Posts Tagged ‘proverbs’

Proverbs and Quotations about Languages Part#2

urlHere is the second part of the previous blog post. I just copy the introduction. 🙂

Language is not only our job it is our life. It is one of the basic elements of communication and living as a society. It is not surprising that there are many sayings about languages. 

Here are different quotations or proverbs in different languages. They are not only sentences; they also reflect the viewpoint of the societies… :)


Translators are like ninjas. If you notice them, they’re no good.
– Etgar Keret (אֶתְגָּר קֶרֶת)

It’s no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase “As pretty as an airport” appear.
– Douglas Adams

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
– Joseph Addison

Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery.
– Mark Amidon

By words the mind is winged.
– Aristophanes

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

He that travelleth into a country before he hath some entrance into the language, goeth to school, and not to travel.
– Francis Bacon

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
– Ambrose Bierce

There is no such thing as an ugly language. Today I hear every language as if it were the only one, and when I hear of one that is dying, it overwhelms me as though it were the death of the Earth.
– Elias Canetti

When I use a word […] it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.
– Humpty Dumpty, Through The Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my dog.
– Emperor Charles V

England and America are two countries divided by a common language.
– George Bernard Shaw

Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
– John French

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

Every language is a temple, in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

When you go to a country, you must learn how to say two things: how to ask for food, and to tell a woman that you love her. Of these the second is more important, for if you tell a woman you love her she will certainly feed you.
– Louis L’Amour

Not only does the English Language borrow words from other languages, it sometimes chases them down dark alleys, hits them over the head, and goes through their pockets.
– Eddy Peters

Any time you think some other language is strange, remember that yours is just as strange, you’re just used to it.
– Linguistic Mystic

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
– Abraham Lincoln

Perhaps of all the creations of man language is the most astonishing.
– Giles Lytton Strachey

Language is an anonymous, collective and unconscious art; the result of the creativity of thousands of generations.
– Edward Sapir

Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
– Mark Twain

They spell it Vinci and pronounce it ‘Vinchy’: foreigners always spell better than they pronounce.
– Mark Twain

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

He that has many languages to expreese his thoughts, but no thoughts worth expressing, is like one that can write all hands, but never the better sense, or can cast up any sum of money, but has none.
– Samuel Bulter (1612-1680)

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

Language is the spiritual exhalation of the nation.
– Wilhelm von Humboldt

Has a nation anything more precious than the language of its fathers?
– Johann Herder

a sensible conclusion is that languages are ‘difficult’ in inverse proportion to the strength of motivation for learning them
– Reg Hindley

The loss of languages is tragic precisely because they are not interchangeable, precisely because they represent the distillation of the thoughts and communication of people over their entire history.
– Marianne Mithun

We infer the spirit of the nation in great measure from the language, which is a sort of monument to which each forcible individual in a course if many hundred years has contributed a stone.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby, – so helpless and so ridiculous.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generation.
– Edward Sapir

I am sorry when any language is lost, because languages are the pedigree of nations.
– Dr Johnson

The world is a mosaic of visions. With each language that disappears, a piece of that mosaic is lost.
– François Grosjean

Language embodies the intellectual wealth of the people who use it.
– Kenneth Hale

Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.
– Rita Mae Brown, Starting From Scratch, 1988

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

Language is wine upon the lips.
– Virginia Woolf

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

Men imagine that their minds have the command of language, but it often happens that language bears rule over their minds.
– Francis Bacon

Two languages in one head – no one can live at that speed! Good lord man. You’re asking the impossible! – Eddie Izzard


Il faut tourner sa langue sept fois dans sa bouche avant de parler.
One must turn the tongue seven times in the mouth before speaking = Think before you speak.

Le langage est une peau : je frotte mon langage contre l’autre. C’est comme si j’avais des mots en guise de doigts, ou des doigts au bout de mes mots. Mon langage tremble de désir.
Language is a skin : I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.
– Roland Barthes

Un homme qui parle trois langues est trilingue.
Un homme qui parle deux langues est bilingue.
Un homme qui ne parle qu’une langue est anglais.
A man who speaks three language is trilingual.
A man who speaks two languages is bilingual.
A man who speaks only one language is English.

– Claude Gagnière

La parole a été donnée à l’homme pour déguiser sa pensée.
Language was given to man to disguise his thoughts.
– Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Quand on voyage sans connaître l’anglais, on a l’impression d’être sourd-muet et idiot de naissance.
When you travel without knowing English, you have an idea of what it’s like to be deaf, dumb and stupid.
– Philippe Bouvard


Consuetudo certissima est loquendi magistra.
Usage is the best language teacher.
– Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

Lingua mortua sola lingua bona est.
The only good language is a dead language.

Cave quid dicis, quando, et cui.
Beware what you say, when, and to whom.

Bene legere saecla vincere.
To read well is to master the ages.
– Professor Isaac Flagg

Qui habet aures audiendi audiat
He who has ears for hearing, let him listen
– from Regula Sancti Benedicti, Prologus (Prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict)

Notitia linguarum est prima porta sapientiae.
Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.
– Roger Bacon


Una lengua natural es el archivo adonde han ido a parar las experiencias, saberes y creencias de una comunidad.
A natural language is the archive where the experiences, knowledge and beliefs of a community are stored.
– Fernando Lázaro Carreter

La lengua es la piel del alma
Language is the skin of the soul.
– Fernando Lázaro Carreter

La pluma es la lengua de la mente
The pen is the tongue of the mind.
– Miguel de Cervantes

Con cada lengua que se extingue se borra una imagen del hombre.
For every language that becomes extinct, an image of man disappears.
– Octavio Paz

Para ser lexicógrafo hay que tener una veta de locura idealista, porque la foto del lenguaje es imposible hacerla.
You need to have a streak of idealistic lunacy in you to be a lexicographer, as it is impossible to take a photo of language.
– Manuel Seco

Yo nunca me he quedado sin patria. Mi patria es el idioma.
I’ve never been without a country. My language is my country.
– María Zambrano


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Conflicting English Proverbs

Our ancestors always found a summarizer sentence or phrase for any kind of situation in life. They said “the pen is mightier than sword” for emphasizing the importance of education and bureaucracy instead of ignorance and war. This is a very good saying; however, it seems that they were a little bit confused! Since they also said “actions speak louder than words”. They just do not have one attitude towards the life, but they have multiple attitudes towards different situations. Please do not get me wrong, I have no intention of joking about our old people. However, this piece of information (down below) proves that we, as people, can justify almost any actions we make. It is just funny and it does not require thinking so deeply. Just enjoy the proverbs below and see how conflicting we can be! The source of this image is not certain, but I want to thank the creator of it. I hope you enjoy!



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