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

Unexemplary words and unfounded doctrines are avoided by the noble person. Why utter them?

—Dong Zhongshu, c. 120 BC

Methinks the human method of expression by sound of tongue is very elementary and ought to be substituted for some ingenious invention which should be able to give vent to at least six coherent sentences at once.

—Virginia Woolf, 1899

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

—Publilius Syrus, c. 50 BC

Language is the armory of the human mind and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests. 

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1817

I am always sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigrees of nations.

—Samuel Johnson, 1773

The more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation.

—Plato, c. 375 BC

Newspapers always excite curiosity. No one ever lays one down without a feeling of disappointment.

—Charles Lamb, 1833

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.

—E.M. Forster, 1910

Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1915

History does not merely touch on language, but takes place in it.

—Theodor Adorno, c. 1946

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

—Molière, 1672

Language ought to be the joint creation of poets and manual workers.

—George Orwell, 1944

Language is the archives of history.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844

When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.

—Ursula K. Le Guin, 1969

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

—Galen, c. 175

It is difficult for a woman to define her feelings in language which is chiefly made by men to express theirs.

—Thomas Hardy, 1874

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.

—Samuel Johnson, 1780

Language is the house of being. In its home human beings dwell. Those who think and those who create with words are the guardians of this home.

—Martin Heidegger, 1949

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

Information can tell us everything. It has all the answers. But they are answers to questions we have not asked, and which doubtless don’t even arise.

—Jean Baudrillard, c. 1987

No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.

—Bertrand Russell, 1961

It is a luxury to be understood.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1831

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

Speak and speed; the close mouth catches no flies.

—Benjamin Franklin, c. 1732

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

—Marcel Marceau, 1958

The gift of a common tongue is a priceless inheritance and it may well some day become the foundation of a common citizenship.

—Winston Churchill, 1943

I sometimes think of what future historians will say of us. A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers.

—Albert Camus, 1957

Writing cannot express words fully; words cannot express thoughts fully.

—The Book of Changes, c. 350 BC

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

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

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

—Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1921

Under all speech that is good for anything, there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as eternity; speech is shallow as time.

—Thomas Carlyle, 1838

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

It is impossible to translate the poets. Can you translate music?

—Voltaire, c. 1732

Anyone who doesn’t know foreign languages knows nothing of his own.

—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1821

Words pay no debts.

—William Shakespeare, 1601

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.

—Søren Kierkegaard, 1843

The newspaper is the natural enemy of the book, as the whore is of the decent woman.

—Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, 1858

I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue.

—Xenocrates, c. 350 BC

Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.

—Jane Austen, 1818

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

—Carl Sandburg, 1959

The only authors whom I acknowledge as American are the journalists. They indeed are not great writers, but they speak the language of their countrymen, and make themselves heard by them. 

—Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840

A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.

—Arthur Miller, 1961

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

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

—Voltaire, 1764

My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin.

—Karl Kraus, c. 1910