Language speaks

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The hotel Bühlerhöhe Castle ("the Bühl Height")

Language speaks (in the original German Die Sprache spricht), is a famous saying by Martin Heidegger. Heidegger first formulated it in his 1950 lecture Language (Die Sprache),[1] and frequently repeated it in later works.[2]

Adorno expressed a related idea when he said that language "acquires a voice" and "speaks itself."[3]

The Language lecture

The saying was first formulated by Heidegger in the lecture Language (Die Sprache) in memory of Max Kommerell, first delivered on October 7, 1950 at the Bühlerhöhe building.[4] The lecture was translated in English by Albert Hofstadter in the 1971 Heidegger collection Poetry, Language, Thought.[5]

Quoting a Hamann's 1784 letter to Herder, Heidegger talks of language as an "abyss."

See also


  1. Lyon (2006) pp.128-9
  2. Philipse (1998) p.205
  3. Carsten Strathausen (2003) The look of things: poetry and vision around 1900, Volume 8, Issue 126, p.148-51
  4. Heidegger (1959) Unterwegs zur Sprache, references section, p.259, quote:

    Vortrag vom 7. Oktober 1950 auf Bühlerhöhe zum Gedächtnis von Max Kommerell und am 14. Februar 1951 bei der Württembergischen Bibliotheksgesellschaft in Stuttgart wiederholt.

    translation by Albert Hofstadter in Heidegger (1971), p.xxv, quote:


    "Die Sprache," in Unterwegs zur Sprache (Pfullingen: Neske, 1959). In this volume's references Heidegger writes: "The lecture was given on October 7, 1950, at Bühlerhöhe in memory of Max Kommerell and was repeated on February 14, 1951, at the Württembergischen Bibliotheksgesellschaft in Stuggart. The lecture, hitherto unpublished, has become known in the form of many transcripts and notes."

  5. Language, in Heidegger (1971) pp.187-ff