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Quotes about the English Language


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There's another thread that I misread as being for quotes about the English language, but was just for quotes in English, so I decided I would start the one I imagined myself.

My favourite, I'm sure you've seen it;

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."

—James D. Nicoll, in rec.arts.sf-lovers,

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That is a good quote limon.  English does use a lot of words from other languages when I think about it.  Kind of like the whole melting pot idea.  Now imagine if English ends up as the one global language.  Would people be happy with it?  I mean it does borrow elements from most other romance languages.

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Yes, great quote, limon.  And so true!   

As a opera buff this has always been one of my favorites:

“Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.”  -- H. L. Mencken

Here's a good one that highlights the peculiarities of the English language:

"Our language is funny – a 'fat chance' and a 'slim chance' are the same thing."  -- J. Gustav White

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The English language is like London: proudly barbaric yet deeply civilised, too, common yet royal, vulgar yet processional, sacred yet profane. Each sentence we produce, whether we know it or not, is a mongrel mouthful of Chaucerian, Shakespearean, Miltonic, Johnsonian, Dickensian and American. Military, naval, legal, corporate, criminal, jazz, rap and ghetto discourses are mingled at every turn. The French language, like Paris, has attempted, through its Academy, to retain its purity, to fight the advancing tides of Franglais and international prefabrication. English, by comparison, is a shameless whore.”

― Stephen Fry

Love the other quotes you guys have mentioned too!

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Great quotes, everyone.  I especially love Linguaholic's :D. Here a famous, and true, one from Pygmalion (which became the musical My Fair Lady"

An Englishman's way of speaking absolutely classifies him

The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him

The dialect are becoming less pronounced, but at the time and until recently this was quite true.  (My dad is British, and this is one of his favourite quotes)

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This isn't a formal, fancy quote from a writer, but it's something my sister's (Slovakian) boyfriend said:

"English sounds like those sounds you make with your mouth while you're chewing gum."

I can totally see that!  It's so flat sounding, so full of schwas.

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