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25+ Greatest Language-Learning Quotes That Inspire

Summary:

More than 25 of the best language-learning quotes from all over the world and from different times to inspire the love of studying new languages.

language-learning quotes

Traveling is great, and that is the heart and soul of this website. However, the benefits that one reaps when traveling while fluent in another language (that of the destination country) are exponentially more abundant than traveling without such.

Knowing the language of the people who surround you will help you absorb more information (and with greater accuracy), connect with the people and traditions, and simply grant you more ease and comfort. I’m not proposing you learn every language native to everywhere you are interested in visiting; that would be ridiculous and virtually impossible unless you don’t care much to travel to begin with. But a few simple phrases are sure to help you get by, and will help warm the hearts of the locals to your cause.

Here are some of my favorite quotes that have inspired me to pick up some foreign languages, and I hope that it will help you do the same!

A different language is a different vision of life.

Federico Fellini

Do you know what a foreign accent is? It’s a sign of bravery.

Amy Chua

Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.

Flora Lewis

To learn a language is to have one more window from which to look at the world.

Chinese Proverb

The man who does not know other languages, unless he is a man of genius, necessarily has deficiencies in his ideas.

Victor Hugo

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can; there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.

Sarah Caldwell

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

Wilhelm von Humboldt

Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Kolik jazyků znáš, tolikrát jsi člověkem. (The more languages you know, the more you are human. Or lit. “As many languages you know, as many times you are a human being.”)

Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Czech

One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.

Frank Smith

I never found accents difficult, after learning languages.

Vivien Leigh

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

Rita Mae Brown

There is the fear, common to all English-only speakers, that the chief purpose of foreign languages is to make fun of us. Otherwise, you know, why not just come out and say it?

Barbara Ehrenreich

You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.

Geoffrey Willans

It is literally the case that learning languages makes you smarter. The neural networks in the brain strengthen as a result of language learning.

Michael Gove

As a hawk flieth not high with one wing, even so a man reacheth not to excellence with one tongue.

Roger Ascham

It’s like there are all these languages available, especially in terms of image. Why confine yourself to only English? There’s all these languages and possibilities and concepts to speak or communicate with.

William Wiley

No two languages are ever sufficiently similar to be considered as representing the same social reality.

Edward Sapir

The more languages you know, the less likely you are to become a terrorist.

Upamanyu Chatterjee

When you grow up in a family of languages, you develop a kind of casual fluency, so that languages, though differently colored, all seem transparent to experience.

David Antin

No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby, so helpless and so ridiculous.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt. (The limits of my language are the limits of my world.)

Ludwig Wittgenstein, German

To have another language is to possess a second soul.

Charlemagne

Wer fremde Sprachen nicht kennt, weiß nichts von seiner eigenen. (Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.

Chinese Proverb

Well? What did you think of these language-learning quotes? If you have any comments, or perhaps more language-learning quotes to add to this article, let us know in the comments below!

Now that you’re feeling inspired, why not check out some of our growing language learning guides? Also, use that inspiration and check out all our different country and city guides!

Also, we have more quotes and travel inspiration, as well as a great list of the best travel books ever.

Written by
Christian Eilers
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2 comments
  • The following quotes are taken from the blog that used to be on my freeware site, from the language book series ‘Logic Lists English,’ which is now defunct (Simplesite / 29,000 hits) but can be accessed via the website Quora, under Mind Your Language and sample pages from the actual books can be found at the link below

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    Learning as a process creates confusion in the mind and chaos in the world around you. Having learned, order and clarity rule as control through understanding is gained

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    The learning process requires that you overcome your fear of messing things up because failure is inevitable when you’re trying to grasp a new skill. This is why a good teacher will slow things down, so the learner can observe the process at work and a bad one will speed things up, to showcase their ability

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    Experience is a personal thing (how you feel / react to a stimulus) but communication is social: Talk (subjective language) developed because people wanted to discuss subjects in detail

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    A lot of good ideas aren’t new and a lot of new ideas aren’t good – which is why the wheel keeps getting reinvented and cheap novelties disappear, after temporarily assuaging the hunger for change (Chinese meal effect).

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    Without language you can only show your feelings through action (semaphore) or simple sounds – with it you can speak your mind and write out your thoughts as ideas (concepts)

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    We learn a foreigner’s language and they learn ours easiest, through total immersion as in the Berlitz language courses. In fact this is how we learn our own tongue as we grow up as we have no choice but to go through the confusion of not knowing what we are witnessing, in what appears to be utter chaos

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    Visiting another country – it is the look, the smell, the taste, the habits of the foreign culture that you have to get used to and then there is the language code: All you hear is this meaningless gobbledegook, rapidly spoken, from which you eventually pick up the odd sound; the repeated phrase and learn the language that way (adapting to the culture itself is comparatively easier).

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    Language is inextricably mixed up with culture – one is born from the other

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