If the way in which men express their thoughts is slipshod and mean, it will be very difficult for their thoughts themselves to escape being the same. If it is high flown and bombastic, a character for national simplicity and truthfulness cannot long be maintained.
As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue.
Thinking cannot be clear till it has had expression.—We must write, or speak, or act our thoughts, or they will remain in a half torpid form.—Our feelings must have expression, or they will be as clouds, which, till they descend in rain, will never bring up fruit or flower. —So it is with all the inward feelings; expression gives them development.—Thought is the blossom; language the opening bud; action the fruit behind it.
The language denotes the man; a coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.
Language was given us that we might say pleasant things to each other.
The Creator has gifted the whole universe with language, but few are the hearts that can interpret it. Happy those to whom it is no foreign tongue, acquired imperfectly with care and pain, but rather a native language, learned unconsciously from the lips of the great mother.
Language is properly the servant of thought, but not unfrequently becomes its master. The conceptions of a feeble writer are greatly modified by his style; a man of vigorous powers makes his style bend to his conceptions—a fact compatible enough with the acknowledgment of Dryden, that a rhyme had often helped him to an idea.
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 is not only the vehicle of thought, it is a great and efficient instrument in thinking.
Languages, like our bodies, are in a perpetual flux, and stand in need of recruits to supply those words which are continually falling into disuse.
Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place.
A man who is ignorant of foreign languages is ignorant of his own.
Language is a solemn thing: it grows out of life—out of its agonies and ecstasies, its wants and its weariness.—Every language is a temple in which the soul of those who speak it is enshrined.
In the intercourse of the world people should not take words as so much genuine coin of standard metal, but merely as counters that people play with.
Language is the dress of thought.
The common people do not accurately adapt their thoughts to objects; nor, secondly, do they accurately adapt their words to their thoughts; they do not mean to lie; but, taking no pains to be exact, they give you very false accounts. A great part of their language is proverbial; if anything rocks at all, they say it rocks like a cradle; and in this way they go on.
Poetry cannot be translated; and, therefore, it is the poets that preserve the languages; for we would not be at the trouble to leam a language if we could have all that is written in it just as well in a translation. But as the beauties of poetry cannot be preserved in any language except that in which it was originally written, we learn the language.
Language is only the instrument of science, and words are but the signs of ideas.
There is no tracing the connection of ancient nations but by language; therefore I am always sorry when any language is lost, for languages are the pedigree of nations.
Language most shows a man; speak that I may see thee; it springs out of the most retired and inmost part of us.
In the commerce of speech use only coin of gold and silver.
What would the science of language be without missions.
Language is like amber in its efficacy to circulate the electric spirit of truth, it is also like amber in embalming and preserving the relics of ancient wisdom, although one is not seldom puzzled to decipher its contents. Sometimes it locks up truths which were once well known, but which, in the course of ages, have passed out of sight and been forgotten. In other cases it holds the germs of truths, of which, though they were never plainly discerned, the genius of its framers caught a glimpse in a happy moment of divination.
There was speech in their dumbness; language in their very gesture.
A countryman is as warm in fustian as a king in velvet, and a truth is as comfortable in homely language as in fine speech. As to the way of dishing up the meat, hungry men leave that to the cook, only let the meat be sweet and substantial.
Language is the amber in which a thousand precious thoughts have been safely embedded and preserved. It has arrested ten thousand lightning-flashes of genius, which, unless thus fixed and arrested, might have been as bright, but would have also been as quickly passing and perishing as the lightning. Words convey the mental treasures of one period to the generations that follow; and laden with this, their precious freight, they sail safely across gulfs of time in which empires have suffered shipwreck, and the languages of common life have sunk into oblivion.
One great use of words is to hide our thoughts.
Language as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God.
Felicity, not fluency of language, is a merit.