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Published Friday, June 10, 2016 @ 5:59 AM EDT
Jun 10 2016

A different language is a different vision of life.
-Frederico Fellini

A mind, lean in its own language. In others, it gets fat.
-Elias Cannetti

All words, in every language, are metaphors.
-Marshall McLuhan

As advertising blather becomes the nation's normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.
-George F. Will

As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.
-Gore Vidal

Bad language is a stage all children go through, and it dies with time when they learn they're not attracting attention with it, hotheadedness isn't.
-Harper Lee

Because language is the carrier of ideas, it is easy to believe that it should be very little else than such a carrier.
-Louise Bogan

But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.
-Abraham Maslow

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.
-George Orwell

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
-George Carlin

By stretching language we'll distort it sufficiently to wrap ourselves in it and hide.
-Jean Genet

Clarity in language depends on clarity in thought.
-Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Conscience is a small inner voice that doesn't speak your language.
-Variously attributed

Do not disturb signs should be written in the language of the hotel maid.
-Tim Bedore

Don't worry about what your mother thinks of your language.
-Elmore Leonard

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

English becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.
-George Orwell

For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody.
-Aldous Huxley

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
-T.S. Eliot

French is the language that turns dirt into romance.
-Stephen King

Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.
-Ezra Pound

Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.
-Ezra Pound

I am interested in language because it wounds or seduces me.
-Roland Barthes

I ascribe a basic importance to the phenomenon of language. To speak means to be in a position to use a certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization.
-Frantz Fanon

I dream of a language whose words, like fists, would fracture jaws.
-Emile Cioran

I had a linguistics professor who said that it's man's ability to use language that makes him the dominant species on the planet. That may be, but I think there's one other thing that separates us from animals. We aren't afraid of vacuum cleaners.
-Jeff Stilson

I hate political correctness because it's founded on the idea that by means of language you can escape truth- that if you simply give a different name to something you've somehow changed it. It is a very childlike idea.
-P.J. O'Rourke

I have one language. Ignorant as it is, it is the universal language within the sphere in which I operate. Its simplicity gains pardon for my lack of letters and education.
-Huey P. Long

I know ours is a world made by men for men, their dictatorship is so ancient it even extends to language.
-Oriana Fallaci

I think perhaps the most important problem is that we are trying to understand the fundamental workings of the universe via a language devised for telling one another where the best fruit is.
-Terry Pratchett

I want a language that speaks the truth.
-Studs Terkel

I'm so far gone that I'm telling the truth. It sounds like a foreign language.
-Richard Peck

Ideas do not exist separately from language.
-Karl Marx

If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
-Doug Larson

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.
-Doug Larson

If we like to assume the rise of language as a given fact, then it is not going too far to say that the souls of men are the gift from language to mankind. The account of the sixth day should be written: He gave them speech, and they became souls.
-Alfred North Whitehead

In my family, in the days prior to television, we liked to while away the evenings by making ourselves miserable, solely based on our ability to speak the language viciously.
-David Mamet

It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.
-Thomas Hardy

It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'as pretty as an airport' appear.
-Douglas Adams

It's amazing how, age after age, in country after country, and in all languages, Shakespeare emerges as incomparable.
-M.H. Abrams

It's my belief we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.
-Jane Wagner

It's not the verbing that weirds the language, it's the renounification.
-Marc LeBlanc

Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.
-Toni Morrison

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

Language fits over experience like a straitjacket.
-William Golding

Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
-Paul Tillich

Language is a form of organized stutter.
-Marshall McLuhan

Language is a virus from outer space.
-William S. Burroughs

Language is froth on the surface of thought.
-John McCarthy

Language is the dress of thoughts.
-Samuel Johnson

Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye.
-William Gibson

Language seems to me intrinsically comic- noises of the tongue, lips, larynx, and palate rendered in ink on paper with the deepest and airiest thoughts in mind and the harshest and tenderest feelings at heart.
-Roy Blount, Jr.

Language, n. The music with which we charm the serpents guarding another's treasure.
-Ambrose Bierce

Life is a foreign language: all men mispronounce it.
-Christopher Morley

Light and matter are both single entities, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language.
-Werner Heisenberg

Loose language suggests loose thought.
-Theodore Dalrymple

Man has sold his soul for time, language, tools, weapons, and dominance.
-William S. Burroughs

Man's ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate.
-Paul Tillich

Mastery of language affords one remarkable opportunities.
-Alexandre Dumas

Mastery of language affords remarkable power.
-Frantz Fanon

Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Never use the word, 'very.' It is the weakest word in the English language; doesn't mean anything. If you feel the urge of 'very' coming on, just write the word, 'damn,' in the place of 'very.' The editor will strike out the word, 'damn,' and you will have a good sentence.
-William Allen White

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

Not only does the English Language borrow words from other languages, it sometimes chases them down dark alleys, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets.
-Eddy Peters

Numbers constitute the only universal language.
-Nathanael West

Of course, contrary to what other kids said, we did know the difference between fantasy and reality. But we also knew the most precious gift secret of all: that reality matters not if you cannot dream; and that all dreams are rooted in truth and speak the language of truth as they unfold in all their splendor.
-Anne Rice

One can prove or refute anything at all with words. Soon people will perfect language technology to such an extent that they'll be proving with mathematical precision that twice two is seven.
-Anton Chekhov

Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.
-Paul Tillich

Ours is the age of substitutes: Instead of language we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; and instead of genuine ideas, bright suggestions.
-Eric Bentley

Own only what you can carry with you: know language, know countries, know people, let your memory be your travel bag.
-Aleksandr Solzhnitsyn

Parrots never learn a language, but are smart enough to know, like people involved in marketing, that one or two catch phrases will satisfy most.
-Don Watson

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of our language.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

Political language- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
-George Orwell

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.
-Carl Sandburg

That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them.
-Dorothy Parker

The appeal of political correctness is that it attempts to change men's souls by altering how they speak. If one sufficiently reforms language, certain thoughts become unthinkable, and the world moves in the approved direction.
-Theodore Dalrymple

The business of obscuring language is a mask behind which stands the much bigger business of plunder.
-Frantz Fanon

The common faults of American language are an ambition of effect, a want of simplicity, and a turgid abuse of terms.
-James Fenimore Cooper

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.
-George Orwell

The grossest thing in our gross national product today is our language. It is suffering from inflation.
-James Reston

The language denotes the man. A coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.
-Christian Bovee

The language of science- and especially of a science of man- is, necessarily, anti-individualistic, and hence a threat to human freedom and dignity.
-Thomas Szasz

The language of the law must not be foreign to the ears of those who are to obey it.
-Learned Hand

The learned Fool writes his Nonsense in better Language than the unlearned, but still 'tis Nonsense.
-Benjamin Franklin

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
-Ludwig Wittgenstein

The mentality of mankind and the language of mankind created each other.
-Alfred North Whitehead

The only thing in life is language. Not love. Not anything else.
-Richard Burton

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
-James Nicoll

The three greatest words in the English language are not: I love you. That's second. The first are: Leave me alone.
-Larry King

The three most beautiful words in the English language are not 'I love you.' They are, 'It is benign.'
-Woody Allen

The two most beautiful words in the English language are 'check enclosed.'
-Dorothy Parker

The two universal languages on earth are music and silence. They are also the two primary languages of heaven.
-Peter Kreeft

The use of language is all we have to pit against death and silence.
-Joyce Carol Oates

There is in a word, in a verb, something sacred which forbids us from using it recklessly. To handle a language cunningly is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.
-Charles Baudelaire

Too many women in too many countries speak the same language- of silence.
-Hillary Rodham Clinton

True creativity often starts where language ends.
-Arthur Koestler

Verbing weirds language. (From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)
-Bill Watterson

We are linked by blood, and blood is memory without language.
-Joyce Carol Oates

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.
-Toni Morrison

We need a president who's fluent in at least one language.
-Buck Henry

When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry.
-Niels Bohr

When money gets too far away from actual, physical, real equity and property it gets too abstract and too distantly derived and then suddenly it's not worth anything anymore. And the same is true of language.
-Roy Blount, Jr.

When speech is divorced from speaker and word from meaning, what is left is just ritual, language as ritual.
-Ellen Goodman

When the English language gets in my way, I walk over it.
-Billy Sunday

Writing is just a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to make it come out right.
-John Berryman

Categories: Language, Quotes on a topic


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