Quotes about the English language

These quotes about English and about foreign languages can help to give you a new perspective on your studies. Some are light-hearted, others more serious. None of these quotes are famous, so you probably can't use them in conversation, but they're a nice way to pick up a few new English vocabulary words while reading some interesting thoughts.

Quote Who
Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that despite all the progress that has been made in the past 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages. Dave Barry
Are you one of those people who uses words more for the sound than for the sense of them? Dean Koontz
England and America are two countries separated by the same language. George Bernard Shaw
English is flexible: you can jam it into a Cuisinart for an hour, remove it, and meaning will still emerge. Douglas Coupland
English is the language of a people who have probably earned their reputation for perfidy and hypocrisy because their language itself is so flexible, so often light-headed with with statements which appear to mean one thing one year and quite a different thing the next. Paul Scott
I came here and realized how truly limited my English was and it was very scary. I soon realized it wasn't going to be hard to learn - it was going to be nearly impossible. Salma Hayek
I know grammar by ear only, not by note, not by the rules. Mark Twain
I know your head aches. I know you're tired. I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher's window. But think what you're trying to accomplish - just think what you're dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language; it's the greatest possession we have. George Bernard Shaw
I learned English by going to American and marrying an Englishman who didn't speak French. That helped. Catherine Deneuve
I was trying to learn English and I was very worried about my accent. I'm sure I'll always have it but I remember Tom Hanks said to me, "Don't lose the accent. If you do, you're lost." Antonio Banderas
Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going. Rita Mae Brown
My spelling is wobbly. It is good spelling, but it wobbles and the letters get in the wrong places. A. A. Milne
Oh, God, I don't know what's more difficult, life or the English language. Johnathan Ames
Some of the subtance of English words I just don't understand at all because the culture is so strange to me. Yun-Fat Chow
Speaking English is like a tongue-twister for me. I can speak each word perfectly, but then you have to string them together, like "Blah, blah, blah." That's when I get crazy. Jackie Chan
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. Henry James
The barrier of language is sometimes a blessed barrier, which only lets pass what is good. Or, to put the thing less cynically, we may be better in new clean words, which have never been tainted by our pettiness or vice. E. M. Forster
The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Stephen Fry
There is no such thing as the Queen’s English. The property has gone into the hands of a joint stock company and we own the bulk of the shares! Mark Twain
They had nothing in common but the English language. E. M. Forster
To me it is very important to understand the nature of English and how it works. Shakira
To understand English is one thing; to understand an Englishman who talks is another. Aleister Crowley
What does it matter if you can speak two or more languages if you have nothing original to say in any language? Jarod Kintz
When I first came to America I made a lot of mistakes, like going to the hair salon and asking for a blow job instead of a blow dry. Penelope Cruz
With hard work, learning English, and getting involved, there is no limit on what you can achieve. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Writing in English is like throwing mud at a wall. Joseph Conrad