Quotes on Language

Quotes in
Sorted by
Author
Subject
Text
21 quotes     Show as list

It's likely that taboo words are stored in the right hemisphere of the brain. Massive left hemisphere strokes or the entire surgical removal of the left hemisphere can leave people with no articulate speech other than the ability to swear, spout cliches and song lyrics.
 
The limits of my language means the limits of my world.
 
We are struggling with language. We are engaged in a struggle with language.
 
In practice, language is always more or less vague, so that what we assert is never quite precise.
 
A word is an arbitrary label - that's the foundation of linguistics. But many people think otherwise. They believe in word magic: that uttering a spell, incantation, curse, or prayer can change the world. Don't snicker: Would you ever say, 'Nothing has gone wrong yet' without looking for wood to knock?
 
The atmosphere surrounding this problem is terrible. Dense clouds of language lie about the crucial point. It is almost impossible to get through to it.
 
Human beings do not live in the objective world alone, nor alone in the world of social activity as ordinarily understood, but are very much at the mercy of the particular language which has become the medium of expression for their society. It is quite an illusion to imagine that one adjusts to reality essentially without the use of language and that language is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of communication or reflection. The fact of the matter is that the ‘real world’ is to a large extent unconsciously built up on the language habits of the group... We see and hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the language habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.
 
Language commonly stresses only one side of any interaction.
 
Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.
 
One does not inhabit a country; one inhabits a language. That is our country, our fatherland --and no other.
 
I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking. But, if possible, to stimulate someone to thoughts of his own.
 
Look at almost any passage, and you'll find that a paragraph has five or six metaphors in it. It's not that the speaker is trying to be poetic, it's just that that's the way language works.
 
A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion.
 
People are under the impression that dictionaries legislate language. What a dictionary does is keep track of usages over time.
 
Language mavens commonly confuse their own peeves with a worsening of the language.
 
Language continually asserts by the syntax of subject and predicate that 'things' somehow 'have' qualities and attributes. A more precise way of talking would insist that the 'things' are produced, are seen as separate from other 'things,' and are made 'real' by their internal relations and by their behaviour in relationship with other things and with the speaker. It is necessary to be quite clear about the universal truth that whatever 'things' may be in their pleromatic and thingish world, they can only enter the world of communication and meaning by their names, their qualities and their attributes (i.e., by reports of their internal and external relations and interactions).
 
The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.
 
the meaning of a word is its use in the language.
 
Language is a window into human nature, but it is also a fistula, an open wound through which we're exposed to an infectious world.
 
I'm very interested in language because it reflects our obsessions and ways of conceptualising the world.
 
There is no such thing as an isolated proposition. For what I call a "proposition" is a position in the game of language.
 
21 quotes     Show as list