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I've heard that you can invert the sentence structure, as shown in the following examples, in order to emphasize an adverb, prepositional phrase et.c.

-- Wie ist er?
-- Wunderschön ist er.

-- Wohin geht ihr?
-- Ins Kino gehen wir.

-- Was hast du gemacht?
-- Gejoggt bin ich.

To me, a non-native speaker, it sounds weird. Can you say or write like this seriously, without people believing that you are imitating Yoda?

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7  
If you want to sound like Yoda (this is how the translated the movie), you say: Wunderschön er ist. (or: Immer zwei es sind!) –  Phira Jun 8 '11 at 9:50
1  
These sentences are examples of syntactic focus. German happens to use syntactic focus more often than English, where speakers employ more prosodic focus. English can use syntactic focus ("John I saw, but I didn't see anyone else"), but it is more restricted than German. –  Kosmonaut Jun 8 '11 at 19:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As thei in his comment has already pointed out, the German Yoda-style talking is achieved by putting the predicate into a wrong position (at the end of the sentence).

As long as you keep the predicate in the right place, you can move around most of the other parts as you wish. It does change the emphasis (that's why it might sound strange), but it isn't wrong.

In poetry, however, the "yoda style" (which is called hyperbaton, according to RegDwight) is used quite frequently:

Die Jahre wie die Wolken gehn

Und lassen mich hier einsam stehn

(instead of "Die Jahre gehn wie die Wolken...")

It doesn't sound too elegant even there, though. More like forcing it into the meter. ;)

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You must unlearn what you have learned ...and use the Force. ;)

Vergessen du musst was früher du gelernt.

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1  
This is not correct German. 'Vergessen musst du, was du früher gelernt.' –  Christian Graf Jan 10 at 16:49
    
Abseits der Tatsache, dass Du die korrespondierende Episode von Star Wars augenscheinlich nie gesehen hast, ist Dein Konstrukt ebenso falsches Deutsch. :D –  Lars Beck Jan 10 at 16:54

All these examples are absolutely correct, but they convey to me a situation where you have asked several times (misheard or unbelieving) and the answers are:

Ins KINO gehen wir! (Hörst du schlecht?)

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