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Language Quotes

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.

Author: Thomas B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

Profession: American Essayist and Historian

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.

Author: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

Profession: American Author, Wit, Poet

Male supremacy is fused into the language, so that every sentence both heralds and affirms it.

Author: Andrea Dworkin (1946)

Profession: American Feminist Critic

Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man.

Author: Martin Heidegger (1889-1976)

Profession: German Philosopher

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.

Author: Lily Tomlin (1939)

Profession: American Comedienne

Man, even man debased by the neocapitalism and pseudosocialism of our time, is a marvelous being because he sometimes speaks. Language is the mark, the sign, not of his fall but of his original innocence. Through the Word we may regain the lost kingdom and recover powers we possessed in the far-distant past.

Author: Octavio Paz (1914)

Profession: Mexican Poet, Essayist

Methinks the human method of expression by sound of tongue is very elementary, and ought to be substituted for some ingenious invention which should be able to give vent to at least six coherent sentences at once.

Author: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Profession: British Novelist, Essayist

Might, could, would --they are contemptible auxiliaries.

Author: George Eliot (1819-1880)

Profession: British Novelist

My God! The English language is a form of communication! Conversation isn't just crossfire where you shoot and get shot at! Where you've got to duck for your life and aim to kill! Words aren't only bombs and bullets -- no, they're little gifts, containing meanings!

Author: Philip Roth (1933)

Profession: American Novelist

Never resist a sentence you like, in which language takes its own pleasure and in which, after having abused it for so long, you are stupefied by its innocence.

Author: Jean Baudrillard

Profession: French Postmodern Philosopher, Writer

No language is rude that can boast polite writers.

Author: Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)

Profession: British Illustrator, Writer

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

Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892)

Profession: American Poet

Numbers constitute the only universal language.

Author: Nathanael West

Profession:

One can say of language that it is potentially the only human home, the only dwelling place that cannot be hostile to man.

Author: John Berger (1926)

Profession: British Actor, Critic

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

Author: E. M. Cioran (1911)

Profession: Rumanian-born French Philosopher