Words and Languages

Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.
Maya Angelou

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), writer

It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial repositories, put together well after the languages they define. The roots of language are irrational and of a magical nature.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), writer

From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Sir Winston Churchill

To know another language is to have a second soul.
Charlemagne (742-814), King of the Franks

Words are but pictures of our thoughts.
John Dryden (1631-1700), poet/critic

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

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

Words are the soul's ambassadors, who go
Abroad upon her errands to and fro.

James Howell (1594-1666), writer

Words form the thread on which we string our experiences.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), writer

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

A language is never in a state of fixation, but is always changing; we are not looking at a lantern-slide but at a moving picture.
Andrew Lloyd James, linguist

Words have power. Words have altered the course of history and changed forever the destiny of individuals who spoke out.
Terrence J. McCann, Executive Director, Toastmasters International

A living language is like a man suffering incessantly from small hemorrhages, and what it needs above all else is constant transactions of new blood from other tongues. The day the gates go up, that day it begins to die.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), writer/editor/critic

Foreign language proficiency is crucial to the economic competitiveness and national security of the United States. Significant improvement in the quantity and quality of foreign language instruction offered in United States elementary and secondary schools is necessary... All Americans need a global perspective. To understand the world around us, we must acquaint ourselves with the languages, cultures, and history of other languages.
Homeland Security Education Act (S. 1799)

Time changes all things; there is no reason why language should escape this universal law.
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), linguist

Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

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

Sheet music is like a language, the acquisition's the same. If you're not fluent by the time you're eight, it will always be a foreign language...
piano teacher, "Everwood"

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.

English is German spoken with a French accent and a vocabulary from all over the world.


A word is a microcosm of human consciousness.
Lev Vygostky, Thought and Language

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
Ludwig Wittenstein (1889-1951), philosopher

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

Modern English is the Wal-Mart of languages: convenient, huge, hard to avoid, superficially friendly, and devouring all rivals in its eagerness to expand.
Mark Abley (1955- ), journalist

The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language, and no single language is capable of expressing all forms and degrees of human comprehension.
Ezra Pound (1885-1972), poet

Words are enormously important to me. I love to read and I love language, the sheer pleasure of words in the right order. Choosing one word over another is an important act.
Leadership, Rudolph Giuliani (page 195)

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his coat pocket.
Charles Peguy (1873-1914), poet/essayist

I am a writer. I am fascinated by language in daily life. I spend a great deal of my time thinking about the power of language - the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth. Language is the tool of my trade.
Amy Tan

A language is a dialect that has an army and a navy.
[language is a political distinction]
Max Weinreich (1894-1969), linguist/author