A Quote by Gaston Bachelard on translation, description, and language

This word "description" may be disconcerting when used to refer to what is generally called a translation. But when one wishes to render a verbal creation (as opposed to a didactic statement) from one language to another, he is confronted with two equally unsatisfactory choices. He may, according to his talents, elaborate a similar, but never identical creation, or he may describe that creation as completely as possible in his own language.

Gaston Bachelard (1884 - 1962)

Source: The Poetics of Reverie, Pages: vi..vii

Contributed by: Chris

A Quote by George Orwell on politics and language

A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics'. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.

George Orwell (1903 - 1950)

Contributed by: GDW

A Quote by William Gass on language, express, thought, and existence

Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it.

William Gass

Source: Hyperion, Pages: 191

Contributed by: Chris

A Quote by Helene Cixous on language

She alone dares and wishes to know from within, where she, the outcast, has never ceased to hear the resonance of fore language. She lets the other language speak - the language of 1,000 tongues which knows neither enclosure nor death. To life she refuses nothing. Her language does not contain, it carries; it does not hold back; it makes possible.

Helene Cixous

Source: The Laugh of Medusa by Helene Cixous

Contributed by: Alli

A Quote by Galileo Galilei on logic, mathematics, god, language, and universe

Mathematics is the language with which God has written the universe.

Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642)

Contributed by: talesh

A Quote by Robert Fulghum on time, goals, year, language, art, and philosophy

I'd like to speak a foreign language well enough to get the jokes.
I'd like to talk with Socrates, and watch Michelangelo sculpt David.
I'd like to see the world as it was a million years ago and a million years hence.

Robert Fulghum (1937 -)


Contributed by: Grace

A Quote by unknown on programming, language, and profanity

Profanity is the one language that all programmers understand.


Contributed by: Rachel

A Quote by John Ralston Saul on language, civilization, and obfuscation

One of the signs of a healthy civilization is the existence of a relatively clear language in which everyone can participate in their own way. The sign of a sick civilization is the growth of an obscure closed language that seeks to prevent participation.

John Saul

Source: Unconscious Civilization: Massey Lecture (Massey Lecture)

Contributed by: Richard

A Quote by Grace Hopper on most damaging phrase and language

The most damaging phrase in the language is:  "It's always been done that way."

Grace Hopper


Contributed by: Anu

A Quote by Jean-Francois Lyotard on postmodern, pomo, postmodernism, language, language games, joy, words, and word games

This last observation brings us to the first principle underlying our method as a whole: to speak is to fight, in the sense of playing, and speech acts fall within the domain of a general agonistics. This does not necessarily mean that one plays in order to win. A move can be made for the sheer pleasure of its invention: what else is involved in that labor of language harassment undertaken by popular speech and by literature? Great joy is had in the endless invention of turns of phrase, of words and meanings, the process behind the evolution of language on the level of parole. But undoubtedly even this pleasure depends on a feeling of success won at the expense of an adversary – at least one adversary, and a formidable one: the accepted language, or connotation.

Jean-Francois Lyotard

Source: Jean-Francois Lyotard [The Postmodern Condition (1979) pupl. Manchester University Press, 1984.]

Contributed by: Robert

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