Selected Quotes about Language

We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them. -- Abigail Adams

Words are the physicians of the mind diseased. -- Aeschylus

Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words. -- Aprocrypha

High thoughts must have high language. -- Aristophanes

Science and technology multiply around us. To an increasing extent they dictate the languages in which we speak and think. Either we use those languages, or we remain mute. -- J. G. Ballard

Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence. -- Jean Baudrillard

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing. -- Robert Benchley

For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. -- Ingrid Bengis

Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides. -- Rita Mae Brown

Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides. -- Rita Mae Brown

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all. -- Sir Winston Churchill

Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I've always said that I learned the English I know through two sources -- Marvel Comics and Finnegans Wake. -- Umberto Eco

Grasp the subject, the words will follow. -- Cato the Elder

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Deeds, not words shall speak me. -- John Fletcher

When ideas fail, words come in very handy. -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This is a confusing and uncertain period, when a thousand wise words can go completely unnoticed, and one thoughtless word can provoke an utterly nonsensical furor. -- Vaclav Havel

Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tradition into which he has been born - the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people's experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. -- Aldous Huxley

Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. -- Samuel Johnson

It's a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water. -- Franklin P. Jones

Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one. -- Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking. -- John Maynard Keynes

He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met. -- Abraham Lincoln

Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs. -- Jack Lynch

A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things. -- Herman Melville

Just as in habiliments it is a sign of weakness to wish to make oneself noticeable by some peculiar and unaccustomed fashion, so, in language, the quest for new-fangled phrases and little-known words comes from a puerile and pedantic ambition. -- Michel de Montaigne

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. -- George Orwell

We learn what we have said from those who listen to our speaking. -- Kenneth Patton

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood. -- William Penn

Words have a longer life than deeds. -- Pindar

Use soft words and hard arguments. -- English Proverb

Language becomes a prison house only poets can escape...if we do not reject any strict distinctions between ordinary usage and figures of speech. -- Arthur Quinn

Style, is like a frog: you can dissect the thing, but it somehow dies in the process. -- Arthur Quinn

No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut. -- Sam Rayburn

If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you've got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you're dumb and blind. -- Salman Rushdie

Language is the source of misunderstandings. -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

According to the United Nations' latest count, of the approximately 3,000 languages spoken in the world today, only some 78 have a literature. Of those 78, a scant five or six enjoy a truly international audience. -- Barry Sanders

I understand a fury in your words,But not the words. -- William Shakespeare

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:Words without thoughts never to heaven go. -- William Shakespeare

They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps. -- William Shakespeare

England and America are two countries divided by a common language. -- George Bernard Shaw

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence. -- George Steiner

The quality of our thoughts is bordered on all sides by our facility with language. -- J. Michael Straczynski

The great thing about human language is that it prevents us from sticking to the matter at hand. -- Lewis Thomas

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. -- Lily Tomlin

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain. -- Lily Tomlin

I personally think we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. -- Jane Wagner

Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. -- Noah Webster

An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Sweedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences. -- Edith Wharton

English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education -- sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. -- E. B. White

We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language. -- Oscar Wilde

If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. -- Ludwig Wittgenstein

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. -- William Butler Yeats

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