Top Linguistic Quotes

Browse top 86 famous quotes and sayings about Linguistic by most favorite authors.

Favorite Linguistic Quotes

1. "If we ask a vague question, such as, 'What is poetry?' we expect a vague answer, such as, 'Poetry is the music of words,' or 'Poetry is the linguistic correction of disorder.'"
Author: A. R. Ammons
2. "Moral judgments are linguistic survivals from the practices of classical theism which have lost the context provided by these practices."
Author: Alasdair MacIntyre
3. "If words are not things, or maps are not the actual territory, then, obviously, the only possible link between the objective world and the linguistic world is found in structure, and structure alone."
Author: Alfred Korzybski
4. "Can we reconcile indefinitely these two imperatives: the desire to preserve every individual's special identity and the need for Europeans to be able to communicate with one another all the time and as freely as possible? We cannot leave it to time to solve the dilemma and prevent people from engaging, a few years hence, in bitter and fruitless linguistic conflicts. We know all too well what time will do.The only possible answer is a voluntary policy aimed at strengthening linguistic diversity and based on a simple idea: nowadays everybody obviously needs three languages. The first is his language of identity; the third is English. Between the two we have to promote a third language, freely chosen, which will often but not always be another European language. This will be for everyone the main foreign language taught at school, but it will also be much more than that--the language of the heart, the adopted language, the language you have married, the language you love."
Author: Amin Maalouf
5. "Whereas the food debris of the Neanderthals shows a wide variety of animal bones, suggesting that they took whatever they could find, archaeological remnants from Homo sapiens show that they sought out particular kinds of game and tracked animals seasonally. All of this strongly suggests that they possessed a linguistic system sufficiently sophisticated to deal with concepts such as: "Today let's kill some red deer. You take some big sticks and drive the deer out of the woods and we'll stand by the riverbank with our spears and kill them as they come down towards us." By comparison Neanderthal speech may have been something more like: "I'm hungry. Let's hunt."
Author: Bill Bryson
6. "We're beings toward death, we're … two-legged, linguistically-conscious creatures born between urine and feces whose body will one day be the culinary delight of terrestrial worms."
Author: Cornel West
7. "I have to really think hard about how to structure sentences, and do more mapping when I sit down to write, so it does impose a certain discipline, intellectual and linguistic."
Author: Daniel Alarcon
8. "I wanted as little formal linguistic theory as I could get by with. I wanted the basic linguistic training to do a translation of the New Testament."
Author: Daniel Everett
9. "I joined a organisation called Wycliffe Bible Translators that had the objective of translating the Bible into all the languages of the world, and to do that you had to study linguistics, and so that was my initial exposure to linguistics."
Author: Daniel Everett
10. "I can't help but admire the structural linguists who have carved out forthemselves a linguistic discipline based on the deterioration of writtencommunication. Another case of men devoting their lives to studying more and more about less and less-filling volumes and libraries with the subtle linguistic analysis of the grunt."
Author: Daniel Keyes
11. "The story of English spelling is the story of thousands of people - some well-known, most totally unknown - who left a permanent linguistic fingerprint on our orthography."
Author: David Crystal
12. "Sending a message on a mobile phone is not the most natural of ways to communicate. The keypad isn't linguistically sensible."
Author: David Crystal
13. "Although many texters enjoy breaking linguistic rules, they also know they need to be understood."
Author: David Crystal
14. "At the same time we overlap, because, I do linguistics, and Ben did a first degree in Linguistics at Lancaster University, so he knows some of my subject."
Author: David Crystal
15. "… the truest writers are those who see language not as a linguistic process but as a living element…"
Author: Derek Walcott
16. "Vianello had the knack of getting people to talk. Especially if they were Venetians, the people he interviewed invariably warmed to this large, sweet-tempered man who gave every appearance of speaking Italian reluctantly, who was only too glad to lapse into their common dialect, a linguistic change that often carried its speakers along to unconscious revelation."
Author: Donna Leon
17. "No important national language, at least in the Occidental world, has complete regularity of grammatical structure, nor is there a single logical category which is adequately and consistently handled in terms of linguistic symbolism."
Author: Edward Sapir
18. "Then again, it'd taken more than two hundred years after the invention of the scientific method before any Muggle scientists had thought to systematically investigate which sentences a human four-year-old could or couldn't understand. The developmental psychology of linguistics could've been discovered in the eighteenth century, in principle, but no one had even thought to look until the twentieth. So you couldn't really blame the much smaller wizarding world for not investigating the Retrieval Charm."
Author: Eliezer Yudkowsky
19. "A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas."
Author: Ferdinand De Saussure
20. "It is only since linguistics has become more aware of its object of study, i.e. perceives the whole extent of it, that it is evident that this science can make a contribution to a range of studies that will be of interest to almost anyone."
Author: Ferdinand De Saussure
21. "Linguistics will have to recognise laws operating universally in language, and in a strictly rational manner, separating general phenomena from those restricted to one branch of languages or another."
Author: Ferdinand De Saussure
22. "No phonetic sign, except at a rudimentary, strictly speaking pre-linguistic level of vocal imitation, has any substantive relation or contiguity to that which it is conventionally and temporally held to designate."
Author: George Steiner
23. "Men don't need linguistic talent; they just need courage and words."
Author: Helen Fisher
24. "Intended to serve as an introduction to both the linguistic and also the practical study of spoken English."
Author: Henry Sweet
25. "Every sign, linguistic or nonlinguistic, spoken or written (in the usual sense of this opposition), as a small or large unity, can be cited, put between quotation marks; thereby it can break with every given context, and engender infinitely new contexts in an absolutely nonsaturable fashion. This does not suppose that the mark is valid outside its context, but on the contrary that there are only contexts without any center of absolute anchoring. This citationality, duplication, or duplicity, this iterability of the mark is not an accident or anomaly, but is that (normal/abnormal) without which a mark could no longer even have a so-called "normal" functioning. What would a mark be that one could not cite? And whose origin could not be lost on the way?"
Author: Jacques Derrida
26. "Logic and mathematics are nothing but specialised linguistic structures."
Author: Jean Piaget
27. "A word's meaning depends not so much on its linguistic past but rather on the place the word occupies in relation to the general system of the language at the period in question."
Author: Jean Pierre Vernant
28. "Governments produced by the most banal of electoral victories, like those produced by the crudest of coups d'état, will always feel obliged to dress themselves up linguistically in some way."
Author: John Ralston Saul
29. "It seemed to a number of philosophers of language, myself included, that we should attempt to achieve a unification of Chomsky's syntax, with the results of the researches that were going on in semantics and pragmatics. I believe that this effort has proven to be a failure. Though Chomsky did indeed revolutionize the subject of linguistics, it is not at all clear, at the end the century, what the solid results of this revolution are. As far as I can tell there is not a single rule of syntax that all, or even most, competent linguists are prepared to agree is a rule."
Author: John Searle
30. "He immersed himself in anthropology, history, philosophy, and linguistics, accumulating hundreds of credit hours without collecting a degree. He saw no reason to. The pursuit of knowledge, he maintained, was a worthy objective in its own right and needed no external validation."
Author: Jon Krakauer
31. "I can usually find my own way out of whatever dicey literary or linguistic situations I wander into, but I have to work much harder at the science."
Author: Kathryn Schulz
32. "By combining elements such as hypnosis, magic, neurolinguistic programming and psychology, I can make it appear that I can hack into people's brains."
Author: Keith Barry
33. "[T]he hidden linguistic universe of companianate couples... rests entirely on one generative phrase: 'Would you please stop doing that."
Author: Laura Kipnis
34. "If, for example, you were to think more deeply about death, then it would be truly strange if, in doing so, you did not encounter new images, new linguistic fields."
Author: Ludwig Wittgenstein
35. "Inverted commas (or speech marks, or quotes) are sometimes used by fastidious writers as a kind of linguistic rubber glove, distancing them from vulgar words or clichés they are too refined to use in the normal way. This 'N' character in Iris Murdoch's novel evidently can't bring himself to say 'keep in touch' without sealing it hygienically within inverted commas, and doubtless additionally indicating his irony with two pairs of curled fingers held up at either side of his face."
Author: Lynne Truss
36. "A metaphor is not merely a linguistic expression (a form of words) used for artistic or rhetorical purposes; instead, it is a process of human understanding by which we achieve meaningful experience that we can make sense of. A metaphor, in this "experiential" sense, is a process by which we understand and structure one domain of experience in terms of another domain of a different kind."
Author: Mark Johnson
37. "I have my own vocabulary. I love linguistics. That surprises people."
Author: Matthew McConaughey
38. "It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from "Secondly." Yes, this is what Rabin did. He simply neglected to speak of what happened first. Start your story with "Secondly," and the world will be turned upside-down. Start your story with "Secondly," and the arrows of the Red Indians are the original criminals and the guns of the white men are entirely the victims. It is enough to start with "Secondly," for the anger of the black man against the white to be barbarous. Start with "Secondly," and Gandhi becomes responsible for the tragedies of the British."
Author: Mourid Barghouti
39. "I believe that political correctness can be a form of linguistic fascism, and it sends shivers down the spine of my generation who went to war against fascism."
Author: P. D. James
40. "The entire destiny of modern linguistics is in fact determined by Saussure's inaugural act through which he separates the ‘external' elements of linguistics from the ‘internal' elements, and, by reserving the title of linguistics for the latter, excludes from it all the investigations which establish a relationship between language and anthropology, the political history of those who speak it, or even the geography of the domain where it is spoken, because all of these things add nothing to a knowledge of language taken in itself. Given that it sprang from the autonomy attributed to language in relation to its social conditions of production, reproduction and use, structural linguistics could not become the dominant social science without exercising an ideological effect, by bestowing the appearance of scientificity on the naturalization of the products of history, that is, on symbolic objects."
Author: Pierre Bourdieu
41. "There is no linguistic war in Montreal."
Author: Pierre Moreau
42. "Speech baffled my machine. Helen made all well-formed sentences. But they were hollow and stuffed--linguistic training bras. She sorted nouns from verbs, but, disembodied, she did not know the difference between thing and process, except as they functioned in clauses. Her predications were all shotgun weddings. Her ideas were as decorative as half-timber beams that bore no building load.She balked at metaphor. I felt the annoyance of her weighted vectors as they readjusted themselves, trying to accommodate my latest caprice. You're hungry enough to eat a horse. A word from a friend ties your stomach in knots. Embarrassment shrinks you, amazement strikes you dead. Wasn't the miracle enough? Why do humans need to say everything in speech's stockhouse except what they mean?"
Author: Richard Powers
43. "We're trapped in linguistic constructs... all that is is metaphor."
Author: Robert Anton Wilson
44. "Linguistic sounds, considered as external, physical phenomena have two aspects, the motor and the acoustic."
Author: Roman Jakobson
45. "And imagine acquiring a new language and only learning the words to describe a wonderful world, refusing to know the words for a bleak one and in doing so linguistically shaping the world that you inhabit."
Author: Rosamund Lupton
46. "English is an outrageous tangle of those derivations and other multifarious linguistic influences, from Yiddish to Shoshone, which has grown up around a gnarly core of chewy, clangorous yawps derived from ancestors who painted themselves blue to frighten their enemies."
Author: Roy Blount Jr.
47. "Definitions, contrary to popular opinion, tell us nothing about things. They only describe people's linguistic habits; that is, they tell us what noises people make under what conditions."
Author: S.I. Hayakawa
48. "Linguistics is very much a science. It's a human science, one of the human sciences. And it's one of the more interesting human sciences."
Author: Samuel R. Delany
49. "All communication involves faith; indeed, some linguisticians hold that the potential obstacles to acts of verbal understanding are so many and diverse that it is a minor miracle that they take place at all."
Author: Terry Eagleton
50. "The linguistic and literary reality of the biblical tradition is folkloristic in essence. The concept of a benei Israel ... is a reflection of no sociopolitical entity of the historical state of Israel of the Assyrian period"
Author: Thomas L. Thompson

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But I do, and the barbed wire tightens once more, until my heart is strangled and broken."
Author: A.G. Howard

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