Quotes Categories

Language Quotes

A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas.

Author: Ferdinand De Saussure (1857-1913)

Profession: Swiss Linguist

A mind enclosed in language is in prison.

Author: Simone Weil (1910-1943)

Profession: French Philosopher, Mystic

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

Author: Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962)

Profession: French Scientist, Philosopher, Literary Theorist

After all, when you come right down to it, how many people speak the same language even when they speak the same language?

Author: Russell Hoban (1925)

Profession: American Author

All official institutions of language are repeating machines: school, sports, advertising, popular songs, news, all continually repeat the same structure, the same meaning, often the same words: the stereotype is a political fact, the major figure of ideology.

Author: Roland Barthes (1915-1980)

Profession: French Semiologist

All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar's teeth.

Author: Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

Profession: French Theater Producer, Actor, Theorist

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.

Author: Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

Profession: German Author, Critic

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?

Author: Samuel Daniel


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.

Author: David Lodge (1935)

Profession: British Author

As advertising blather becomes the nation's normal idiom, language becomes printed noise.

Author: George F. Will (1941-)

Profession: American Political Columnist

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

Author: Gore Vidal (1925)

Profession: American Novelist, Critic

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

Author: Jeremy Collier (1650-1726)

Profession: British Clergyman, Conjuror

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

Author: Louise Bogan (1897-1970)

Profession: American Poet, Critic

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.

Author: Paul De Man (1919-1983)

Profession: Belgian-born American Literary Critic

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

Author: Robert Benchley (1889-1945)

Profession: American Humorist, Critic, Parodist