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Quotes to do with the importance of English

Discussion in 'English' started by y9840125, Oct 16, 2007.

  1. y9840125

    y9840125 Occasional commenter


    Am trying to construct a 'What's in it for me?' board about English, i.e. why English is an important subject - what students will get from it. Am looking for quotes about the importance of English - does anyone have any good ones to share...this is the first one i have found

    'Studying English literature at school was my first step towards mental freedom and independence. It was like falling in love with life.'
    Ian McEwan
  2. y9840125

    y9840125 Occasional commenter


    Am trying to construct a 'What's in it for me?' board about English, i.e. why English is an important subject - what students will get from it. Am looking for quotes about the importance of English - does anyone have any good ones to share...this is the first one i have found

    'Studying English literature at school was my first step towards mental freedom and independence. It was like falling in love with life.'
    Ian McEwan
  3. "The minits of my language are the limits of my world" - Ludwig Wittgenstein

    "I learned long ago that being Lewis Carroll was more important than being Alice" - Joyce Carol Oates

    "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written." - Oscar Wilde

    "I donot see how it is possible for an intelligent human being to conclude that Song of Solomen is the work of God and Lear the work of an uninspired man." - Robert Ingersoll

    (Oh and don't include this but it made me laugh!)

    "The first draft of anything is always sh1t" - Ernest Hemingway
  4. Richard Steele, the Tatler: "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
  5. I've got a selection on a door sign which I've posted on my website - www.morelearning.net - Just look in the 'All Years' directory. My favourite one however is: 'There is no frigate like a book to take us lands away.' Emily Dickinson.

    I've got a huge list of quotations about reading which I got off the internet if you'd like them - some of them are good and some aren't! Email me on resources@morelearning.net if you want it.
  6. cheerysocks

    cheerysocks New commenter

    "a poem should be the axe that breaks the frozen sea in us"
  7. y9840125

    y9840125 Occasional commenter

    Thank you everyone!
  8. I love that one, cheerysocks!
  9. cheerysocks

    cheerysocks New commenter

    it is from the introduction to a newish Bloodaxe anthology called I think "Staying Alive"- itmay have been the successor to that "Being Alive".

    I can't remember if it is the editor or if they are quoting someone. I do know my Curriculum Assistant who was re-typing my notes on the introduction for use in our pithy English Sayings board- this very afternoon ringing me to ask " What the heck does that mean?!"
  10. Lose yourself in a book
    Find yourself in a poem


  11. My current fave:

    'We read to know we are not alone.' CS Lewis

  12. whelk

    whelk New commenter

    ?The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.? - Mark Twain
  13. He also wrote this.
    From Open Writing:
    "The first time I was in Egypt a Simplified Spelling epidemic had
    broken out and the atmosphere was electrical with feeling engendered by
    the subject. This was four or five thousand years ago - I do not
    remember just how many thousand it was, for my memory for minor details
    has suffered some decay in the lapse of years. I am speaking of a former
    state of existence of mine, perhaps my earliest reincarnation; indeed I
    think it was the earliest.

    The Simplifiers had risen in revolt against the hieroglyphics. An
    uncle of Cadmus had come to Egypt and was trying to introduce the
    Phoenician alphabet. He was challenged to show cause. The exhibition and
    discussion took place in the Temple of Astarte, and I was present. So
    also was the Simplified Committee, with Croesus as foreman of the Revolt
    - a simplified speller of acknowledged ability. The Simplifiers were
    few; the Opposition were multitudinous. Among the Simplifiers were many
    men of learning and distinction, but all ranks and conditions of men
    and all grades of intellect, erudition, and ignorance were represented
    in the Opposition.

    As a rule the speeches on both sides were temperate and
    courteous, but now and then a speaker weakened his argument with
    personalities, the Revolters referring to the Opposition as “fossils”,
    and the Opposition referring to the Revolters as “those cads,” a smart
    epithet coined out of Uncle Cadmus.

    Uncle Cadmus began with an object lesson, with chalk, on a
    couple of blackboards. On one of them he drew in outline a slender
    Egyptian in a short skirt, with slim legs and an eagle's head in place
    of a proper head, and he was carrying a couple of dinner pails, one in
    each hand. In front of this figure he drew a toothed line like an
    excerpt from a saw; in front of this he drew three skeleton birds of
    doubtful ornithological origin; in front of these he drew a partly
    constructed house, with lean Egyptians fetching materials in
    wheelbarrows to finish it with; next he put in some more unclassified
    birds; then a large king, with carpenter's shavings for whiskers and
    hair; next he put in another king jabbing at a mongrel lion with a
    javelin; he followed this with a picture of a tower, with armed
    Egyptians projecting out of the top of it and as crowded for room as the
    cork in a bottle; he drew the opposing army below, fierce of aspect but
    much out of drawing as regards to perspective. They were shooting
    arrows at the men in the tower, which was poor military judgement
    because they could have reached up and pulled them out by the scruff of
    the neck. He followed these pictures with line after line of birds and
    beasts and scraps of saw-teeth and bunches of men in the customary short
    frock, some of them doing things, the others waiting for the umpire to
    call game; and finally his great blackboard was full from top to bottom.
    Everybody recognized the invocation set forth by the symbols: it was
    the Lord's Prayer.

    It had taken him forty-five minutes to set it down. Then he
    stepped to the other blackboard and dashed off "Our Father which art in
    heaven," and the rest of it, in graceful Italian script, spelling the
    words the best he knew how in those days, and finished it up in four
    minutes and a half.

    He went to a fresh blackboard and wrote upon it in hieroglyphics-

    “At this time the King possessed of cavalry 214,580 men and
    222,631 horses for their use; of infantry 16,341 squadrons together
    with an emergency reserve of all arms, consisting of 84,946 men, 321
    elephants, 37,264 transportation carts, and 28,954 camels and

    It filled the board and cost him twenty-six minutes of time and
    labor. Then he repeated it on another blackboard in Italian script and
    Arabic numerals and did it in two minutes and a quarter. Then he said:

    "One of the objections to the hieroglyphics is that it
    takes the brightest pupil nine years to get the forms and their meanings
    by heart; it takes the average pupil sixteen years; it takes the rest
    of the nation all their days to accomplish it - it is a life sentence.
    This cost of time could be employed more usefully in other industries,
    and with better results.

    "If you will renounce the hieroglyphics and adopt written
    words instead, a tremendous advantage will be gained. Not by you. You
    have spent your lives in mastering the hieroglyphics, and to you they
    are simple, and the effect pleasant to the eye, and even beautiful. You
    are well along in life; it would not be worth your while to acquire the
    new learning; you will naturally cling with affection to the pictured
    records which have become beautiful to you through habit and use, and
    which are associated in your mind with the moving legends and tales of
    our venerable past and the great deeds of our fathers, which they have
    placed before you indestructively engraved upon stone. But I appeal to
    you in behalf of the generations which are to follow you, century after
    century, age after age, cycle after cycle.

    Lift this heavy burden from their backs. Do not send them
    toiling and moiling down to the twentieth century still bearing it,
    still oppressed by it. Let your sons and daughters adopt the written
    words and the alphabet, and go free.
    (Uncle Cadmus then gave a withering
    comparison of German and English spelling, and Twain’s ideas about an
    improved alphabet.)

    Uncle Cadmus sat down, and the Opposition rose and
    combated his reasonings in the usual way. Those people said that they
    had always been used to the hieroglyphics; that the hieroglyphics had
    dear and sacred associations for them; that they loved to sit on a
    barrel under an umbrella in the brilliant sun of Egypt and spell out the
    owls and eagles and alligators and saw-teeth, and take an hour and a
    half to the Lord's Prayer, and weep with romantic emotion at the thought
    that they had at most but eight or ten years between themselves and the
    grave for the enjoyment of this ecstasy"


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