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Language Quotes

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

Author: Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

Profession: Austrian Philosopher

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.

Author: Salman Rushdie (1948)

Profession: Indian-born British Author

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.

Author: Raymond Chandler (1888-1959)

Profession: American Author

It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.

Author: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

Profession: British Novelist, Poet

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.

Author: Rene Daumal (1908-1944)

Profession: French Poet, Critic

It was Greek to me.

Author: William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Profession: British Poet, Playwright, Actor

Language can only deal meaningfully with a special, restricted segment of reality. The rest, and it is presumably the much larger part, is silence.

Author: George Steiner (1929)

Profession: French-born American Critic, Novelist

Language furnishes the best proof that a law accepted by a community is a thing that is tolerated and not a rule to which all freely consent.

Author: Ferdinand De Saussure (1857-1913)

Profession: Swiss Linguist

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

Author: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Profession: American Poet, Essayist

Language is a form of human reason, which has its internal logic of which man knows nothing.

Author: Claude Levi-Strauss (1908)

Profession: French Anthropologist

Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it.

Author: Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)

Profession: Austrian Philosopher

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.

Author: Noam Chomsky (1928)

Profession: American Linguist, Political Activist

Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.

Author: Roland Barthes (1915-1980)

Profession: French Semiologist

Language is a virus from outer space.

Author: William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

Profession: American Writer

Language is an archeological vehicle... the language we speak is a whole palimpsest of human effort and history.

Author: Russell Hoban (1925)

Profession: American Author