🇺🇸 25 Great Quotes About Languages

The quotes below are a crystallization of immense wisdom about languages and language learning accumulated throughout centuries from the world over.

Language learners of all stripes could very well find some of much-needed motivation in the following lines written by the world’s greatest minds.


“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words?”
– Melina Marchetta

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”
– Jane Wagner

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
– Nelson Mandela

“In Paris they just simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”
– Mark Twain

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
– Frank Smith

“You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”
– Geoffrey Willans

“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”
– Winston S. Churchill

“Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service.”
– Wilkie Collins

“The aim of language…is to communicate…to impart to others the results one has obtained…As I talk, I reveal the situation…I reveal it to myself and to others in order to change it.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

“Language is the only homeland.”
– Czesław Miłosz

“Every word first looks around in every direction before letting itself be written down by me.”
– Franz Kafka

“Mastery of language affords one remarkable opportunities.”
Alexandre Dumas

“I’d come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

“Words are the clothes thoughts wear.”
– Samuel Beckett

“When a language dies, a way of understanding the world dies with it, a way of looking at the world.”
– George Steiner

“Writing cannot express all words, words cannot encompass all ideas.”
– Confucius

“The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.”
– Socrates

“The ability to think for one’s self depends upon one’s mastery of the language.”
– Joan Didion

“A schoolchild should be taught grammar–for the same reason that a medical student should study anatomy. Having learned about the exciting mysteries of an English sentence, the child can then go forth and speak and write any damn way he pleases.”
– E.B. White

“To handle a language skillfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.”
– Charles Baudelaire

“We are never half so interesting when we have learned that language is given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts.”
– L.M. Montgomery

“Without language, thought is a vague, uncharted nebula.”
– Ferdinand de Saussure

“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.”
– René Daumal

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