Language Quotes

Power of Language Quotes

Working on this site, I’ve discovered some great power of language Welcome to a World of Languagesquotes!  (Well, at least they speak to me.)  Some are well-known, others less so.  Some are profound, a few light-hearted.  Feel free to disagree if you will, but I encourage you to take time to ponder.

Why Not “English Only”?

“Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.” – Dave Barry

“There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. Otherwise, you know, why not just come out and say it?” – Barbara Ehrenreich

“There is a slam-dunk case for extending foreign language teaching to children aged five. Just as some people have taken a perverse pride in not understanding mathematics, so we have taken a perverse pride in the fact that we do not speak foreign languages, and we just need to speak louder in English.”  – Michael Gove

Languages Help Us Understand Our Own Language

I know for myself I came to understand our English language much better with each additional language I studied.  I learned how language works.

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

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

“Study a foreign language if you have opportunity to do so. You may never be called to a land where that language is spoken, but the study will have given you a better understanding of your own tongue or of another tongue you may be asked to acquire.”  – Gordon B. Hinckley

Quotes About Being BilingualQuotes about Being Bilingual

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

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

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne

“A man who knows two languages is worth two men.” – French Proverb

“You live a new life for every new language you speak.  If you know only one language, you live only once.” – Czech proverb

“One who speaks only one language is one person, but one who speaks two languages is two people.” – Turkish Proverb

“It’s like there are all these languages available, especially in terms of image. Why confine yourself to only English? There’s all these languages and possibilities and concepts to speak or communicate with.” – William Wiley

Learning Experience QuotesLanguage & Perspective

“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

“A different language is a different vision of life.” – Federico Fellini

“Change your language and you change your thoughts.” – Karl Albrecht

“Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.” – Flora Lewis

“The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.” – Victor Hugo

Quotes about Language and Culture

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” – Rita Mae Brown

“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Learning a foreign language not only reveals how other societies think and feel, what they have experienced and value, and how they express themselves, it also provides a cultural mirror in which we can more clearly see our own society.” – Chancellor Edward Lee Gorsuch

“Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift.  Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club -the community of speakers of that language.” – Frank Smith

“Learning a foreign language, and the culture that goes with it, is one of the most useful things we can do to broaden the empathy and imaginative sympathy and cultural outlook of children.” – Michael Gove

“Absolutely nothing is so important for a nation’s culture as its language.” – Wilhelm von Humboldt

“No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality.” – Edward Sapir

Quotes about Language StudyingLanguage is ...

“It is literally the case that learning languages makes you smarter. The neural networks in the brain strengthen as a result of language learning.”  – Michael Gove

“As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue.” – Roger Ascham

“The conquest of learning is achieved through the knowledge of languages.” – Roger Bacon

“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.” – Roger Bacon

“There’s no such thing as dead languages, only dormant minds.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse – German.” – Emperor Charles V

Power of Language Quotes

I began this site with the simple premise that learning a neighbor’s language is an act of hospitality.  Continuing in that vein, here are a couple final power of language quotes:

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

“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Feel free to respond to any of these in the comments below.  Better yet, share one of your own favorite language quotations.  And take time to browse this site for help and encouragement on your own language learning journey!

~ David

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