Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quotes about Language, Part I

It's been close to 15 years since I've formally studied anything to do with linguistics, but I've taken it up again. And I've found some quotes, stories and little ditties about language:

"Alice was too puzzled to say anything, so after a minute, Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them--particularly verbs, they're the proudest--adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs--however, I can manage the whole lot!'" --Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass)

"Change and decay in all around we see. But not all change is decay, and some decay turns into new life." D.J. Enright

"I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse." Emperor Charles V.

"Euphemisms are unpleasant truths wearing diplomatic cologne."  Quentin Crisp

"In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer." Mark Twain

"Language is the means of getting an idea from my brain into yours without surgery." Mark Amidon

"Our language is a funny thing...a fat chance and a slim chance are the same thing!" J. Gustav White

"Let's not be so worried about not offending everybody that we lose the ability to distinguish between respect and paranoia." Larry King

"But if language can corrupt thought, thought can corrupt language." George Orwell

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose to mean, no more and no less.'" Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass).

"There was a young man of Dunlaoghaire,
Who propounded an interesting theoghaire
That the language of Erse
Has a shortage of verse,
As the spelling makes poets so weoghaire."
J.B. Searle (note: Erse=Irish Gaelic and the "oghaire" is pronounced "eery" like "theory" and "weary." The place name is pronounced "dun-laeery".)

All original writing and art copyright A. Dameron 2000-2011

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