Language Quote: A different language is a different vision of life - Federico Fellini

Learning a Foreign Language! Words of Encouragement

It was almost 100 years ago that Ludwig Wittgenstein, an Austrian-British philosopher, said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”, and Geoffrey Willans, an English author and journalist, said at around the same period, “You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.”.

Languages belong to the character of man. Words are the expression of the mind! It is impossible to truly understand other cultures unless one can communicate with its people. Without knowing any other tongues than your own, you can only rely on what other people wrote, including all of their interpretations and biases.

Our hand-picked selection of quotes explores the motivation that has driven some of the greatest philosophers, writers, politicians, and scientists to learn other languages.

The quotes are sorted chronologically by birth date of the originator. Enjoy and share with your friends!

The whole art of language consists
in being understood.

Confucius

(551 BC – 479 BC, Chinese teacher, editor,
politician, and philosopher)

To have another language
is to possess a second soul.

Charlemagne,
or Charles the Great,
numbered Charles I

(ca. 745 – 814, King of the Franks from 768,
King of the Lombards from 774
and Emperor of the Romans from 800)

Knowledge of languages
is the doorway to wisdom.

Roger Bacon,
known as Doctor Mirabilis

(1219/20 – ca.1292, English philosopher and Franciscan friar
who placed considerable emphasis on the study
of nature through empirical methods)

If you know many languages
then you have many keys for a castle.

François-Marie Arouet,
known by his nom de plume Voltaire

(1694 – 1778, French Enlightenment writer,
historian, and philosopher)

Language is the dress of thought.
Samuel Johnson,
often referred to as Dr. Johnson

(1709 – 1784, English writer who made lasting contributions
to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist,
literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer)

He who knows no foreign languages
knows nothing of his own.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(1749 – 1832, German writer and statesman)

Absolutely nothing
is so important for a nation’s culture
as its language.

Wilhelm von Humboldt

(1767 – 1835, Prussian philosopher, government functionary,
diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University of Berlin,
which was named after him in 1949)

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