Last modified on 14 November 2014, at 19:19


Language is the term commonly used for any distinctive means of communication. There are several types of language, including , written language, and oral/aural language (spoken). The study of language is commonly called Linguistics.


  • The language denotes the man. A coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.
  • We think only through the medium of words.—Languages are true analytical methods.—Algebra, which is adapted to its purpose in every species of expression, in the most simple, most exact, and best manner possible, is at the same time a language and an analytical method.—The art of reasoning is nothing more than a language well arranged.
  • The only thing in life is language. Not love. Not anything else.
  • The common faults of American language are an ambition of effect, a want of simplicity, and a turgid abuse of terms.
  • Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.
  • Not only the entire ability to think rests on language... but language is also the crux of the misunderstanding of reason with itself.
  • Language is the picture and counterpart of thought.
    • Mark Hopkins, Address, Dedication of Williston Seminary, Dec. 1, 1841.
  • Language is the dress of thought.
    • Samuel Johnson, Lives of the English Poets (1781), "The Life of Cowley".
  • A clever Toronto lawyer was deep into a technical argument before the Supreme Court. His position was dependent upon a close reading of the legal text and turned on the letter of the law. Suddenly the chief justice, Beverley McLachlin, leaned forward and asked the counsel if his argument also worked in French. After all, the law is the law in both languages and a loophole in one tends to evaporate in the other. Only an argument of substance stands up. The lawyer had no idea what to reply.
  • You taught me language; and my profit on't
    Is, I know how to curse. The red plague rid you
    For learning me your language!
  • Fie, fie upon her!
    There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
    Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
    At every joint and motive of her body.
  • Verbing weirds language.
    • Bill Watterson, Homicidal Psycho Jungle Cat: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection (1994), p. 53.
  • There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. It is only by language that we rise above them, or above each other — by language, which is the parent, and not the child, of thought.
  • Speech is the best show a man puts on.
  • Evolution teaches us the original purpose of language was to ritualize men's threats and curses, his spells to compel the gods; communication came later.
    • Gene Wolfe, "The Death of Doctor Island", Universe 3 (1973), ed. Terry Carr; reprinted in The Best of Gene Wolfe (2009).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 426.
  • Well languag'd Danyel.
  • And who in time knows whither we may vent
    The treasure of our tongue? To what strange shores
    This gain of our best glory shall be sent,
    T' enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
    What worlds in th' yet unformed Occident
    May come refin'd with th' accents that are ours?
  • Who climbs the grammar-tree, distinctly knows
    Where noun, and verb, and participle grows.
  • “A language, like a species, when extinct, never… reappears.”
  • And don't confound the language of the nation
    With long-tailed words in osity and ation.
  • Language is the only instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.
  • L'accent du pays où l'on est né demeure dans l'esprit et dans le cœur comme dans le langage.
  • La grammaire, qui sait régenter jusqu'aux rois,
    Et les fait, la main haute, obéir à ses lois.
    • Grammar, which knows how to lord it over kings, and with high hands makes them obey its laws.
    • Molière, Les Femmes Savantes (1672), II. 6.
  • Une louange en grec est d'une merveilleuse efficace à la tête d'un livre.
    • A laudation in Greek is of marvellous efficacy on the title-page of a book.
    • Molière, Preface. Les Précieuses Ridicules.
  • L'accent est l'âme du discours, il lui donne le sentiment et la vérité.
    • Accent is the soul of a language; it gives the feeling and truth to it.
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile, I.
  • Syllables govern the world.
  • Ego sum rex Romanus, et supra grammaticam.
    • I am the King of Rome, and above grammar.
    • Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, at the Council of Constance (1414), to a prelate who objected to his grammar.
  • Don Chaucer, well of English undefyled
    On Fame's eternall beadroll worthie to be fyled.
  • Language is the expression of ideas, and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas they cannot retain an identity of language.
  • From purest wells of English undefiled
    None deeper drank than he, the New World's Child,
    Who in the language of their farm field spoke
    The wit and wisdom of New England folk.
  • Oft on the dappled turf at ease
    I sit, and play with similes,
    Loose type of things through all degrees.

See alsoEdit

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