10 Inspirational Quotes for Language Learners

Do you – or your students – need some extra motivation when it comes to language learning? Even though most of us will agree that it pays to be bilingual, it can be difficult to remain optimistic when the journey to multilingualism feels like a never-ending road trip with countless dead ends.

The following quotes are a simple reminder that learning another language opens our minds and can lead to unforeseen opportunities.

Do you have another quote to add to this list? Share it with us in the comments section below!


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

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

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
‒Ludwig Wittgenstein

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

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
‒Chinese Proverb

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

To have another language is to possess a second soul.

Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.
‒Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
‒Oliver Wendell Holmes

52 thoughts on “10 Inspirational Quotes for Language Learners

  1. Sylvie GW says:

    “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” (Maya Angelou)

    “ Pick a destination, go there, be open-minded and talk to the locals. Eat the things they eat and go where they go. You don’t need to be fluent, just as long as you’ve got a smile on your face- people will be jumping over themselves to show you the stuff they’re proud of.” Jamie Oliver

    “They wound their way through a labyrinth of streets, partly following their noses, partly the orientation of the map. Jardines, Mirasol, Cruz, Puentezuelas, Capuchinas…
    Each word held its magic. They were like brushstrokes painting the landscape of the city, each one helping to build up a picture of the whole” “The Return”, Victoria Hislop

    “Muere lentamente
    quien se transforma en esclavo del hábito
    repitiendo todos los días los mismos trayectos,
    quien no cambia de marca,
    no se atreve a cambiar el color de su vestimenta
    o bien no conversa con quien no conoce.” Pablo Neruda

    “Eso de copiar cosas de gringos es malo para el alma” ” Eva Luna”, Isabel Allende

    « ….les langues étrangères : je ne pouvais pas m’ôter de l’idée qu’il s’y disait des choses trop intelligentes pour moi. » “Chagrin d’école”, Daniel Pennac

    « On commence à vieillir quand on finit d’apprendre » Proverbe japonais

    « Je suis certain que le fait d’avoir quitté nos pays respectifs nous a permis d’être nous-mêmes » « Partir », Tahar ben Jelloun

    “Ahora ella podía decidir qué se decía y qué se callaba. Qué se afirmaba y qué se negaba. Qué se daba a conocer y qué se mantenía en secreto, y en ese momento ése era su principal problema. No sólo se trataba de decir o no decir o de sustituir un nombre por otro, sino que al hacerlo se corría el riesgo de cambiar el significado de las cosas. Al traducir, Malinalli podía cambiar los significados e imponer su propia visión de los hechos y, al hacerlo, entraba en franca competición con los dioses, lo cual la aterrorizaba.” “Malinche”, Laura Esquivel.

  2. MARIA SIDERI says:

    Wittgestein: “τα όρια του κόσμου μου τα όρια της σκέψης μου, τα όρια της σκέψης μου, τα όρια της γλώσσας μου”.

  3. Bob A says:

    …the only normal way to begin speaking in a new language is to begin speaking badly!! –Greg and Angela Thomson, Growing Participator Approach

    Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language. –H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

    Learning languages is like learning history from the inside out. It encompasses the battles of ethnicity, religion, compromise, politics. So much can be learned from language because it’s been shaped by history. –David Webb, The Bourne Sanction, Eric van Lustbader

  4. Britanna Qic says:

    good quotes ! I love them . do you have like .. quotes about the subject english ? if so , please reply immediately and tell me what you got . thank you loves. by the way, i’m from britain. :)

  5. cindyF says:

    Nice! Some of these give me “goose bumps”!!! My language learning journey to gain proficiency in Spanish has been much longer than I planned for, but has sparked learning in so many other things: art, history, politics, fashion, religion, customs, holidays, etc… My list is long.

  6. Carmen says:

    Learning new languages is having the world in your hands. All the doors are open to those who are efficient in communication. You don’t have to be a perfectionist in grammar in order to communicate efficiently.

    In every language there are shortcuts & key words that allow you to understand & make yourself understood in that language. that’s how I am able to speak 7 languages.

  7. A says:

    belle frasi complimenti, ma per favore, boicottate google traduttore, è osceno e non promuove certo l’apprendimento delle lingue!

  8. Barbara Leonard says:

    You shouldn’t learn another language just so people can understand what YOU are saying to THEM. Enlightened language learners recognise the importance of understanding others speaking their own language.

    • Marie-Louise says:

      Dear Barbara,

      I really like your comment. It is different from the others, but it is profound and true. By listening to someone who speaks his or her native language, we learn about our own language too. For example, t0 leave a door wide open versus to leave a door “great” open (the latter is a translation). Even various pronunciations of the same sentence can impart different meanings.
      Thank you for your input.


  9. Mark says:

    I am reall inspired! Thanks for sharing. I am now learning my second foreign language, and it really requires discipline and a lot of hardwork….but the quotes are refreshing like a cold cup of water in a middle of the extremely hot dessert!

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