Quotes about Language

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We invent the world through language. The world occurs through language.

The problems of society will also be the problems of the predominant language of that society. It is the carrier of its perceptions, its attitudes, and its goals, for through it, the speakers absorb entrenched attitudes. The guilt of English then must be recognized and appreciated before its continued use can be advocated.
Poetry is all nouns and verbs.
There is in every child a painstaking teacher, so skilful that he obtains identical results in all children in all parts of the world. The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!
An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates.
Curiously enough, it seems to be only in describing a mode of language which does not mean what it says that one can actually say what one means.
Language, the machine of the poet, is best fitted for his purpose in its rudest state. Nations, like individuals, first perceive, and then abstract. They advance from particular images to general terms. Hence the vocabulary of an enlightened society is philosophical, that of a half-civilized people is poetical.
Any language is necessarily a finite system applied with different degrees of creativity to an infinite variety of situations, and most of the words and phrases we use are prefabricated in the sense that we don't coin new ones every time we speak.
Language is the inventory of human experience.
Language is a form of human reason, which has its internal logic of which man knows nothing.
Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.
To rescue from oblivion even a fragment of a language which men have used and which is in danger of being lost --that is to say, one of the elements, whether good or bad, which have shaped and complicated civilization --is to extend the scope of social observation and to serve civilization.
Grammar and logic free language from being at the mercy of the tone of voice. Grammar protects us against misunderstanding the sound of an uttered name; logic protects us against what we say have double meaning.
Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide --that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life --are alike forbidden.
The proverbial German phenomenon of the verb-at-the-end about which droll tales of absentminded professors who would begin a sentence, ramble on for an entire lecture, and then finish up by rattling off a string of verbs by which their audience, for whom the stack had long since lost its coherence, would be totally nonplussed, are told, is an excellent example of linguistic recursion.
Language is an archeological vehicle... the language we speak is a whole palimpsest of human effort and history.
The eyes have one language everywhere.
After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?
Public speaking is done in the public tongue, the national or tribal language; and the language of our tribe is the men's language. Of course women learn it. We're not dumb. If you can tell Margaret Thatcher from Ronald Reagan, or Indira Gandhi from General Somoza, by anything they say, tell me how. This is a man's world, so it talks a man's language.
Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
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.
I like to be beholden to the great metropolitan English speech, the sea which receives tributaries from every region under heaven.
The words of language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought. The physical entities which seem to serve as elements in thought are certain signs and more or less clear images.
There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. Otherwise, you know, why not just come out and say it?
Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it.
The individual's whole experience is built upon the plan of his language.
It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content... it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.
And who in time knows whither we may vent the treasure of our tongue, to what strange shores this gain of our best glories shall be sent, 't unknowing Nations with our stores? What worlds in the yet unformed Occident may come refined with the accents that are ours?
To a teacher of languages there comes a time when the world is but a place of many words and man appears a mere talking animal not much more wonderful than a parrot.
As the language of the face is universal, so 'tis very comprehensive; no laconism can reach it: 'Tis the short hand of the mind, and crowds a great deal in a little room
Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.
One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland --and no other.
Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.
If English is spoken in heaven. God undoubtedly employs Cranmer as his speechwriter. The angels of the lesser ministries probably use the language of the New English Bible and the Alternative Service Book for internal memos.
It is a mass language only in the same sense that its baseball slang is born of baseball players. That is, it is a language which is being molded by writers to do delicate things and yet be within the grasp of superficially educated people. It is not a natural growth, much as its proletarian writers would like to think so. But compared with it at its best, English has reached the Alexandrian stage of formalism and decay.
There is no such thing as an ugly language. Today I hear every language as if it were the only one, and when I hear of one that is dying, it overwhelms me as though it were the death of the earth.
Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one's mother's womb.
The English language is rather like a monster accordion, stretchable at the whim of the editor, compressible ad lib.
Because language is the carrier of ideas, it is easy to believe that it should be very little else than such a carrier.
No language is rude that can boast polite writers.

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