An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





It's a damn shame we have this immediate ticking off in the mind about how people sound. On the other hand, how many people really want to be operated upon by a surgeon who talks broad cockney?


Eileen Aitkins (1934-, British stage screen actor)


Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


Speech of yourself ought to be seldom and well chosen.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


It's better to keep your mouth shut and give the impression that you're stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.


Rami Belson


Language is legislation, speech is its code. We do not see the power which is in speech because we forget that all speech is a classification, and that all classifications are oppressive.


Roland Barthes (1915-1980, French semiologist)


Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches.


Otto Von Bismarck (1815-1898, Russian statesman, Prime Minister)


Oaths are but words, and words but wind.


Samuel Butler (1612-1680, British poet, satirist)


The basic rule of human nature is that powerful people speak slowly and subservient people quickly -- because if they don't speak fast nobody will listen to them.


Michael Caine (1933-, British-born American actor, acting teacher)


From my earliest days I have enjoyed an attractive impediment in my speech. I have never permitted the use of the word "stammer." I can't say it myself.


Patrick Campbell (1913-1980, Irish humorist)


They that are loudest in their threats are the weakest in the execution of them. It is probable that he who is killed by lightning hears no noise; but the thunder-clap which follows, and which most alarms the ignorant, is the surest proof of their safety.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead: therefore we must learn both arts.


Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881, Scottish philosopher, author)


Speech is the gift of all, but the thought of few.


Cato The Elder (BC 234-149, Roman statesman, orator)


Speech and silence. We feel safer with a madman who talks than with one who cannot open his mouth.


E. M. Cioran (1911-1995, Rumanian-born French philosopher)


In speaking, it is best to be clear and say just enough to convey the meaning.


Confucius (BC 551-479, Chinese ethical teacher, philosopher)


The only happy talkers are dandies who extract pleasure from the very perishability of their material and who would not be able to tolerate the isolation of all other forms of composition; for most good talkers, when they have run down, are miserable; they know that they have betrayed themselves, that they have taken material which should have a life of its own, to dispense it in noises upon the air.


Cyril Connolly (1903-1974, British critic)


Talk is over-rated as a means of settling disputes.


Tom Cruise (1962-, American actor)


Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.


Dionysius of Halicarnassus (31 B.C.-14 AD, Greek historian)


What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.


Hansell B. Duckett


Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. It is to bring another out of his bad sense into your good sense.


Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882, American poet, essayist)


Listening to someone talk isn't at all like listening to their words played over on a machine. What you hear when you have a face before you is never what you hear when you have before you a winding tape.


Oriana Fallaci


Nothing is more despicable than a professional talker who uses his words as a quack uses his remedies.


Francois de Salignac Fenelon (1651-1715, French writer)


Speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.


Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774, Anglo-Irish author, poet, playwright)


For mankind, speech with a capital S is especially meaningful and committing, more than the content communicated. The outcry of the newborn and the sound of the bells are fraught with mystery more than the baby's woeful face or the venerable tower.


Paul Goodman (1911-1972, American author, poet, critic)


Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.


Hermann Hesse (1877-1962, German-born Swiss novelist, poet)


Sweet Benjamin, since thou art young, and hast not yet the use of tongue, make it thy slave, while thou art free; Imprison it, lest it do thee.


John Hoskins (1566-1638, British lawyer, wit)


Why doesn't the fellow who says, "I'm no speechmaker" let it go at that instead of giving a demonstration?


Kin Hubbard (1868-1930, American humorist, journalist)


Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot.


D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930, British author)


Speech is the small change of silence.


George Meredith (1828-1909, British author)


Speech is civilization itself. The word... preserves contact -- it is silence which isolates.


Thomas Mann (1875-1955, German author, critic)


What has influenced my life more than any other single thing has been my stammer. Had I not stammered I would probably... have gone to Cambridge as my brothers did, perhaps have become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


Great speeches have always had great soundbites. The problem now is that the young technicians who put together speeches are paying attention only to the soundbite, not to the text as a whole, not realizing that all great soundbites happen by accident, which is to say, all great soundbites are yielded up inevitably, as part of the natural expression of the text. They are part of the tapestry, they aren't a little flower somebody sewed on.


Peggy Noonan (1950-, American author, presidential speechwriter)


Speeches are not magic and there is no great speech without great policy.


Peggy Noonan (1950-, American author, presidential speechwriter)


Man does not speak because he thinks; he thinks because he speaks. Or rather, speaking is no different than thinking: to speak is to think.


Octavio Paz (1914-1998, Mexican poet, essayist)


When you have spoken the word, it reigns over you. When it is unspoken you reign over it.


Arabian Proverb (Sayings of Arabian origin)


People resent articulacy, as if articulacy were a form of vice.


Frederic Raphael (1931-, British author, critic)


Speech is external thought, and thought internal speech.


Antoine Rivarol (1753-1801, French journalist, epigrammatist)


The world does not speak. Only we do. The world can, once we have programmed ourselves with a language, cause us to hold beliefs. But it cannot propose a language for us to speak. Only other human beings can do that.


Richard Rorty (1931-, American philosopher)


Most men make little use of their speech than to give evidence against their own understanding.


George Savile


Speech is always bolder than action.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


Speech is always bolder than action.


Johann Friedrich Von Schiller (1759-1805, German dramatist, poet, historian)


I don't want to talk grammar. I want to talk like a lady.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Speech is the mirror of action.


Solon (636-558 BC, Greek statesman)


We have as many planes of speech as does a painting planes of perspective which create perspective in a phrase. The most important word stands out most vividly defined in the very foreground of the sound plane. Less important words create a series of deeper planes.


Konstantin Stanislavisky (1863-1968, Russian actor, theatre director, teacher)


Nothing seems to me so inane as bookish language in conversation.


Marie-Henri Beyle Stendhal


All speech, written or spoken, is a dead language, until it finds a willing and prepared listener.


Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895, Scottish essayist, poet, novelist)


The Bible among other books is as a diamond among precious stones.


John Stoughton


Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is.


Publilius Syrus (85 BC- 43BC, Roman writer)


Speech has been given to man to disguise his thoughts.


Charles Maurice De Talleyrand (1754-1838, French statesman)


Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: Colossians 4:6


The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: but not so many as have fallen by the tongue.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)

Source: Ecclesiastes 28:17-18


Speech is for the convenience of those who are hard of hearing; but there are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


A long tongue shortens life.


Author Unknown


A talk is like a woman's dress. Long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to be interesting.


Author Unknown


I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.


Author Unknown


If you don't want to read it, see it or hear it, don't say it.


Author Unknown


I've decided to discontinue my long talks. It's because of my throat. Someone threatened to cut it.


Author Unknown


Never try to impress people with the profundity of your thought by the obscurity of your language. Whatever has been thoroughly thought through can be stated simply.


Author Unknown


The mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working the minute you're born and never stops working until you get up to speak in public.


Author Unknown


A witty saying proves nothing.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


Men use thought only to justify their wrong doings, and speech only to conceal their thoughts.


Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778, French historian, writer)


There are remarks that sow and remarks that reap.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951, Austrian philosopher)


Speech is human nature itself, with none of the artificiality of written language.


Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947, British mathematician, philosopher)


Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself, it provokes me forever, it says sarcastically, Walt you contain enough, why don't you let it out then?


Walt Whitman (1819-1892, American poet)


Many great writers have been extraordinarily awkward in daily exchange, but the greatest give the impression that their style was nursed by the closest attention to colloquial speech.


Thornton Wilder (1897-1975, American novelist, playwright)


I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.


Woodrow T. Wilson (1856-1924, American President (28th))


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