C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


An English tongue, if refined to a certain standard, might perhaps be fixed forever.


Language is the picture and counterpart of thought.

Mark Hopkins.

Languages are the keys of science.

La Bruyère.

The language of nature is the universal language.


Languages are the pedigree of nations.


The language denotes the man.


Language is fossil poetry.


Language is the dress of thought.


Felicity, not fluency, of language is a merit.


Language is the machine of the poet.


Languages are the barometers of national thought and character.

J. C. and A. W. Hare.

There was speech in their dumbness, language in their very gesture.


Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.


Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.

Sam’l Johnson.

In the commerce of speech use only coin of gold and silver.


A man who is ignorant of foreign languages is also ignorant of his own language.


Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God.

Noah Webster.

Language! the blood of the soul, sir, into which our thoughts run, and out of which they grow.

O. W. Holmes.

The love of our own language, what is it in fact, but the love of our country expressing itself in one particular direction?


The language denotes the man. A coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.


Language is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and efficient instrument in thinking.

Sir H. Davy.

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


Language,—human language,—after all, is but little better than the croak and cackle of fowls, and other utterances of brute nature,—sometimes not so adequate.


Language. By this we build pyramids, fight battles, ordain and administer laws, shape and teach religion, and knit man to man, cultivate each other, and ourselves.

John Sterling.

Languages, like our bodies, are in a perpetual flux, and stand in need of recruits to supply those words that are continually falling, through disuse.


Language is the expression of ideas, and if the people of one country cannot preserve an identity of ideas they cannot retain an identity of language.

Noah Webster.

Language is an art, and a glorious one, whose influence extends over all others, and in which all science whatever must centre; but an art springing from necessity, and originally invented by artless men.


  • Fie, fie upon her!
  • There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,
  • Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out
  • At every joint and motive of her body.
  • Shakespeare.

    It is curious that some learned dunces, because they can write nonsense in languages that are dead, should despise those that talk sense in languages that are living. “To acquire a few tongues,” says a French writer, “is the task of a few years, but to be eloquent in one, is the labor of a life.”


    Language is the amber in which a thousand precious and subtle thoughts have been safely embedded and preserved. It has arrested ten thousand lightning flashes of genius, which unless fixed and arrested might have been as bright, but would have also been as quickly passing and perishing as the lightning.