Archive

Quotes

The chief merit of language is clearness, and we know that nothing detracts so much from this as do unfamiliar terms.

—Galen, c. 175

God never sent a messenger save with the language of his folk, that he might make the message clear for them.

—The Qur’an, c. 620

Man is the one name belonging to every nation upon earth: there is one soul and many tongues, one spirit and various sounds; every country has its own speech, but the subjects of speech are common to all.

—Tertullian, c. 217

In the case of news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.

—Voltaire, 1764

We should have a great many fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves.

—John Locke, 1690

I rather think the cinema will die. Look at the energy being exerted to revive it—yesterday it was color, today three dimensions. I don’t give it forty years more. Witness the decline of conversation. Only the Irish have remained incomparable conversationalists, maybe because technical progress has passed them by.

—Orson Welles, 1953

Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work.

—Carl Sandburg, 1959

What a glut of books! Who can read them? As already, we shall have a vast chaos and confusion of books; we are oppressed with them, our eyes ache with reading, our fingers with turning.

—Robert Burton, 1621

Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us all without words?

—Marcel Marceau, 1958

Making a film means, first of all, to tell a story. That story can be an improbable one, but it should never be banal. It must be dramatic and human. What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out?

—Alfred Hitchcock, 1962

Slang is as old as speech and the congregating together of people in cities. It is the result of crowding and excitement and artificial life.

—John Camden Hotten, 1859

I live by good soup, and not on fine language.

—Molière, 1672

Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he.

—Publilius Syrus, c. 50 BC