Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Language

"Religion tends to speak the language of the heart, which is the language of friends, lovers, children, and parents." -

"If men would wound you with injuries, meet them with patience: hasty words rankle the wound, soft language, dresses it, forgiveness cures it, and oblivion takes away the scar. It is more noble by silence to avoid an injury than by argument to overcome it." - Francis Beaumont

"If men wound you with injuries, meet them with patience; hasty words rankle the wound, soft language dresses it, forgiveness cures it, and oblivion takes away the scar. It is more noble by silence to avoid an injury; than by argument to overcome it." - J. Beaumont

"To speak well supposes a habit of attention which shows itself in the thought; by language we learn to think and above all to develop thought." - Carl Victor de Bonstetten

"Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, and the deaf can hear and understand." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The vices and the virtues are written in a language the world cannot construe; it reads them in a vile translation, and the translators are Failure and Success." -

"You who are so wise must know that different nations have different conceptions of things. You will not therefore take it amiss if our ideas of the white man’s kind of education happens not to be the same as yours. We have had some experience with it. Several of our young people were brought up in your colleges. They were instructed in all your sciences; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger. They didn’t know how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy. They spoke our language imperfectly. They were therefore unfit to be hunters, warriors, or counselors; they were good for nothing. We are, however, not less obliged for your kind offer, though we decline accepting it. To show our gratefulness, if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care with their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them." - Canassatego Treaty of Lancaster NULL

"Poetry is the music of thought, conveyed to us in music of language." -

"Truth is the band of union and the basis of human happiness. Without this virtue there is no reliance upon language, no confidence in friendship, no security in promises and oaths." - Jeremy Collier

"It is, most fundamentally, because moral judgments are universablizable that we can speak of moral thought as rational (to universalize is to give the reason); and their prescriptivity is very intimately connected with our freedom to form our own moral opinions (only those free to think and act need a prescriptive language)." - Richard M. Hare, fully Richard Mervyn Hare

"Language is a living thing. We can feel it changing. Parts of it become old: they drop off and are forgotten. New pieces bud out, spread into leaves, and become big branches, proliferating." -

"Whenever, for any reason, we wish to think of the world, not as it appears to common sense, but as a continuum, we find that our traditional syntax and vocabulary are quite inadequate. Mathematicians have therefore been compelled to invent radically new symbol-systems for this express purpose. But the divine Ground of all existence is not merely a continuum, it is also out of time, and different, not merely in degree, but in kind from the worlds to which traditional language and the languages of mathematics are adequate." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"He who thinks much says but little in proportion to his thoughts. He selects that language which will convey his ideas in the most explicit and direct manner. He tries to compress as much thought as possible into a few words. On the contrary, the man who talks everlastingly and promiscuously, who seems to have an exhaustless magazine of sound crowds so many words into his thoughts that he always obscures, and very frequently conceals them." - Washington Irving

"The distinction between men’s and women’s language is a symptom of a problem in our culture, not the problem itself. Basically it reflects the fact that men and women are expected to have different interests and different roles, hold different types of conversations, and react differently to other people." - Robin Lakoff, fully Robin Tolmach Lakoff

"I and myself. I feel myself - these are two distinct things. Our false philosophy is incorporated in our whole language; we cannot reason without, so to speak, reasoning wrongly. We overlook the fact that speaking, no matter of what, is itself a philosophy." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Obstacles are necessary companions to expression, and we know that the positive element in language is not in its obstructiveness. Exclusively viewed from the side of the obstacle, nature appears inimical to the idea of morality. But if that were absolutely true, moral life could never come to exists." -

"We are apt to say that money talks, but it speaks a broken, poverty-stricken language. Hearts talk better, clearer and with wider intelligence." - William Allen White

"Elegance of language may not be in the power of all of us; but simplicity and straight forwardness are. Write much as you would speak; speak as you think. If with your inferior, speak no coarser than usual; if with your superiors, no finer. Be what you say; and, within the rules of prudence, say what you are." - Vittorio Alfieri

"Music is a universal language, and needs not be translated. With it soul speaks to soul." - Berthold Auerbach

"All religion is an attempt to express... what is essentially inexpressible. Every new religion has to create its own language." - Leo Baeck

"Infatuation is the language of a beautiful eye upon a sensitive heart." -

"Unkind language is sure to produce the fruits of unkindness, that is, suffering in the bosoms others." -

"Ours is the age of substitutes; instead of language, we have jargon; instead of principles, slogans; instead of genuine ideas, bright ideas." - Eric Bentley

"Anyone who is thoroughly familiar with the language and literature of a people cannot be wholly its enemy." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Language is but spirit crystallized and substantiated." - Hayim Nahim Bialik, also Chaim or Haim

"The language of the heart which comes from the heart and goes to the heart - is always simple, graceful, and full of power, but no art of rhetoric can teach it. It is at once the easiest and most difficult language, difficult, since it needs a heart to speak it; easy, because its periods though rounded and full of harmony, are still unstudied." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Wit must be without effort. Wit is play, not work; a nimbleness of the fancy, not a laborious effort of the will; a license, a holiday, a carnival of thought and feeling, not a trifling with speech, a constraint upon language, a duress upon words." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Kindness is a language the dumb can speak, and the deaf can hear and understand." - John Christian Bovee

"By the time the child can draw more that scribble, by the age of four or five years, an already well-formed body of conceptual knowledge formulated in language dominates his memory and controls his graphic work. Drawings are graphic accounts of essentially verbal processes. As an essentially verbal education gains control, the child abandons his graphic efforts and relies almost entirely on words. Language has first spoilt drawing and then swallowed it up completely." - Karl Bühler, fully Karl Ludwig Bühler

"If you had the seeds of pestilence in your body you would not have a more active contagion that you have in your tempers, tastes, and principles. Simply to be in this world, whatever you are, is to exert an influence, compared with which mere language and persuasion are feeble." - Horace Bushnell

"In her starry shade of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn the language of another world." -

"Music is the language of praise; and one of the most essential preparations for eternity is delight in praising God; a higher acquirement, I do think, than even delight and devotedness to prayer." - Allan Chalmers, fully Allan Knight Chalmers

"All language is personal; we cannot hand our faith to one another. This has always been true. Even in the Middle Ages when faith was theoretically uniform it was always practically individual." -

"Poetry is the music of thought, conveyed to us in the music of language." -

"Whatever is highest and holiest is tinged with melancholy. The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos." -

"The first book of the nation is the dictionary of its language." - Constantin François de Chassebœuf, Comte de Volney

"Language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade before in public. Never clothe them in vulgar and shoddy attire." - George W. Crane

"Beliefs, desires, and intentions are a condition of language, but language is also a condition for them. On the other hand, being able to attribute beliefs and desires to a creature is certainly a condition of sharing a convention with that creature; while, if I am right... convention is not a condition of language. I suggest, then, that philosopher who make convention a necessary element in language have the matter backwards. The truth is rather that language is a condition for having conventions." - Donald Davidson

"Every individual or national degeneration is immediately revealed by a directly proportional degradation of language." -

"The individual's whole experience is built upon the plan of his language." - Henri Delacroix

"What distinguishes man from his innocent brothers, the animals... is not language, nor reason, nor even civilization... it is man's enormous appetite for suffering." - Georges Duhamel, Pen name Denis Thevenin

"Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone." - Albert Einstein

"I have no patience with the stupidity of the average teacher of grammar who wastes precious years in hammering rules into children's heads. For it is not by learning rules that we acquire the powers of speaking a language, but by daily intercourse with those accustomed to express themselves with exactness ands refinement and by copious reading of the best authors." -

"The language of truth is simple." - Euripedes NULL

"I have suggested that listening requires something more than remaining mute while looking attentive, namely, it requires the ability to attend imaginatively the another's language. Actually, in listening we speak the others' words." - Leslie H. Farber

"Live, if you wish, according to the manners of the past, but speak the language of the present." - Favorinus, aka Favorinus of Arelata NULL

"The language of nature is the universal language." -

"Go to the place where the thing you wish to know is native; your best teacher is there. Where the thing you wish to know is so dominant that you must breathe its very atmosphere, there teaching is most thorough, and learning is most easy. You acquire a language most readily in the country where it is spoken; you study mineralogy best among miners; and so with everything else." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Although music appeals simply to the emotions, and represents no definite images in itself, we are justified in using any language which may serve to convey to others our musical expressions. Words will often pave the way for the more subtle operations of music, and unlock the treasures which sound alone an rifle, and hence the eternal popularity of song." - Hugh Reginald Haweis