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The Best Quotes About Language

Updated June 14, 2019 1.7k votes 478 voters 30.6k views88 items

List RulesMust be a famous or well-known quote. Vote for the Language sayings that strongly resonate with you, and downvote any you didn't like.

A list of the best language quotes and sayings, including the names of each speaker or author when available. This list is sorted by popularity, so only the most famous language quotes are at the top. The authors of these historic language quotes are displayed next to each quote, so if you see one you like be sure to check out other inspirational language quotes from that same writer.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best quotes about language?" and "What are inspirational language quotes?"

This list includes notable language quotes by various authors, writers, playwrights, speakers, politicians, athletes, poets, and more. Vote on your favorites so that the greatest language quotes rise to the top, as the order of the list changes dynamically based on votes. Don't let your favorite language sayings get to the bottom of the list.
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  • 1
    87
    24

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

    Mal Pancoast
  • 2
    50
    15

    Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

    William Butler Yeats
  • 3
    39
    13

    Language is the archives of history.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 4
    33
    12
  • 5
    44
    25

    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.

    Noam Chomsky
  • 6
    20
    0

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

    Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • 7
    25
    7

    Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

  • 8
    54
    41

    Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests.

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • 9
    23
    7

    The living language is like a cowpath: it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. A cow is under no obligation to stay

    E. B. White
  • 10
    19
    7

    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
  • 11
    15
    2

    Language most shows a man, speak that I may see thee.

    Ben Jonson
  • 12
    24
    13

    One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland --and no other.

    Emil Cioran
  • 13
    14
    2

    If everything is perfect, language is useless. This is true for animals. If animals don't speak, it's because everything's perfect for them. If one day they start to speak, it will be because the world has lost a certain sort of perfection.

    Jean Baudrillard
  • 14
    13
    2

    No literature is complete until the language it was written in is dead.

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • 15
    25
    19

    How many languages are there in the world? How about 5 billion! Each of us talks, listens, and thinks in his/her own special language that has been shaped by our culture, experiences, profession, personality, mores and attitudes. The chances of us meeting someone else who talks the exact same language is pretty remote.

  • 16
    14
    8

    Language is the pedigree of nations.

    Samuel Johnson
  • 17
    27
    25

    To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.

    George Orwell
  • 18
    12
    6

    The word of man is the most durable of all material.

    Arthur Schopenhauer
  • 19
    72
    90

    Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 20
    10
    6

    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.

    Victor Hugo
  • 21
    16
    14

    Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.

    Karl Kraus
  • 22
    16
    15

    A special kind of beauty exists which is born in language, of language, and for language.

    Gaston Bachelard
  • 23
    8
    3

    The significance of language for the evolution of culture lies in this, that mankind set up in language a separate world beside the other world, a place it took to be so firmly set that, standing upon it, it could lift the rest of the world off its hinges and make itself master of it. To the extent that man has for long ages believed in the concepts and names of things as in aeternae veritates he has appropriated to himself that pride by which he raised himself above the animal: he really thought that in language he possessed knowledge of the world.

    Friedrich Nietzsche
  • 24
    9
    5

    Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.

    Lily Tomlin
  • 25
    18
    19

    There is no such thing as the Queen's English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares!

    Mark Twain