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Interesting Maxims and Aphorisms about Languages

“Swearing is the only language instructions in which are understood without any misinterpretation.”
Anonymous author

“If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found the time to conquer the world.”
Heinrich Heine

“The language knows much more about people than people know about themselves… not we speak the language, but the language speaks us.”
Saveliy Grinsberg

“Belladonna: in Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.”
Ambrose Bierce

“If the French were really intelligent, they'd speak English.”
Wilfrid Sheed

“How many languages you know – that many times you are a person.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut.”
Sam Rayburn

“Every American child should grow up knowing a second language, preferably English.”
Mignon McLaughlin

“Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.”
William Penn

“The most precious things in speech are pauses.”
Ralph Richardson

“Only a visitor, an invader or an idiot may not know the language of the country of stay."
Anonymous author

“To God I speak Spanish, to women Italian, to men French, and to my horse – German.”
Emperor Charles V

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
William Butler Yeats

“England and America are two countries separated by the same language.”
George Bernard Shaw

“We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language...”
Oscar Wilde

“That woman speaks eighteen languages and can't say no in any of them.”
Dorothy Parker

“Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.”

“Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut.”

“No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.”
Henry Brooks Adams

“The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.”
Napoleon I

“When your tongue is at rest – my ears are at rest, too.”
Baurzhan Toishibekov

“Perverts! They rape the language with grammar!”
Stanisław Jerzy Lec

“The hardest language to learn is a common language.”
Leszek Kumor


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