Five Compelling Quotes about Languages

Here at Creative, we are hooked on languages. Nerdy language jokes are our daily bread (for a sneak peek into a typical day at our London headquarters, click here!) and making words work whatever the language is our mission. Different words in different languages drive change and inspire emotions, and we are not alone in believing in the power of words… Keep reading for a list of five compelling quotes about languages!

 

“The limits of my language means the limit of my world.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein

By mastering a language, whether it is our mother tongue or not, we can live our everyday lives to the fullest, and this quote by philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein underlines the importance of language as a tool for communication. Languages of any kind make human interaction possible, and wherever our language fails our world automatically becomes limited by that failure.

 

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” — Nelson Mandela

With this quote, former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela highlighted a fundamental aspect of language: the fact that it is part of our cultural identity. Nothing resonates with us as much as our native languages, which is why translation is so crucial to delivering powerful messages.

 

“A different language is a different vision of life.” — Federico Fellini

Fairly recent research has shown how our thought patterns are deeply influenced by the languages we think in or speak. The vision we have of the world around us changes when we speak another language, and this is what Italian film director Federico Fellini stressed in his famous quote.

 

“To handle a language skilfully is to practice a kind of evocative sorcery.” — Charles Baudelaire

Just as a lack of it can be limiting, the profound knowledge of a certain language is a very potent tool. As the very linguist who produced one of the most successful translations of Edgar Allan Poe’s work – French poet Charles Baudelaire – recognised, language is as powerful as magic.

 

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

German writer Goethe knew a thing or two about languages, as he was known to speak several. This quote of his emphasises how learning languages means sharpening our cognitive skills, which as a consequence allows us to learn more about our own mother tongue. Trying to grasp a different grammar, syntax and vocabulary puts our brain to the test and the result can only be one of constant improvement.

 

How about you? What’s your favourite quote about languages? We would love to read all about it in the comments below.