of his statements into questions by adding the word "yes" to the end, yes?
    • Statement: On his reappearance in the later end of the run, Shockwave began prefacing every statement based on what he was doing.
  • Invincible:
    • The comic briefly featured a species of alien shark-people who reverse standard sentence structure. Their sentences also aren't always completely grammatical if you were to shift them back into normal syntax. "Made clear to me it is. Dead my men are. None left there is but us. See this I can."
    • Octoboss, the crime lord from "another world" who's been terrorizing Earth for several decades. Syntax and prepositions are completely beyond him.
  • In the original Asterix and the Britons, all the Britons came off as this, due to speaking in French but keeping the words in the English order.
  • In the Guardians of the Galaxy miniseries Guardians of Infinity, Aerolite of the Guardians of 1000 AD has strange speech patterns which he blames on his Translator Microbes. "Fighting is not on my list of liking things. But it is on my list of things I am good at doing."
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Rum-Maj speaks in the strange way, with odd choices of words to suggest she not a native speaker of Cybertronix. Comparing that to her partner Wreck-Gar, he is coming off as the coherent one. As time goes by, Rum-Maj's statements become more grammatically correct.
  • The Transformers: Spotlight Wheelie gives an explanation for why the title character talks in rhyme- he was stranded on an alien planet for years with a companion who's Universal Translator only worked if the phrase was rhyming. Eventually, he became so used to doing so that he lost the ability to speak normally.
  • The goblins in Beasts of Burden have their own way of speaking, including differences in pronunciation (e.g. "aminals" for "animals", "cass" for "catch") and grammar.
    Goblin: You dead, cat! Dead an' et up in me belly!

  • Superman: Bizarros usually talk in Bizarro speak, which has them say the opposite of what they really mean with Hulk Speak thrown in. The large amount of double negatives this causes, as well as how the usage of Bizarro-speak varies from Bizarro to Bizarro (and from writer to writer), its practically impossible to piece together what they’re actually trying to say.

    Fan Works 
  • The quirky zombie priestess Adelleh from these two Looking for Group fanfic speaks like something in-between this and You No Take Candle; she is also a Third-Person Person.
  • I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?: The dominant language spoken in Central appears to use a Verb Subject Object sentence structure. This only rarely comes up because Taylor's translation function retcons her memories so she thinks she heard the words in the correct order for English, but if someone gets interrupted mid-sentence she will occasionally hear the words in the order they were spoken.
  • Nobody Dies: Arael's speech can be... interesting to try to decipher, as it appears to say the same thing in multiple ways simultaneously:
    "We are (not simply [more than {we are the mechanism of life eternal} monsters] monsters) what we must be."
    "I have done (created [brought the {saved us all} next age] wonders) the impossible."
  • In the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, Nightmare Phobia StaRtS TalKIng lIKe ThiS after she hits her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Back in the original Pony POV Series, the Blank Wolf in the Shining Armor Arc is an odd example. Every word it speaks is represented by being written backwards, with the first (technically last) letter always capitalized.
  • Friendship Is Magical Girls: As a shout out to the Kraang, all the members of the Infestation talk like this, constantly repeating themselves, and using "that which is" and "the one who is" to describe every little thing.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Home (2015), the Boov (especially Oh) regularly mix up tenses, verbs, nouns, and English grammar in general with phrases like "Can I come into the out now?" and "It should to hover much better now."
  • Zig Zag the Grand Vizier from The Thief and the Cobbler speaks entirely in rhyme. Since he's voiced by Vincent Price, it's all kinds of awesome.
  • The Junkions from The Transformers: The Movie speak entirely in commercial jingles and other pop-culture soundbites. A visitor's ability to understand them depends entirely on one's ability to "talk TV".
    Wreck-Gar: "Yes, friends, act now! Destroy Unicron! Kill the Grand Poobah! Eliminate even the toughest stains!"
    • Definitely done as a Shout-Out to "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Dare To Be Stupid", which is the Junkions' Leitmotif and uses commercial slogans for its lyrics.
    • Also from the movie, Wheelie speaks entirely in rhyme.
      Wheelie: Friend find, look behind! You go wrong way, you fool I say.
      Grimlock: Me Grimlock fool?
      Wheelie: Picture you got, now fool you not!

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Played for comic effect in Airplane! with Jive.
  • In A Clockwork Orange, the gang's "Nadsat" slang often involves unusual word order, conjugation and word choice in addition to the mostly Russian-based slang words. The film's version is less pronounced than the book's, since the viewer only has about 90 minutes to become accustomed to it.
  • Although he is American, Cheyenne from Once Upon a Time in the West has an unusual way of speaking, as though English wasn't his first language. This is because English was not supposed to be his first language. He was written as a Mexican, Manuel Gutierrez, but Sergio Leone decided that Jason Robards couldn't play one convincingly.
  • The Sheriff of Rottingham from Robin Hood: Men in Tights starts transposing his words whenever he starts to get angry. Usually he just transposes a word or two ("Over that boy hand!") or syllable ("Struckey has Loxxed again"). But when Robin and Marian kiss during the banquet he completely loses it:
    Everyone: What?
    Sheriff: It is illegal to kill a wild pig in the King's forest!
  • Star Wars: With a Object-Subject-Verb word order, Master Yoda usually speaks. A defining characteristic, his strange syntax is, and often parodied.
    • He was much less rigid with this in the original trilogy, and could sometimes even turn an eloquent phrase here and there (like "Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny!" or "do or do not, there is no try"). It mostly comes in during his first few scenes, when he's using Obfuscating Stupidity and actively screwing with Luke. In the prequels it's Flanderized and he almost never speaks in any other order, regardless if horribly butchered the resulting language becomes ("Not if anything to say about it I have!"/"Around the survivors a perimeter create!").
    • It's been speculated that Yoda's speech is essentially that of a Galactic Basic speaker from 8-900 years ago, when Yoda was young. This would explain why the member of Yoda's species in Knights of the Old Republic, who's otherwise a Yoda expy, uses the same syntax as everyone else. If the ancient dialect is thought of as being "translated" to "modern Galactic Basic" for the convenience of the audience, then Vandar Tokare's syntax didn't stand out from that of other characters because everybody was using more Yoda-like syntax. This also shows in works where Yaddle - a younger member of his species introduced in The Phantom Menace - speaks, but talks exactly like everyone else.
    • Another possibility is that Yoda talks like this on purpose, both to mess around with people and to get them to listen attentively to what he says. This theory was confirmed in the semi-canonical Fate of the Jedi novel Backlash.
    • In one episode of Star Wars: Clone Wars, Yoda uses a Jedi Mind Trick to get one of Padmé's guards to agree with him. This leads to the guard talking in the same way as him. Padmé sees right through it, but goes along with it.
    • In the prequels, Jar Jar Binks, and to a lesser extent the other Gungans, speaks a pidgin Galactic Basic that involves dropping articles such as "the" and using "me" in place of "I" and adding the syllable "sa" at the end of every pronoun ("meesa" instead of "I am", "yoosa" instead "you are", etc.). Post-Legends Expanded Universe works would play with this in regards to Gungans living among the stars. In Last Shot, Han introduces himself to a Gungan security guard in stereotypical Gungan syntax, only for said Gungan to reveal that he speaks normal Basic and is quite offended by the presumption. In Out of the Shadows, it's mentioned that some offworld Gungans use their own syntax as a form of Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • V for Vendetta: V's vernacular vigilantly vexes viewers via very variant vocabulary.note 
    Evey: ...Are you like, a crazy person?
    V: I am quite sure they will say so.
  • The Dark Crystal: The Skeksis Chamberlain speaks in a strange broken manner to the Gelflings. In the original version of the film, the Skeksis speak a Conlang, so the Chamberlain's was supposed to switch to broken English to communicate with the Gelflings in these scenes. The Conlang was removed, but his broken speech wasn't altered. It could perhaps be explained as the Chamberlain assuming that the Gelflings are simple-minded. His speech is similarly broken throughout The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, even though he speaks more normally around Skeksis in this film.

  • Newspeak, from George Orwell's 1984, uses strange syntax in an effort to simplify the language and reduce the number of words. However, most of the novel is written in standard English, or "Oldspeak".
  • In The Abyss Series by Dom Cutrupi, the mysterious orphan Melody who became the protagonist's adoptive sister has a peculiar speech disorder. Instead of using proper grammar and syntax, she just puts words after one another: for instance, when she wants to say "I am hungry", she would say "I. Hungry.", and "Where are we going?" would become "Where. We. Go".
  • Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany, a novel that's all about language, a privateer, called Butcher, never uses the words "I" or "you". Which is strange to start with, but when Wong, the language expert, is intrigued, and decides to try and help him with this problem, the results are, at first, truly strange, as Butcher struggles to figure out how to use these words properly.
  • Anthony Boucher's story "Barrier" has an entire future society that speaks "Farthingized" English, named after the author of the (in-story) book "This Bees English". All irregular verb forms have been eliminated, as have articles, and pronouns no longer indicate case. Same thing haves happened to other remaining major languages. It bees actually illegal to speak irregular English, enforced by police ("Stappers", from "Gestapo" ... story beed written in 1942).
    • Farthingized English is odd but comprehensible, unlike that of the Venusian from the far future whose society has painstakingly excavated scraps of literature from ruins and reconstructed "langue Earthly" without realizing that that the scraps are not all from a single language.
  • In The Quirky Tale Of April Hale by Cathy Octo, the titular protagonist April Hale speaks like Yoda when she's nervous.
  • Likewise, in Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Dave and Neta Jackson, Ruth Garfield talks like Yoda.
  • The wise uncle Vi'son from Warped And Wired by Joshua Caleb also speaks like Yoda.
  • The Book Of Dave by Will Self has a futuristic language called Mokni, a phoneticized form of Cockney mixed with bastardized London cabbie slang.
  • In Castle Hangnail, the castle's cook has an idiosyncratic way of speaking that sticks to present tense and avoids pronouns and other connective words, and comes out sounding vaguely Russian.
  • The teens from A Clockwork Orange speak Nadsat, which includes Cockney rhyming slang, Anglicized Russian and German words, and a generally unusual syntax, such as Dim's assertion, "Bedways is rightways now..."
    Alex: There was me, that is Alex, and my three droogs, that is Pete, Georgie, and Dim, Dim being really dim, and we sat in the Korova Milkbar making up our rassoodocks what to do with the evening, a flip dark chill winter bastard though dry.
  • The Trofts from The Cobra Trilogy. [The noun, they place it first].
  • The Crown Jewels by Walter Jon Williams has Count Quik, a Troxan, whose species seems to have difficulty with both Human and Kholasi languages. When he first meets Drake, he explains, "On unbusiness I am inning this system. Humanity is me interested. I big tour taking am. Am on Earth big finishing, acquaintance making."
  • In Kurt Vonnegut's Deadeye Dick, Haitian Creole is said to only have a present tense, leading to some very odd grammar. Of course, it's implied that the Haitians simply don't bother trying to teach the American proper grammar.
    "He is dead?" he said in Creole. "He is dead," I agreed. "What does he do?" he said. "He paints," I said. "I like him," he said.
  • The first book from the Eisenhorn trilogy gave us the alien Saruthi, who did this when they spoke English Gothic. Ironically, that was probably the least strange thing about them.
  • Finnegans Wake.
    "Behove this sound of Irish sense. Really? Here English might be seen. Royally? One sovereign punned to petery pence. Regally? The silence speaks the scene. Fake!"
  • Abigail from Gloves Of Virtue, yet another Cloudcuckoolander.
  • In The Godling Chronicles by Brian D. Anderson, the old hermit magician Felsafell has very peculiar speech patterns, often reversing words in sentences in Yoda fashion, speaking cryptically, and frequently referring to himself in the third person.
  • The house elves (Dobby, Winky, etc.) in Harry Potter use a strange syntax, particularly in the way they conjugate verbs ("You is being a very bad house elf!"). They mostly come off sounding uneducated, which is hardly surprising given their slave status in the books.
  • Herald Alberich from Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series routinely speaks Valdemaran with Karsite word order, which is usually Object-Subject-Verb similar to Yoda's. He was born and raised in Karse and only ended up in Valdemar after being kidnapped/rescued by a Companion, who eventually psychically fed Valdemarian vocabulary into his head ... and only vocabulary, leading Alberich to use Valdemarian words with Karsite grammar.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: the second book, Kushiel's Chosen, gives us Illyrian pirate Kazan Atrabiades, who often ends his sentences with a repetition of an earlier pronoun used. Granted, he's not speaking his native language when he does this.
    Kazan: I almost think you gave an order, you. It is a good thing I am a pirate, and do not heed such things, I.
  • Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn gives us Binabik, whose slightly unusual speech is partly defined by an excessive use of the present participle to the exclusion of the present tense. For example, he would say "is being" instead of simply "is".
  • Spook from the first Mistborn trilogy speaks really oddly in the first book, using a nigh-incomprehensible form of street slang. In one scene the whole crew gets in on it, much to Breeze's annoyance. Amusingly enough, by the time of Wax and Wayne, his guttural street slang is considered to be the Classical Tongue.
  • Mannie in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress speaks (and narrates the entire novel) without using articles or other "nulls" (what he considers meaningless words), as well as Russian and Australian slang. This is justified by both the fact that the Russian language lacks articles, and the People's Republic of China in this future now has an empire which includes both Australia and much of the Asian part of the Soviet Union, and has shipped a lot of 'undesirables' off to the moon. Mannie, being a native "Loonie", has ancestry from both on both sides, and has picked up shards of every language sent to Luna.
  • My Family and Other Animals: Spiro's sentences tend to be fairly well-arranged — well within the syntactical range of normal English — except for pluralisation applied entirely at random. Phrases like "I remembers when you were fineds two thousands drachmas for dynamitings fish" are par for the course.
  • In The Phantom Tollbooth, when the Humbug knocks over the stalls in the marketplace at Dictionpolis and the words spill out everywhere, the salesmen are unable to voice their complaints in correct word order.
  • In Phoenix Rising, there's an insectoid mook that speaks like this. For instance, telling a colleague he's complaining about something that's actually good fortune, it says, "Gladness I feel; wisdom for you, likewise should you feel." It's not clear whether this is a personal idiosyncrasy or something it shares with the rest of its race, as it's the only one of its race to get any lines.
  • Mr. Jingle in The Pickwick Papers - strangely incoherent speech - talks like a telegram - rum fellow - very. Broca's Aphasia?
  • Terry Pratchett:
    • Both Foul Ole Ron in the Discworld novels and Mrs Tachyon in Johnny and the Bomb speak in nonsense phrases, a favorite being "Millenium hand and shrimp". Whether their mutterings actually have a coherent underlying syntax is undetermined, though Gaspode (Ron's talking dog) clearly understands him. 'Millenium hand and shrimp' itself apparently came from a Chinese food menu and the lyrics to "Particle Man" in a random word selector.
    • In Sourcery, the captain of the ship that carries Rincewind and Conina to Al-Khali talks like a less-educated version of Yoda.
    • High Priest Dios, from Pyramids, never uses the past tense under any circumstance, leading to sentences like the below. It’s not that he has trouble with the language, he’s just tremendously fixated on tradition and precedent and hates acknowledging the passage of time.
    His name is Ptah-ka-ba. He is king when the Djel Empire extends from the Circle Sea to the Rim Ocean, when almost half the continent pays tribute to us.
  • Most aliens in Retief speak in odd ways.
    • The example of the Groaci. To begin all sentences with either abstract nouns or verbs in the infinitive.
  • Jeanne from Charles Baxter's Shadow Play invents her own language, with words like "corilineal", "zarklike", "descorbitant", "housarara". And it's just a small part of her Cloudcuckoolander madness.
  • In the very first regular Sherlock Holmes short story, "A Scandal in Bohemia", Holmes identifies the writer of a letter as German (which language has a somewhat fluid word order) by the sentence "This account of you we have from all quarters received." Holmes explains this deduction by saying that speakers of the other major European languages are, in general, not so "discourteous", in his words, to their verbs.
  • The Chur, from Katherine Kerr's Snare, typically speak at a frequency so low humans can't hear it, but can speak human languages if they strain. When doing so they use then-now-next strange grammar, including giving verbs a suffix indicating time ("they say-then", "we go-soon"), and presenting alternatives when asking a question or when uncertain ("We know-not if you lie not lie", "You understand not-understand?").
    • Interestingly, the last two examples are very similar to how a native Mandarin speaker would speak English, since that is almost exactly the way it is said in Mandarin ("we not know" rather than "we know-not").
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Jaqen H'ghar has an odd type of Third-Person Person in which he never uses "I", but instead will use "A Man". So like instead of saying "I'm called Jaqen H'ghar" he would say "A man calls himself Jaqen H'ghar". He even seems to do something similar when referring to other people: When addressing Arya Stark, the one character he has extensive dialogue with, he will say "a girl" instead of "you". This may be because he belongs to a faction whose members give up their personal identities, although it seems more like an individual Verbal Tic.
    • For what it's worth, none of the others in the sect use the same syntax, nor does Jaqen once he assumes another disguise. According to The World of Ice & Fire, this is actually a cultural speech pattern typical to the Free City of Lorath, where Jaqen claims to hail from.
    • It's also a bit similar to the manner of speaking in Slaver's Bay where Unsullied soldiers and other slaves, for example Missandei, refer to themselves in third person and with "this one" while they use the correct second and third person for anyone else.
    Missandei: "This one's name is Missandei, Your Grace."
    • Salladhor Saan is using the gerund form whenever the situation is calling for a verb, as well as being another Third-Person Person.
  • Star Carrier: A small example with the Agletsch, although this is more a feature of their translation devices. Specifically, their questions are statements with a "yes-no" added at the end. It's not much different from an English sentence ending in "isn't it?", although that implies that the Agletsch are unable to ask an open-ended question.
  • A peripheral alien character in the Star Trek: Titan series of books started out speaking in mangled syntax (which makes no sense; as a Starfleet officer, he would have a universal translator). He's since stopped doing that.
  • Star Wars Legends: In Shatterpoint, the natives of Mace Windu's homeworld Haruun Kal place the subject last — "Go now to the jungle, I" — when speaking Basic. When Mace, who previously visited the world as a teenager, uses what he remembers of the local language, the Translation Convention renders his words in the same order.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, inkspren tend to use simply "be"/"is" to indicate something's existence/presence (i.e. "This truth is" rather than "this is true" or "the grinders will soon be" rather than "the grinders will arrive soon").
  • In The Sword of Truth, Adie never declines the verb "be". It is a trait of her home language. Others from the same land were shown to speak in a similar manner, but occasionally use ordinary grammar.
  • The cockroaches from The Underland Chronicles tend to mix up verb and subject placement as well as using repetition of certain sentence elements, such as "Do it, I can, do it," or "be small Human, be?"
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Everyone raised in Illian uses "do be" instead of conjugating "is".
    • Taraboners often state everything as questions, yes?
  • In The Wolf Chronicles, ravens often speak in haiku.
  • The dolphins from Mermaid's Song all use subject-object-verb order.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In "Bargaining", the first episode of Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Buffybot's punning still isn't working properly. When she finally stakes the vamp, she exclaims, "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!" Perhaps it was stuck on dadaist humor.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Vengeance on Varos", Sil has a quirky translator which results in sentences such as, "Like this Governor we do not. Replace you must arrange most soon," and "Intolerable all of this Doctor being allowed to live!"
      Sil: You agents of Amorb are!
      Peri: I don't know what that is or even what he says.
      Governor: Sil's language transposer has an eccentric communication circuit. But, don't tell him, it's my only amusement.
    • In "Utopia", the alien Chantho begins every sentence with Chan, and ends it with Tho. Apparently, to not do this is rude, the equivalent of swearing in her language. (Compare Japanese use of keigo words such as desu or -masu.) This also means that she says her name as "Chan-Chantho-Tho".
  • River Tam from Firefly. It's uncertain whether she's speaking from some consistent internal syntax, or her dialogue is a result of her traumatic background. It generally sounds like she automatically says whatever pops into her head before her thoughts are finished. Simon says something to that effect in one episode.
  • Game of Thrones: Jaqen H'ghar refers to everyone―first, second, or third person―by indefinite phrases such as "a man" or "a girl", although sometimes he suffers from Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping such as when he says "And you pour water for one of them now. Why is this right for you and wrong for me?"
  • In House M.D., House once had a patient with a form of aphasia who replaced every word with a word somehow related to but separate from what he meant. The connections were fuzzy enough that they got him to correctly say yes and no, and finally figured out that when he said "bear" he meant "bipolar", as in "polar bear". This makes it a Curse of Babel plot.
  • Michael Harris in Newhart speaks in alliteration.
  • Our Miss Brooks:
    • Dumb Jock Stretch Snodgrass's grammar is atrocious. It's a toxic combination of current slang, malapropisms and double negatives.
      Miss Brooks: Stretch, it is incorrect to use a double negative in a sentence. You've just used four of them.
      Stretch Snodgrass: Oh! So what I said was alright then?
    • Stretch's brother Bones is the same way.
  • Stargate SG-1: Colonel Jack O'Neill does this the second time he has the Ancients' knowledge downloaded into his brain. Subverted in that he does it just to make fun of Daniel's lack of clarity when trying to explain what Jack has been doing.
    Daniel: Sphere. Planet. Label. Name.
    Jack: Following. You. Still. Not.
  • Star Trek:
  • In an episode of Titus, Christopher knows Erin is hiding something because, when she's lying, words not flow from her mouth good.
    Erin Fitzpatrick: Hey! Car drive not work me, everything think that solves you?
    Christopher Titus: (pause) Something from me hiding you are?
  • The 456 from Torchwood: Children of Earth seem to have shades of this in the beginning. They speak in a way that is intelligible but reinforces their creepiness. The civil servant who deals with them is suitably freaked.
    The 456: Speak.
    Frobisher: I am speaking!
    The 456: We would speak.
    The 456: Soon.
    Frobisher: I'm sorry?
    The 456: Return... soon.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985) episode "Wordplay" is based on this trope. A man has an unusual experience: The people around him are suddenly using words incorrectly, e.g., saying "dinosaur" when they mean "lunch". More and more words get replaced, until other people's speech becomes complete gibberish to him. He ends up having to re-learn the meaning of words out of a children's book.
  • In The Walking Dead the Scavengers speak a strange clipped version of English. No explanation has been given as to how they came to develop such an odd diction in only two or three years.

  • Eric Idle's Rutland Weekend Television had the host of a short chat show and his guest talking like this.
    Host: Ham sandwich bucket and water plastic duralegs rubber mac fisheries underwear?
  • Code Monkey by Jonathan Coulton is written in the clinical, stilted style of B.A.S.I.C. programming (10subject->task->goto->etc)

    Tabletop Games 
  • World Tree (RPG): Sleeth always speak in the present tense, even when discussing events firmly in the past or future, and use "the" instead of "a". Combined with their incredible bluntness, this makes for interesting speech patterns. "Hey, I have the message for you. Two days ago, your sister dies."

  • Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth by Tom Stoppard features a language consisting of the same words as English, but with different meanings (so that, for instance, "useless" means afternoon, and "afternoon" means something dreadfully insulting). Stoppard got the idea from an essay by Ludwig Wittgenstein, who pointed out that in such a circumstance, two people might interact without ever realising that they're speaking two different languages, and illustrated with a hypothetical conversation that gets reprised in the first act of the play.
  • In How I Became Stupid by Martin Page, the supporting character Aas can speak only in verse—this is stated to be the result of his being used to test an experimental babyfood containing high levels of phosphorous. It also made him nearly eight feet tall and causes him to glow faintly in the dark.
  • Dogberry's lines in Much Ado About Nothing are a strange mix of Malaproper and odd syntax.
  • In Ian Doescher's William Shakespeare's Star Wars series, Yoda speaks in haiku.

    Video Games 
  • The Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Expansion Pack Alien Crossfire gives us Progenitors, who toe the line between this and Aliens Speaking English due to Translation Convention. Alien-to-alien speech is rendered as normal, fluent language. However, alien-to-human communication is impossible until you research a tech which allows in-universe translation, which renders Progenitor speech with a syntax roughly equal to "Subject: Statement".
    Humans : there is no space inside rocket. Progenitor : space exists around all things with mass. Space : "here". Inside rocket : "there". Secret: bring here to there.
  • The Rikti in City of Heroes speak like this as well. They are a race of telepaths and it is only late in the game during certain missions that one gets the new Mark III translator and can not only suddenly speak English properly, but can now understand it just as well. He finds our childish vulgarities rather quaint.
  • Star Control's Daktaklakpak provide a similar challenge — their language is so mathematical and formulaic that initially the tech teams don't even think they're sentient. Once you obtain a translator their speech remains formulaic and stilted: "Statement: Daktaklakpak are superior to Humans. Interrogation: What are Humans doing in our space?"
  • The Orz from Star Control II have thought processes so alien that the best translators cannot fully process their language. Translations end up using a combination of best guesses and mixed metaphors for the unknown words.
    "They are *camping* in this *playground* and would definitely like to *play* with *friendlies!*"
    • More relevantly, their lines use very idiosyncratic grammar.
  • Knights of the Old Republic:
    • The player character can speak almost every alien language, so you get subtitles even for what the Jawas on Tatooine are saying. Nevertheless, even subtitled, their syntax is rather strange.
    • The HK-47 and the HK-50 models preface their sentences with a description. However, they are perfectly capable of modulating their speech synthesizers to add inflection when necessary for infiltration.
      HK-47: Annoyed statement: I would greatly prefer blasting them, master, but you are the master.
  • The G-Man from Half-Life places emphasis on unusual syllables and pauses for breath in all the wrong places, though his diction is perfect and his vowels are never mispronounced. All of this is used to suggest that he's some sort of Eldritch Abomination making a less-than-perfect imitation of humanity.
    • The Vortigaunts on the other hand, pronounce words fairly clearly but use strange word ordering and exhibit a few quirks such as placing "the" in front of someone's name. When speaking in their own language, both participants speak simultaneously, so they also step on the ends of each other's sentences in English every now and then.
    • The Nihilanth doesn't get many lines, but those he does get reveal a peculiarity: he starts in the middle of a line, says the full line, then repeats only the first half: "...the last. I am the last. I am.." " done? What have you done? What have..."
  • In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, the Kron speak in a strange, slightly garbled format, saying things like "Die you now!" You can ask them about it, at which point they'll maintain that they're speaking perfectly normal English and you're the ones saying it wrong.
  • Mass Effect:
    • A minor alien species, the elcor, exhibit a form of this. They all speak in a deep monotone, and preface their sentences with the tone it would be in, e.g. "genuine enthusiasm," followed by a sentence with no noticeable enthusiasm. They talk like that with non-elcor because they express emotion through pheromones, subsonics, and extremely subtle body language that most other species can't detect. It's apparently part of the ubiquitous Translator Microbes.
      Asari: Wait. Did you hack your translator so you could control your kinetic language processing?
      Elcor: With a sincerity such that skepticism would be deeply insulting: No.
    • Another example would by the hanar, who cannot speak as humans do at all; their translators/synthesizers render their bioluminescent language into spoken words. Furthermore, all their translated speech is exceedingly polite, avoids reference to personal pronouns like "I" and they will rarely use their names unless introducing themselves, preferring "it" or "this one", i.e. "This one hopes that we will converse again soon." They have two names, in fact; a Face Name (for public use) and a Soul Name (for family and very close friends). You can ask them about it and they will say that they consider it extremely rude and egotistical to use the first person with somebody they know only on a Face Name basis. Hanar who interact with other races have to take special classes so as to learn not to be offended. The hanar believe that they were taught language by the Protheans; in Mass Effect 3, your Prothean squadmate is not impressed.
      Javik: It's a pity we didn't teach them to speak better.
    • Though really combination of Terse Talker and Motor Mouth, Mordin Solus verges into this due to combination of elided speech and Techno Babble.
  • Lampshaded with the Dangling Participle in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow:
    Alexander: You speak strangely, friend.
    Dangling Participle: Strange my speech is not! Eloquence I speak with!
  • Thorn of Final Fantasy IX uses inverted sentences, like Yoda (and usually says the same thing Zorn says, except Zorn doesn't invert them.)
  • The Emps from Ultima VII; passive voice seems to be what is always used by them.
    "Your wish is to meet wisps? An idea how you can be helped by Trellek is had by me. Wisps are contacted by Trellek's whistling. A whistle for you can be made by him, perhaps. Talking with him again should be your next action."
    • Also, the gargoyles, who drop pronouns and only use infinitive-form verbs. At one point in U7, it is mentioned that they speak in "Gargish syntax" to preserve their cultural ties.
      "To be named Horffe. To be the Captain of the guard. To serve and protect the people of Serpent's Hold."
  • Nya! Of Super Mario RPG, both this and a regular Verbal Tic, Bowyer uses. Nya!
  • Similarly, Fawful of the Mario & Luigi series has this practically programmed into the speech center of his brain...
    • The Oho Jees speak with broken grammar and often say bizarre things both in and out of battle.
    "Ah! I am m-me! This is first time. ❤"
    "I no believe!"
  • Fnarf of The Bard's Tale had a tendency to speak with alliteration.
    The Bard: I've had just about enough of these atrocious alliterative announcements... Now I'm doing it!
  • The Chiss bartender Baldarek on Nar Shaddaa in Jedi Outcast has problems speaking Basic and constantly confuses singular and plural nouns.
    Baldarek: (Kyle Katarn holding a lightsaber to his face) Please! Noble Jedis! Not in the faces!
    • This is not typical of Chiss, though, as Thrawn has no problems speaking Basic at all. Then again, he is specifically mentioned to be good at languages (he speaks Basic fluently after studying for a few weeks), and is a genius in general.
  • The people of Xian (a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of China) in Golden Sun use some strange sentence structures (though not nearly as strange as some fanfic writers portray it), presumably to show that they normally speak a different language from the heroes. This is present even in the Japanese versions, as references to it are made in the 4koma Gag Battle doujinshi.
    • Curiously, Xian's successor-nations in Dark Dawn are filled with people who speak normally.
  • The Great Mizuti from the first Baten Kaitos speaks in the third person, insists on being called "the Great Mizuti," rarely conjugates "to be" (i.e. "the Great Mizuti be invincible!") and will occasionally string together two related words after the end of a sentence.
  • Gree droids from Star Wars: The Old Republic speak Basic, but with bizarre turns of phrase.
    Nam-aK: My black sphere evolves to a purple parallel because of you. When I impart this development, Pat-aK will progress enthusiasm with the Senator.
  • If the winquotes in Street Fighter X Tekken are any indication (since the crossover retains the characters' usual behaviors), this is Yoshimitsu's usual speech pattern.
  • Zer0 of Borderlands 2 has a weird habit of speaking in haikus. While he mostly uses it for combat taunts, even his idle dialog is in haiku form. In Tales from the Borderlands, he has a conversation with Moxxi where each sentence makes up a haiku.
    Zer0: My quest is not done.
    Moxxi: My reward for you is gonna be long, hard and powerful.
    Zer0: Gortys remains out of reach.
    Moxxi: It's a rocket launcher!
    Zer0: Yes. Innuendo.
  • In the English translations of the 5th generation Pokémon games, International Police Agent Looker speaks with weird syntax, suggesting that his native tongue is not the local language in Sinnoh or Unova; he averts this in Kalos, giving us a likely candidate for his native region. This is not present in the Japanese versions.
    • In Pokémon Gold and Silver and the remakes, there was a Team Rocket member who spoke this way and said that he would quit Team Rocket and return to his homeland and family. In Black and White (and the sequels), you find him in Unova with his family... and he still does the weird syntax. Apparently he's not actually Eloquent in My Native Tongue.
    • Gold and Silver also has Earl, teacher at the Pokemon School, who speaks in a manner similar to Yoda. For example, when you first meet him, he asks you "Hello! You are trainer? Battle Gym Leader, win you did?"
  • In Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, some of the demons you can talk to will speak this way.
  • Backwards sentences its all speaks Time About It's 2: Zombies Vs. Plants from Warp Thyme.
  • Spamton from Deltarune, the personification of junk mail and spam advertising, has [ONE WEIRD TRICK!!] in his dialogue where certain words are switched out for [LIMITED TIME ONLY], [NON-FUNGIBLE] advertising jargon and salesman lingo. Some of his sentences contain missing , too many [EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!] or, just like in real scam emails, grammatical and spelling errors in [Specil] places. The most intriguing aspect of his speech is [HYPERLINK BLOCKED], a phrase he’s seemingly censored from saying by an outside entity (common theories are that it means “soul”, “freedom” or “LOVE”, as in ‘Level of Violence' from Undertale. A full analysis of his dialog quirks can be found here.
  • All the jellyfish shopkeepers in Splatoon. Jelonzo in Inkopolis Plaza is this trope, speaking like a Translation Train Wreck of an old video game, while the others have their own quirks regarding the language due to not being native speakers. However, by the time of the Splatoon 3 Expansion Pass, he's improved his language, but he still calls clothes "body cloths":
    Splatoon 1 Jelonzo: You are having the freshest of levels! Jelonzo is selling you the body cloths of the dreams!
    Splatoon 3 Jelonzo: Whoa. You just keep getting fresher. Don't think I haven't noticed! I hope you find something you like.
  • The Fireflies of Spooky Swamp from Spyro: Year of the Dragon speak entirely in haiku. Moneybags even adopts this manner of speech when he asks for gems to open a bridge in the level.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has two.
    • Petra speaks in mangled English, because unlike everyone else in the game, she's not from Fodlan, but Brigid, a far-off nation, and she's still learning to speak the local tongue.
    • Flayn also speaks in an odd, very formal and precise diction and sometimes her speech comes off as very archaic and stilted. While her grammar is technically correct, it's still very off. This is one of the many hints that she's in fact a Really 700 Years Old saint.
  • Ulysses from Fallout: New Vegas speaks in an utterly bizarre manner; he mostly uses sentence fragments, emphasizing verbs and nouns, and habitually uses poetic, metaphorical word choices (such as referring to the NCR and Legion as "the Bear" and "the Bull", respectively). One gets the feeling that he is driven to cram as much meaning into every breath as he can; it's indicative of his endless quest to ascribe meaning to everything.
  • Control features an otherworldly, extradimensional being known as The Board whose "voice" is largely incomprehensible radio static, yet is nonetheless comprehensible if it's directly talking to you, represented through subtitles. However, some of the words they "speak" are of multiple choice, sometimes all being true/equal/satisfactory, sometimes being contradictory/nonsensical/horse. This gives the impression of a being operating on a much higher level of understanding than humans, but having trouble condensing its hyperreal concepts into plain English... which is exactly what The Board is.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the Night Hag Ravel Puzzlewell has a dialect that can only be summarized as "odd". Like Yoda, she tends to use an Object-Subject-Verb speech order, is a Third-Person Person, and she's prone to partially or wholly repeating sentences by substituting words with their textual homophones. She may also go off on something of a tangent or switch topics entirely based on a homophone that particularly catches her attention. Except when she chooses to speak in the proper speech order and/or use first person perspective dialogue, which she randomly does. It's left ambiguous if she always talked like this, or if maybe it's a side-effect of going more than little nuts over centuries in an extraplanar prison.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: Elves who left their homeland in the aftermath of the recent war speak of the past and future in the present tense, in contrast with elves who have had more time to acclimate to human lands, and, presumably, the Common Tongue.
  • In Puyo Puyo Fever 2, Gogotte, an elf-like humanoid with an obsession with mushrooms, speaks with each half of his sentences switched around, not unlike Yoda (e.g. "My special soup, this is").
  • In Club Penguin, Sensei speaks almost exclusively in haikus.

  • Ars and the other imps, a small dragonic species, from Gaia always speak in third-person, future tense.
  • Vodka from Every Button Hurts the Other Guy has a poor (and inconsistent) grasp of English syntax, but is exceptional in this despite his being from a comic with an international cast. Russel sometimes gets in on this too, which is especially odd considering he's one of the few native English speakers.
  • In The Order of the Stick,
    • Orcs (and half-orcs) seem to always refer to themselves in the third person, pay no heed to verbal conjugation, skip copulas and use lower-case everywhere until...:
      Mungu: mungu rather finish grammar lesson for today.
      Crong: yes, crong hope crong get to verbal conjugation before end of week.
      Gok: gok look forward to first-person pronouns.
      Mungu: capital letters intrigue mungu.
    • Oona the bugbear is talking with unusual syntax implying that her native tongue is having a different structure to Common. Is also a Third-Person Person.
  • In Outsider, the insectoid Umiak's speech is translated in a rambling manner with several redundancies, an artifact of the Umiak language's stack construct.
    Kikitik-27-Tikhak-Tikkukit: Abnormality it is communication with [The Enemy Forces] when the situation is shown to be abnormal by [The Storm-Witch] known to us that does not retreat when attacked which is abnormal and the existence of [The Object In Question] that cannot be obtained by direct action which is abnormal... We do not expect success of communication however there is nothing to be lost by communication when the time becomes irrevocable as it has...
  • Lacey from A Path to Greater Good. Later subverted when he no longer has to impress people and speaks normally instead.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the space station manager Mister Aliss speaks in a very odd dialect characterized by using a lot of unnecessary "-ings", poor understanding of metaphors, and painfully arranged grammar (example: "You suspect? What is of the suspectings?"). From that Tagon identifies him (wrongly) as a part of a class of diplomats raised underwater among the Celeschul native species who grew up speaking Galstandard Peroxide, the preferred language of aquatic sophonts.
    • The Oafa from the "Broken Wind" arc have their own dialect, although Tagon refers to it as a form of Peroxide accent early on. It features a number of odd terms that appear to derive from common English idioms translated via the mindset of flying jellyfish creatures ("perambulatory limb-stretchings" instead of "stretch their legs", for example, or "underfooted" instead of "crushed underfoot"), and uses somewhat odd plural forms for verbs ("And general, thank you for the most persuasive invitings of your famously victorious son to lead it") and time units ("fifty-two of centuries").
  • Starslip: after a conversation with Mr. Jinx about how laughably simple human languages are, a fellow Cirbozoid speaks with total disregard for word order.
  • Terror Island applies alliteration when flaunting flashbacks.
  • Dover Cheetah from The Suburban Jungle is such a huge nerd that he speaks entirely in BASIC programming language. Unless someone doesn't understand, then he switches to hypertext markup.

    Web Original 
  • Stars In Black, for Star Wars parody it is, a Yoda-like speaker must have.
  • In the Dwarf Fortress Let's Play Bravemule, this is the way all of the dwarves talk, in order to cement the impression that they are a totally different culture. It's combined with alien terminology, for example "elf" seems to stand for everything that is an enemy or related to such, "dreg" would be a pariah and "clod" a non-pariah dwarf.
    13th Obsidian 1054
    I am struck with fond recollections before the end. I remember the child I was and the arthavers I hailed in the mountainhome. It was engraved images from disciplined hands that endured on warm walls.

    14th Obsidian 1054
    Hollowed around the deep caverns to avoid cave elves. A trail of broken mudstone is behind and above. I do not know how deep the tunnel to the underworld must become or the name I will give for the tunnel.

    15th Obsidian 1054
    Oh that unscrupulous cat! It does not understand we will die.
    • However, when humans get a POV, they’re shown to speak in a different but equally strange way that incorporates Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
    Day 305 of Scouting
    I spat when Atrix shouted to march on the Dwarf menace, for vengeance of the caravan crushed, or be marched on, for vengeance of the Milker slain. I would not hearken to shouting, as she does not hath a soldier heart, nor is war yet our mission. I am not a coward before the Dwarf. It is not yet our mission.
  • In Starpocalypse, God is mocked for this.
    God: "I am who am!"
    Science Councilor: "Ha! More like "I am he who doesn't understand syntax"."
  • In one CollegeHumor video, everyone talks in Emojis.
    Emily: Little family, wedding ring, scissors. ["My parents are getting divorced."]
    Emily's friend: Smiling poop, sweat droplets. ["That's hard shit."]
    Dad: Adult woman face, pointy finger a-okay hand, offensive racial stereotype! So, little angel boy! ["Your mother was sleeping with Mr. Chan! It's not my fault!"]
  • In Neurotically Yours, the character Piltz-E the squirrel speaks in this manner.

    Western Animation 
  • Ed on Ed, Edd n Eddy was known for this.
    Eddy: Hey, where's Double D?
    Ed: Do not adjust your set! (runs after Edd)
    • In Ed's case, it's less that he uses a strange syntax and more that he's a Cloudcuckoolander and borderline idiot who has his brain rotted from too much TV.
    • Rolf, having immigrated from somewhere vaguely in Eastern Europe, typically has his speech peppered with a series of culturalisms that may or may not even make sense in his native land. Occasionally though, he speaks sentences that are grammatically correct but so awkwardly worded (usually with a complete lack of pronouns, or redundant words that would typically get skipped) that they make little sense to a casual listener, such as this instance where he saw Eddy plummeting at them in a suit of armor made from an old pot-bellied stove.
      Rolf: Rolf's eyes fool the brain of Rolf!
      Kevin: What are you talking about, dude?

      Rolf: "Rolf's eyes fool the brain of Rolf", must I spell it?
  • In an episode of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), the wizard Lazaar speaks similarly to Yoda, reversing nouns and verbs.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pickles", a supposed error in SpongeBob's Krabby Patty order causes him to become unable to do anything properly, including speaking.
    SpongeBob: Mr. Krabs, hello. Do you how do?
    Mr. Krabs: Why you talking funny, lad?
    SpongeBob: I anything can't do right since because pickles.
    Mr. Krabs: Nonsense. You'll be back making Krabby Patties like your old self in no time.
    SpongeBob: I think don't ready back to go to work, Mr. Krabs.
  • The Kraang in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) have a manner of speaking that defies any real explanation. Just have some examples:
    Kraang 1: Kraang, are those who are coming to this place coming to this place?
    Kraang 2: I lack that knowledge, Kraang. I will inquire of Kraang about that knowledge. (turns to other Kraangs) Do you have the knowledge if those coming to this place are near this place, Kraang?
    Snake: THEY'RE TURTLES!!! Call them Turtles! "Are the Turtles here?!"
    Kraang 3: There are lights of a vehicle which contain that what you wish us to call "The Turtles" coming to this place which you wish us to call "here".
  • As established in The Transformers: The Movie, Junkions on the television series speak in odd mishmashes of television quotes.
    Wreck-Gar: You are in danger of being cancelled or losing your time slot!
    Ultra Magnus: What'd he say?!
    Rodimus Prime: We're gonna get killed.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Young Kettle Corn, from Marks and Recreation often talks in haiku.
  • Briefly spoofed with the Nibblonians in Futurama.
    Ken: Does he not know?
    Nibbler: He does not know.
    Fiona: He knows not?
    Nibbler: Knows not does he.
    Nibblonian: Not he know—
    Ken: Enough!
  • The title character of Fangbone! (and the original Fangbone! Third Grade Barbarian books) has a tendency to do this due to the oddities in how Skullbanians talk compared to humans. The most prominent example of his unusual speech is how he tends to say "X's Y" as "Y of X" (for example, he calls Bill's mom "Mom of Bill").
  • Starfire of Teen Titans (2003) and Teen Titans Go! learned English through a superpowered kiss, and for whatever reason, her approach to the language is fluent, but quite idiosyncratic. She rarely uses contractions, has a tendency to misplace or misuse articles, and when combined with her loose grip on colloquialisms, she comes across not too dissimilar to an ESL speaker in the real world (plus, it results in gems like "We might journey to the mall of shopping" and "Let us kick the butt!").

    Real Life 
  • "Milwaukeese". In some parts of Wisconsin, people will speak English using German syntax. Examples:
    • "Tie the dog loose and let him run the alley down."
    • "Make out (or on) the light." note 
    • Throwing a random "once" into the sentence.
    • Using "by" in place of any "preposition of spatial relation".
    • "Come down by my house, where the streetcar bends the corner 'round, and whistle me out once so my Momma can see who I hang by."
  • Aphasia can work like this.
  • Second language speakers often retain the patterns of their native languages in the new language. For instance, Russian lacks article (the, a, an) so a Russian speaking English will often drop them ("President of United States negotiated treaty with Russia today" etc).
  • In heraldry, blazons use Old French grammar, which can be jarring for a novice heraldry enthusiast (especially English-speaking ones, but even ones who speak Modern French can get thrown for a loop).
  • Anyone who teaches themselves to speak another language from books or movies can end up using some archaic words and syntax if said books and movies are significantly old.

Give grace that the examples ended the trope's strange self-demonstrating direction...


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Yoda Speak



Forgetting the pickles causes SpongeBob to forget everything, even how he talks.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / StrangeSyntaxSpeaker

Media sources: