Rhetoric: Cicero, Fischer and Obama

Maccari-Cicero“ by Cesare Maccari - [1]. License via Wikimedia Commons.

In his new book Mythos Redemacht (Fischerverlag), the German linguist Karl-Heinz Göttert compared speakers from the last two thousand years. Surprisingly, he discovered that great modern speeches have very similar characteristics to the classic ones in regards of stylistic devices, form and effect. For example, he recognizes that Obama speeches use a high grade of example based argument structures while former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has a lot of similarities with Cicero who is to be considered as the outstanding speaker of the ancient world.

Dem ehemaligen deutschen Außenminister Joschka Fischer etwa bescheinigt Göttert „ciceronianische Sprachkunst“ [...] Cicero nahe sei Fischer etwa im frechen Sprachwitz, in den klaren Antithesen, in der augenblicklichen Wortschöpfung, im meist ironisch angewendeten Pathos.

Source: Die Presse: "Mythos Redemacht": Goldmund Obama und Cicero Fischer

Spiegel Online postet an interesting interview with Göttert (in German as well): "Brüllerei stößt uns heute nur noch ab"