Quotes About Language

Quotes tagged as "language" (showing 121-150 of 1,123)
Karl Lagerfeld
“Fashion is a language that creates itself in clothes to interpret reality.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Henry Hazlitt
“A man with a scant vocabulary will almost certainly be a weak thinker. The richer and more copious one's vocabulary and the greater one's awareness of fine distinctions and subtle nuances of meaning, the more fertile and precise is likely to be one's thinking. Knowledge of things and knowledge of the words for them grow together. If you do not know the words, you can hardly know the thing.”
Henry Hazlitt, Thinking as a Science

J.M. Coetzee
“His own opinion, which he does not air, is that the origin of speech lie in song, and the origins of song in the need to fill out with sound the overlarge and rather empty human soul.”
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

Juan de la Cruz
“They can be like the sun, words.
They can do for the heart what light can for a field.”
Juan de la Cruz, The Poems of St. John of the Cross

Virginia Woolf
“I begin to long for some little language such as lovers use, broken words, inarticulate words, like the shuffling of feet on pavement.”
Virginia Woolf, The Waves

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Nobody believes me when I say that my long book is an attempt to create a world in which a form of language agreeable to my personal aesthetic might seem real. But it is true.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

“The fact that I
am writing to you
in English
already falsifies what I
wanted to tell you.
My subject:
how to explain to you that I
don't belong to English
though I belong nowhere else”
Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Bilingual Blues

Julio Cortázar
“Wordplay hides a key to reality that the dictionary tries in vain to lock inside every free word.”
Julio Cortázar, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

Amy Tan
“And then it occurs to me. They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant, just as unmindful of all the truths and hopes they have brought to America. They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese, who think they are stupid when they explain things in fractured English. They see that joy and luck do not mean the same to their daughters, that to these closed American-born minds "joy luck" is not a word, it does not exist. They see daughters who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation.”
Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

Gustave Flaubert
“What wretched poverty of language! To compare stars to diamonds!”
Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

John Flanagan
“S'mimasen," Alyss said repeatedly as they brushed against passerby.
"What does that mean?" Will asked as they reached a stretch of street bare of any other pedestrians. He was impressed by Alyss's grasp of the local language.
"It means 'pardon me,'" Alyss replied, but then a shadow of doubt crossed her face. "At least, I hope it does. Maybe I'm saying 'you have the manners of a fat, rancid sow.”
John Flanagan, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja

Jeffrey Eugenides
“Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words.
I don't believe in "sadness", "joy", or "regret".
Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that is oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

George Sand
“Nothing is so easy as to deceive one’s self when one does not lack wit and is familiar with all the niceties of language. Language is a prostitute queen who descends and rises to all roles. Disguises herself, arrays herself in fine apparel, hides her head and effaces herself; an advocate who has an answer for everything, who has always foreseen everything, and who assumes a thousand forms in order to be right. The most honorable of men is he who thinks best and acts best, but the most powerful is he who is best able to talk and write”
George Sand, Indiana

Stephen Fry
“There are all kinds of pedants around with more time to read and imitate Lynne Truss and John Humphrys than to write poems, love-letters, novels and stories it seems. They whip out their Sharpies and take away and add apostrophes from public signs, shake their heads at prepositions which end sentences and mutter at split infinitives and misspellings, but do they bubble and froth and slobber and cream with joy at language? Do they ever let the tripping of the tips of their tongues against the tops of their teeth transport them to giddy euphoric bliss? Do they ever yoke impossible words together for the sound-sex of it? Do they use language to seduce, charm, excite, please, affirm and tickle those they talk to? Do they? I doubt it. They’re too farting busy sneering at a greengrocer’s less than perfect use of the apostrophe. Well sod them to Hades. They think they’re guardians of language. They’re no more guardians of language than the Kennel Club is the guardian of dogkind.”
Stephen Fry

Adam Gopnik
“We breathe in our first language, and swim in our second.”
Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon

Alfred de Musset
“Romanticism is the abuse of adjectives”
Alfred de Musset

Oscar Wilde
“It is a sad truth, but we have lost the faculty of giving lovely names to things. ”
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Jeanette Winterson
“Language is a finding-place not a hiding place.”
Jeanette Winterson

Tim O'Brien
“Words, too, have genuine substance -- mass and weight and specific gravity.”
Tim O'Brien, Tomcat In Love

Jeanette Winterson
“I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed - that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn't lost.”
Jeanette Winterson, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Jasper Fforde
“Individual words, sounds, squiggles on paper with no meanings other than those with which our imagination can clothe them.”
Jasper Fforde, The Eyre Affair

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

Lev S. Vygotsky
“A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow.”
Lev S. Vygotsky, Thought and Language

Ursula K. Le Guin
“If one believes that words are acts, as I do, then one must hold writers responsible for what their words do.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places

Jarod Kintz
“I speak the language of love. That’s right, I speak Russian.”
Jarod Kintz, This Book Has No Title

Seamus Heaney
“Sink every impulse like a bolt. Secure
The bastion of sensation. Do not waver
Into language. Do not waver in it.”
Seamus Heaney

Lewis Carroll
“Alice thought to herself, 'Then there's no use in speaking.' The voices didn't join in this time, as she hadn't spoken, but to her great surprise, they all thought in chorus (I hope you understand what thinking in chorus means--for I must confess that I don't), 'Better say nothing at all. Language is worth a thousand pounds a word!”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Dan Simmons
“Words bend our thinking to infinite paths of self-delusion, and the fact that we spend most of our mental lives in brain mansions built of words means that we lack the objectivity necessary to see the terrible distortion of reality which language brings.”
Dan Simmons, Hyperion

John Dewey
“Every one has experienced how learning an appropriate name for what was dim and vague cleared up and crystallized the whole matter. Some meaning seems distinct almost within reach, but is elusive; it refuses to condense into definite form; the attaching of a word somehow (just how, it is almost impossible to say) puts limits around the meaning, draws it out from the void, makes it stand out as an entity on its own account.”
John Dewey, How We Think

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