Here’s a fabulous metaphor from French President Emmanuel Macron in which he evokes war, pain, inter-generational suffering and ultimately connection and renewal when arguing for the ongoing relevance of Europe in front of an audience of young people yesterday.
“L’Europe c’est une conquête, ce n’est pas seulement un héritage. N’oubliez rien, votre génération n’a pas vécu tous les drames qui ont précédé mais considérez que ce sont des cicatrices que vous portez de naissance parce que ces cicatrices pourraient être des plaies qui s’ouvrent”.
This translates as :
“Europe is a conquest, it’s not just an inheritance. Do not forget, your generation did not experience all the tragedies that preceded but consider that these are scars that you carry from birth because that these scars could be wounds that open. “
Macron is a rare modern master of this vivid style of communication particularly in his use of contrasts as well as images. And, as I’ve said a hundred times before…anyone who wants to make an impact on their audience should use images, no these are NOT the same as idioms, when they speak even when it’s not their mother tongue.
It’s not me saying this…it’s the neuroscience and I’d be happy to suggest books if people want to read up on it further.
Separately, I’m currently reading ‘I is an other’, James Geary’s book on metaphor and apparently, we utter one metaphor for every 10-20 words that we speak.
In this short Macron excerpt I counted six individual images as well as the organising/extended one. I wonder how politicians in Brussels would compare….
Native French speakers –or those non-natives who speak it better than me– please do get in touch and tell me if there are any that I’ve missed?
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