Top Written Language Quotes

Browse top 54 famous quotes and sayings about Written Language by most favorite authors.

Favorite Written Language Quotes

1. "Dehaene even allows himself a few moments of (justifiable) annoyance at the way that "childhood reading experts" continue their debates about the best strategies for teaching reading to children in complete ignorance of a large and growing body of work on how the human brain processes written language."
Author: Alan Jacobs
2. "He asked if he could recite a poem he had written that morning: 'You speak,' he said, 'the language of shooting stars, more surprising than sunrise, more brilliant than the sun, as brief as sunset. I want to follow its trail to eternity."
Author: Amy Tan
3. "The life these words speak of is not worth the ink they are written in.... He now knows that the only words worth writing down arise when language is impossible."
Author: Andreï Makine
4. "The Cardinal was bent over his writing desk, the room unchanged save for the light of what appeared a small antique oil lamp. And there were illuminated letters in the book before him, tiny figures fitted into the capitals, the whole gleaming as he let his hand, quivering, turn the page."Ah, think of it," he said, smiling as he saw Tonio, "written language the possession of those who took such pains to preserve it. I am forever entranced with the forms in which knowledge is given us, not by nature, but by our fellow man."
Author: Anne Rice
5. "Hazel knew her mother really meant I hope there is something you were dying to do at school today, that you are learning to love it there, and if you are not learning to love it there, can you please try harder? Because her mom seemed to think it was the sort of thing Hazel could choose to do, like she could choose to understand the rules when they weren't even written in her language, like she could choose to make herself fit when she was so clearly shaped all wrong."
Author: Anne Ursu
6. "Living like that utterly convinced me of the extreme limitations of language. I was just a chlld then,so I have only an intuitive understanding of the degree to which one losses control of words once they are spoken or written. It was then that I first felt a deep curiosity about language, and understood it as a tool that encompasses both a single moment and eternity"
Author: Banana Yoshimoto
7. "Trying to read his face. It was like a book written in a foreign language she'd studied all too briefly."
Author: Cassandra Clare
8. "In this room, he told himself, history might have been written, the course of cosmic empire might have been shaped and the fate of stars decided.But now there was no sign of life, just a brooding silence that seemed to whisper in a tongueless language of days and faces and problems long since wiped out by the march of years."
Author: Clifford D. Simak
9. "The more we have known of the really good things, the more insipid the thin lemonade of later literature becomes, sometimes almost to the point of making us sick. Do you know a work of literature written in the last, say, fifteen years that you think has any lasting quality? I don't. It is partly idle chatter, partly propaganda, partly self-pitying sentimentality, but there is no insight, no ideas, no clarity, no substance and almost always the language is bad and constrained. On this subject I am quite consciously a laudator temporis acti."
Author: Dietrich Bonhoeffer
10. "And this, even more wonderful and mysterious, is also true: when I read it, when I read what Julie's written, she is instantly alive again, whole and undamaged. With her words in my mind while I'm reading, she is as real as I am. Gloriously daft, drop-dead charming, full of bookish nonsense and foul language, brave and generous. She's right here. Afraid and exhausted, alone, but fighting. Flying in silver moonlight in a plane that can't be landed, stuck in the climb—alive, alive, ALIVE."
Author: Elizabeth Wein
11. "Nevertheless, should you have any doubts that we are stating sound doctrines, look up the references and see exactly what the Bible says and believe it in preference to any man. You cannot go wrong with this kind of advice. But in doing this, be sure you adhere to what is written, and that you do not let preconceived ideas cause you to be biased on any point. Do not try to make the Bible conform to your ideas. Always reconcile your ideas to the Bible. Let the plain language of the references given be read and understood in the same literal way that we would understand similar statements in any other book"
Author: Finis Jennings Dake
12. "I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself."
Author: Gabor Maté
13. "Philosophy [nature] is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes -- I mean the universe -- but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth."
Author: Galileo Galilei
14. "Philosophy is written in that great book which ever lies before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols, in which it is written"
Author: Galileo Galilei
15. "[John Clare's] father was a casual farm labourer, his family never more than a few days' wages from the poorhouse. Clare himself, from early childhood, scraped a living in the fields. He was schooled capriciously, and only until the age of 12, but from his first bare contact fell wildly in love with the written word. His early poems are remarkable not only for the way in which everything he sees flares into life, but also for his ability to pour his mingled thoughts and observations on to the page as they occur, allowing you, as perhaps no other poet has done, to watch the world from inside his head. Read The Nightingale's Nest, one of the finest poems in the English language, and you will see what I mean.("John Clare, poet of the environmental crisis 200 years ago" in The Guardian.)"
Author: George Monbiot
16. "A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; -- not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself."
Author: Henry David Thoreau
17. "To a Soviet person, used to the nationality policy of the USSR, all the mistakes of the American government's Indian policy are evident from the first glance. The mistakes are, of course, intentional. The fact of the matter is that in Indian schools, class is conducted exclusively in English. There is no written form of any Indian language at all. It's true that every Indian tribe has its own language, but this doesn't change anything. If there were any desire to do so, the many American specialists who have fallen in love with Indian culture could create Indian written languages in a short time. But imperialism remains imperialism."
Author: Ilya Ilf
18. "T. S. Eliot and Jean-Paul Sartre, dissimilar enough as thinkers, both tend to undervalue prose and to deny it any imaginative function. Poetry is the creation of linguistic quasi-things; prose is for explanation and exposition, it is essentially didactic, documentary, informative. Prose is ideally transparent; it is only faute de mieux written in words. The influential modern stylist is Hemingway. It would be almost inconceivable now to write like Landor. Most modern English novels indeed are not written. One feels they could slip into some other medium without much loss. It takes a foreigner like Nabokov or an Irishman like Beckett to animate prose language into an imaginative stuff in its own right."
Author: Iris Murdoch
19. "It was written in the ancient RUNIX spell-language, and is read-only and can't be modified."
Author: Jasper Fforde
20. "Speaks cheerful English and in the past has written this language with a paintbrush that talks."
Author: Jimmy Breslin
21. "It [writing] has enormous meta-cognitive implications. The power is this: That you cannot only think in ways that you could not possibly think if you did not have the written word, but you can now think about the thinking that you do with the written word. There is danger in this, and the danger is that the enormous expressive and self-referential capacities of the written word, that is, the capacities to keep referring to referring to referring, will reach a point where you lose contact with the real world. And this, believe me, is very common in universities. There's a technical name for it, I don't know if we can use it on television, it's called "bullshit." But this is very common in academic life, where people just get a form of self-referentiality of the language, where the language is talking about the language, which is talking about the language, and in the end, it's hot air. That's another name for the same phenomenon."
Author: John Rogers Searle
22. "Gradually, the concrete enigma I labored at disturbed me less than the generic enigma of a sentence written by a god. What type of sentence (I asked myself) will an absolute mind construct? I considered that even in the human languages there is no proposition that does not imply the entire universe: to say "the tiger" is to say the tigers that begot it, the deer and turtles devoured by it, the grass on which the deer fed, the earth that was mother to the grass, the heaven that gave birth to the earth. I considered that in the language of a god every word would enunciate that infinite concatenation of facts, and not in an implicit but in an explicit manner, and not progressively but instantaneously. In time, the notion of a divine sentence seemed puerile or blasphemous. A god, I reflected, ought to utter only a single word and in that word absolute fullness. No word uttered by him can be inferior to the universe or less than the sum total of time."
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
23. "Poem Written in a Copy of BeowulfAt various times, I have asked myself what reasonsmoved me to study, while my night came down,without particular hope of satisfaction,the language of the blunt-tongued Anglo-Saxons.Used up by the years, my memoryloses its grip on words that I have vainlyrepeated and repeated. My life in the same wayweaves and unweaves its weary history.Then I tell myself: it must be that the soulhas some secret, sufficient way of knowingthat it is immortal, that its vast, encompassingcircle can take in all, can accomplish all.Beyond my anxiety, beyond this writing,the universe waits, inexhaustible, inviting."
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
24. "Haunting the library as a kid, reading poetry books when I was not reading bird books, I had been astonished at how often birds were mentioned in British poetry. Songsters like nightingales and Sky Larks appeared in literally dozens of works, going back beyond Shakespeare, back beyond Chaucer. Entire poems dedicated to such birds were written by Tennyson, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and many lesser-known poets. I had run across half a dozen British poems just about Sky Larks; Thomas Hardy had even written a poem about Shelley's poem about the Sky Lark. The love of birds and of the English language were intermingled in British literary history.Somehow we Americans had failed to import this English love of birds along with the language, except in diluted form. But we had imported a few of the English birds themselves — along with birds from practically everywhere else."
Author: Kenn Kaufman
25. "Our own genomes carry the story of evolution, written in DNA, the language of molecular genetics, and the narrative is unmistakable."
Author: Kenneth R. Miller
26. "Remarkably, this Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (as it was later known) was written not in Latin, as was the practice in virtually every other literate corner of Europe, but in the everyday language that people spoke. By the end of the tenth century, this language had a name for the new state: it was ‘the land of the Angles', Engla lond.4"
Author: Marc Morris
27. "All I need to understand is the unwritten law of warriors," he said firmly. "And women and children are never sent to do our work without our protection." He pointed to the trees, emphatically. "That's the language I share with them."
Author: Melina Marchetta
28. "Humanists were people who wanted to return to ideas found in old Greek and Latin writing of Greece and Rome, written many centuries earlier. Christian Humanists also wanted to get back to these ideas, but they were mainly concerned with learning about the early Christian Church, before it had become involved with money-making and superstition. They wanted to read the books of the early Church, especially the gospels of Christ, in the original language of Greek, so that they would know exactly what the writings meant. The leader of the Christian Humanists was Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), who attacked superstitions in the Catholic Church in his writing."
Author: Michael A. Mullett
29. "Anything well written with good language and clarity and honesty is worth doing. It comes out of the same tradition as Shakespeare."
Author: Michael Moriarty
30. "Imagine a poem written with such enormous three-dimensional words that we had to invent a smaller word to reference each of the big ones; that we had to rewrite the whole thing in shorthand, smashing it into two dimensions, just to talk about it. Or don't imagine it. Look outside. Human language is our attempt at navigating God's language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants."
Author: N.D. Wilson
31. "Over the years, my church gave me passage into a menagerie of exotic words unknown in the South: "introit," "offertory," "liturgy," "movable feast," "the minor elevation," "the lavabo," "the apparition of Lourdes," and hundreds more. Latin deposited the dark minerals of its rhythms on the shelves of my spoken language. You may find the harmonics of the Common of the Mass in every book I've ever written. Because I was raised Roman Catholic, I never feared taking any unchaperoned walks through the fields of language. Words lifted me up and filled me with pleasure."
Author: Pat Conroy
32. "But once an original book has been written-and no more than one or two appear in a century-men of letters imitate it, in other words, they copy it so that hundreds of thousands of books are published on exactly the same theme, with slightly different titles and modified phraseology. This should be able to be achieved by apes, who are essentially imitators, provided, of course, that they are able to make use of language."
Author: Pierre Boulle
33. ". . . we come astonishingly close to the mystical beliefs of Pythagoras and his followers who attempted to submit all of life to the sovereignty of numbers. Many of our psychologists, sociologists, economists and other latter-day cabalists will have numbers to tell them the truth or they will have nothing. . . . We must remember that Galileo merely said that the language of nature is written in mathematics. He did not say that everything is. And even the truth about nature need not be expressed in mathematics. For most of human history, the language of nature has been the language of myth and ritual. These forms, one might add, had the virtues of leaving nature unthreatened and of encouraging the belief that human beings are part of it. It hardly befits a people who stand ready to blow up the planet to praise themselves too vigorously for having found the true way to talk about nature."
Author: Pythagoras
34. "I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."
Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
35. "This little book has been written in the hope that it may appeal to several classes of readers.Not infrequently I have been asked by friends of different callings in life to recommend them some book on mimicry which shall be reasonably short, well illustrated without being very costly, and not too hard to understand. I have always been obliged to tell them that I know of nothing in our language answering to this description, and it is largely as an attempt to remedy this deficiency that the present little volume has been written."
Author: Reginald Crundall Punnett
36. "...I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."Letter to a Young Poet, 1903"
Author: Rilke, Rainer Maria
37. "Literature in the written sense represents the triumph of language over writing: the subversion of writing for purposes that have little or nothing to do with social and economic control."
Author: Robert Bringhurst
38. "All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared hearer."
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
39. "If I had my way books would not be written in English but in an exceedingly difficult secret language.... This plan would have the advantage of scaring off all amateur authors, retired politicians, country doctors...who would not have the patience to learn the secret language."
Author: Robertson Davies
40. "The range and variety of Chaucer's English did much to establish English as a national language. Chaucer also contributed much to the formation of a standard English based on the dialect of the East Midlands region which was basically the dialect of London which Chaucer himself spoke. Indeed, by the end of the fourteenth century the educated language of London, bolstered by the economic power of London itself, was beginning to become the standard form of written language throughout the country, although the process was not to be completed for several centuries. The cultural, commercial, administrative and intellectual importance of the East Midlands (one of the two main universities, Cambridge, was also in this region), the agricultural richness of the region and the presence of major cities, Norwich and London, contributed much to the increasing standardisation of the dialect."
Author: Ronald Carter
41. "Works of imagination should be written in very plain language; the more purely imaginative they are the more necessary it is to be plain."
Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
42. "I should have written you a letter, it was too late to make the deaths of my brothers an excuse. Since they died, I wrote a book; why not a letter? A mysterious but truthful answer is that while I can gear myself up to do a novel, letters, real-life communications, are too much for me. I used to rattle them off easily enough; why is the challenge of writing to friends and acquaintances too much for me now? Because I have become such a solitary, and not in the Aristotelian sense: not a beast, not a god. Rather, a loner troubled by longings, incapable of finding a suitable language and despairing at the impossibility of composing messages in a playable key--as if I no longer understood the codes used by the estimable people who wanted to hear from me and would have so much to reply if only the impediments were taken away."
Author: Saul Bellow
43. "As a child, I read because books–violent and not, blasphemous and not, terrifying and not–were the most loving and trustworthy things in my life. I read widely, and loved plenty of the classics so, yes, I recognized the domestic terrors faced by Louisa May Alcott's March sisters. But I became the kid chased by werewolves, vampires, and evil clowns in Stephen King's books. I read books about monsters and monstrous things, often written with monstrous language, because they taught me how to battle the real monsters in my life.And now I write books for teenagers because I vividly remember what it felt like to be a teen facing everyday and epic dangers. I don't write to protect them. It's far too late for that. I write to give them weapons–in the form of words and ideas-that will help them fight their monsters. I write in blood because I remember what it felt like to bleed."
Author: Sherman Alexie
44. "To excavate is to open a book written in the language that the centuries have spoken into the earth."
Author: Spyridon Marinatos
45. "I have written it before and am not ashamed to write it again. Without Wodehouse I am not sure that I would be a tenth of what I am today -- whatever that may be. In my teenage years, his writings awoke me to the possibilities of language. His rhythms, tropes, tricks and mannerisms are deep within me.But more than that, he taught me something about good nature. It is enough to be benign, to be gentle, to be funny, to be kind."
Author: Stephen Fry
46. "We were born between blood and gunpowder; and between blood and gunpowder we were raised. Every so often the powerful from other lands came to rob us of tomorrow. For this reason it was written in a war song that unites us: "If a foreigner with his step ever dares to profane your land, think, Oh beloved motherland, that heaven gave you a soldier in each son." For this reason we fought. With flags and different languages the foreigner came to conquer us. He came and he went."
Author: Subcomandante Marcos
47. "We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?"
Author: Tom Stoppard
48. "Could loving, as people called it, make her and Mrs. Ramsay one? for it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge, she had thought, leaning her head on Mrs. Ramsay's knee."
Author: Virginia Woolf
49. "For it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge"
Author: Virginia Woolf
50. "Inside this pencilcrouch words that have never been writtennever been spokennever been taughtthey're hidingthey're awake in theredark in the darkhearing usbut they won't come outnot for love not for time not for fireeven when the dark has worn awaythey'll still be therehiding in the airmultitudes in days to come may walk through thembreathe thembe none the wiserwhat script can it bethat they won't unrollin what languagewould I recognize itwould I be able to follow itto make out the real namesof everythingmaybe there aren'tmanyit could be that there's only one wordand it's all we needit's here in this pencilevery pencil in the worldis like this"
Author: W.S. Merwin

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My tears brought no sense of release or relief. Their flight felt like the lightest, coldest touch of a departing lover."
Author: Anne Giardini

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