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Metaphors- MQ as important is IQ

January 13, 2008 Idioms 5 Comments

I am re-reading Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”, since I will be going to NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) in New York next month, where he will be one of the keynote speakers.

He writes:

Metaphors- that is, understanding one thing in terms of something else. [..] metaphor is central to reason [...] Metaphorical imagination is essential in forging empathic connections and communication experiences that others do not share.

Having grown up with three languages, I have always been big on metaphors. Each language has given me something that I had/have a hard time expressing the exact same way in another language. Sometimes the translated word does not communicate the feeling and associated sentiment that it does in another language. When trying to transmit that to a speaker of another language, I usually resort to metaphors to represent it in a different way for them. I also feel that some languages (Spanish for me) are more metaphorical than others (German in my case) , which makes me wonder if speakers of those languages are better in communicating. So many times a metaphor in one language absolutely makes no sense in one of the other languages. I get blank stares when I try to use them and have to explain myself and the meaning.

Pink suggests to keep a metaphor log to

improve your MQ (metaphor quotient) writing down compelling and surprising metaphors you encounter.

Pink quotes Twyla Tharp, a choreographer who encourages people to boost their metaphor quotient, or MQ, because ” in the creative process, MQ is valuabe as IQ.”

Well I am will to give it a try and use this blog (and maybe twitter) to keep a metaphor log. Anyone else up for helping me expand my MQ by contributing your favorite metaphor. Any language is welcome, please provide a translation and meaning.

The last metaphor I heard was:

I feel like watering rocks

watering-rocks.jpg

Expressed when feeling frustrated about ones fruitless effort.

Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. When talking about walking kindergarten down the hall the first month of school:
    It’s just like herding cats.

  2. [...] been used to help understand the world around us. To continue to work on my Metaphor IQ which I wrote about last week, here are a two more [...]

  3. Kim Cofino says:

    A German one I just love:

    ohrwurm: literally, ear worm: when you’ve got something stuck in your head (a song, or a phrase). Something about that visual just sticks with me!

  4. “I’m busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.”

    It’s a regionalism that (US) Southerners use to describe that they’re not just busy, but are *really* busy.

    “I’m down like 4 flat tires.”

    This one was possibly made up by an acquaintance of mine to mean that he was interested in participating in an activity. I think it’s a twist on “I’m up for that”.

    I love the exploration of metaphor in different languages. When my students, who are now studying Pink’s book, reach metaphor, I’ll spend some time on the internationality of metaphor. Thanks for getting me thinking!

  5. [...] back to Daniel Pink’s book “A whole New Mind”. I wrote about Pink’s quote MQ (Metaphor Quotient) is as important as the IQ a while back. Infographics might fit the bill when it comes to incorporating many of the qualities [...]

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