5 quotes to share with language learners

Last week I was blown away by the wonderful quotes shared by educators from all over the world.  If you haven’t checked out them out, it’s worth a click-through here. Continuing with the same trend, I thought of quotes that I like sharing with my students, quotes that flip the way they may think of learning and language.  Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve found can even get a discussion going.   Feel free to share your own below.


“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” -Benjamin Lee Whorf, Linguist

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Novelist

“There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.” -unknown

“Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground” -Noah Webster, dictionary maker and responsible for changing the spelling of many words in American English. ;-)

“English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway.” -Unknown

Related posts:

About Brad

--- i'm a learner-teacher, language geek, outdoorsy kind-of-guy --- U might miss the next tweet... Wanna subscribe by email ? ;-)
  • http://twitter.com/cherrymp Cherry M Philipose

    Like all good posts, this too made me think and eventually google to see what language quotes are there that can spark conversation in the class and from a first page hits this ended up as my favourite: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 MandelaRead more:http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/language.html#ixzz1jhbHlWyH
    Thanks for leading the way Brad.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Thanks Cherry.  Another fine quote indeed !

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/e-learning-inclusivo/p/995601228/5-quotes-to-share-with-language-learners 5 quotes to share with language learners | E-Learning-Inclusivo (Mashup) | Scoop.it

    [...] [...]

  • http://juandomingofarnos.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/5-quotes-to-share-with-language-learners-2/ 5 quotes to share with language learners « juandon. Innovación y conocimiento

    [...] Via blog.edulang.com Valora esto: Me gusta:Me gustaSé el primero en decir que te gusta esta post.   [...]

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/pedalogica/p/995604104/5-quotes-to-share-with-language-learners 5 quotes to share with language learners | Pedalogica | Scoop.it

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } blog.edulang.com – Today, 11:51 [...]

  • http://www.scoop.it/t/lingoprime/p/995316021/5-quotes-to-share-with-language-learners 5 quotes to share with language learners | ReneTranslates | Scoop.it

    [...] jQuery("#errors*").hide(); window.location= data.themeInternalUrl; } }); } blog.edulang.com (via @AlexandraGuzik) – Today, 2:28 [...]

  • http://www.tmenglish.org/ Stephen Greene

    I love the quote from Goethe as I my path to really understanding English started when I began teaching English but has certainly evolved during my quest to learn Portuguese.

    A quote that I see a lot on the internet and have used with intermediate + students is this;

    “Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs.” by Jack Lynch

    quote As far as I can make out, the Jack Lynch that this quote is attributed to was an Irish Prime Minister, although I have no firm evidence of this.

  • David Warr

    Hi Cherry! I used this quote in a blog post I wrote last year. http://languagegarden.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/memories-of-wales/

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Ha !  Had never seen that quote.  

    I can identify with the goethe quote as well from my trips down language lane as it takes an outside perspective for us to objectify our own language.  This can come from a good tesol program too, however I think having studied a foreign language really enables the teacher to better understand the student perspective.Thanks again for stopping by, Stephen.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    another beautiful language plant !  Thanks, David

  • http://www.tmenglish.org/ Stephen

    By the way Brad, your last blog article on quotations for teachers inspired me to write something of my own, so many thanks for that.

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Great and I’m honored to hear that.  Please do share the link here.  Best, Brad

  • Barry O’Leary

    Best one is Wolfgang. Since learning Spanish I now understand English better, as well as teaching it for 8 years too I guess. 

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Yes.  As I was sharing with Stephen above, I can definitely identify with this as well.  Thanks for stopping by, Barry.

  • Anonymous

    I just wanted to leave a quote that I found in John Fanselow’s essay ”Postcard Realities”:
    “…the frequent remark: There is no point in reinventing the wheel. In fact, each of us has toreinvent the wheel even as we see others using wheels! Why do we even consider preventing people from reinventing wheels? Think of the excitement those who first discovered wheels must have experienced! ”

    I’d like to provide the students with the kind of environment where they feel comfortable not only inventing the wheel of language for themselves, but feel the kind of satisfaction John is writing about in his essay.

  • http://twitter.com/nadiyahjan nadiyah jan

    Again … a smart way to post on this blog topic! It is one part to remain in the loop ;) Congrats!

  • http://twitter.com/AnnLoseva Anna Loseva

    “but a smile speaks them all” – yay!…=) 

    I’ve decided to share some quotes from the ultimate (from my viewpoint) source of “a brainy quote”, and that is Albert Einstein to me. If you take a look here http://www.einstein-quotes.com/index.html you’ll get lots, I”ve picked up some that resonate to learning/teaching..

    “A person
    who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – I seems to be such an obvious universal truth, really=) There are sure plenty of mistakes to be made on the way of any language learner, let’s let them know it’s perfectly fine! 

    “It is the
    supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. ” – well this one seems to be speaking for itself.

    “The only
    thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Shall we talk about this? Has really much changed in education since Einstein’s times?..This quote encompasses the Einstein’s style of spilling it out. Love it.

    “I don’t
    know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference!” – this is an amazing anti-motto, and it is so true!..let’s get students (and ourselves) make a difference.


    important thing is not to stop questioning.” – this one, by the way, is what I thought to put in a comment to the previous post of yours. Curiosity should be the habit of a teacher and a learner. And “questioning” so wonderfully refers to inspiring critical thinking as well. That’s how I feel about it=)Thank you for the idea, it was a sheer pleasure to spend the morning with Einstein, and remind myself of these wonderful ideas of a genius mind.Cheers, Ann

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    NICE.  I agree, and the “never stop questioning” was a big theme in @seburnt:twitter  ‘s recent post.  Merci for the Einstein shares, Ann ;-)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Thanks for the kind words, Nadiyah.  Always nice to hear from you ;-)

  • http://blog.edulang.com Brad Patterson

    Wow, had never heard that one before.  It is true… we can grow through observation and a passive looking-on, but it’s an active process that must occur for a lot of growth, and that active process means making the wheel to some extent.

    Thanks for stopping by, Kevin !

  • Nino Roso

    “The human mind, unperturbed through the medium of language, erects institutions and social structures into which it then secretes itself” – Terence McKenna