12

Macron's victory in France has got me wondering what would be the best way to capture the phrase "En Marche" in Latin?

My first thought was to use the incedere with perhaps prorsus, but the English meaning of "to march" is probably intruding into my thinking. Alternatively, there's progredior, which might work best, as it can refer to normal going forward or military marching (cf. Caesar Bellum Gallicum 7.14).

Any other suggestions on how to best capture the French idiom?

Update:

In French, en marche has the sense of "moving forwards." If a train is en marche, it's currently in motion. While in ordinary language marche can mean step or walk, there is a sense still related to the English march (which, of course, is related to it). "Marching on" means going forward, and of course "going forward" is neatly tied to the idea of "progress."

Perhaps a native French speaker with an ear to current usage can add any further detail.

  • 1
    I would be inlined towards a gerund or an adhorative: progrediamur! It also depends on which possible context of the phrase you want to capture. – Cerberus May 7 '17 at 22:59
  • 1
    Bearing in mind how the optative andiamo fills all sorts of needs in Italian, perhaps the 1st pl. present of the Latin etymons would work. ambulamus or the vulgar Latin ambitamus, "We are on our way." – Hugh May 7 '17 at 23:03
  • 2
    The slogan is "En marche !" with the exclamation point. This punctuation gives more hints at what it conveys. The meaning is when you're on the verge to start walking in a group and everybody is waiting for the "let's go" signal. "En marche !" is one of those possible signals, such as "let's go" could be. The exclamation point is a very important part of the slogan. – Olivier Grégoire May 8 '17 at 8:16
  • 3
    Plus ultra? It's been used for centuries. – Alex B. May 8 '17 at 20:38
  • 2
    Everyone, please stop answering in the comments. Write your answers as answers. An answer does not have to be wonderful to be useful. Posting an imperfect answers is far better than commenting, and it helps the site. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 8 '17 at 20:47
8

Quo Eundum!

Hard to translate, but the idea is: Let's go where we should!

(See explanation of new answer in my post script at bottom of page.)

========

Perge!

Keep going!

My suggestion is a simple imperative. This, admittedly, is without knowing the nuance and origin of En Marche! in French. My French knowledge does, however, tell me how important the phrases " ca (with cedille) marche." and "ca ne marche pas" are. That works. That doesn't work. My suggestion is only capturing the idea of movement forward.

cf. Forza, Italia! (Go, Italy!), the Italian soccer cheer, coopted for political purposes.

See Lewis and Short entry for pergo, pergere:

In gen., to go on, continue, proceed with any thing (esp. a motion), to pursue with energy, prosecute vigorously

From Cicero Ad Familiares, 7,18:

qua re perge, ut coepisti; forti animo istam tolera militiam.

Therefore, go on as you have begun: endure your military service with a strong spirit.

I thought I knew perge from medieval mottos, but apparently I only know it from a prep school in NYC called St. Bernard's.

Perge sed caute

Go forward, but be cautious.

==========

POST SCRIPTAM

Another possible translation of the idea of En Marche!:

Pergentes quo eundum est!

or:

Quo eundum est!

or just:

Quo Eundum!

As you can tell by my original answer, I liked the verb pergere to show movement forward. I agreed with comments about possible use of gerund or gerundive. I myself had been wondering about a participle. So, I did a search on gerund and participle forms. I found an intriguing sentence in Seneca that gave me the ideas above. It is in a discussion of the right way to live.

Seneca De Vita Beata, VII,1 (accessed on Perseus)

Nihil ergo magis praestandum est, quam ne pecorum ritu sequamur antecedentium gregem, pergentes non quo eundum est, sed quo itur.

Nothing, therefore, is more important than that we should not, like sheep, follow the flock that has gone before us, and thus proceed not whither we ought, but whither the rest are going

I've simply made Seneca's negative a positive, quo eundum est from the negative non quo eundum est. The idea of direction is marked by quo. The contrast between going the way that must be taken (quo eundum est) and taking the way that just follows the path set by the previous flock (quo itur) maybe gets at the element of change En Marche! connotes. I dropped the est of eundum est to make a compact two word phrase in emulation of the French. In addition, the Oxford Latin Dictionary has an entry for eo, ire that notes the verb's emphasis on initial movement with a meaning of setting out on a journey. This usage supports the needed meaning here quite well.

  • 4
    The main connotation of "En marche" in French is indeed "let's go", i.e., "let's get started on our way", but there is also another nuance because saying that a device is "en marche" means that it is "operational". See for instance en-marche.fr/emmanuel-macron/le-programme which talks about "mettre la France en marche" which I understand as "to start France" (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/mettre_en_marche) – a3nm May 8 '17 at 2:00
  • 1
    @a3nm I wonder if a gerund(ive) can be read as having both connotations. My Spanish-biased intuition says it can, as in andando! – Rafael May 8 '17 at 17:03
  • @Rafael, I agreed with you and went looking for an answer that had precedent in Latin usage. Thanks for your comment. – user1466 May 8 '17 at 22:50
  • @a3nm, thanks for your comment. It helped me search for a more nuanced Latin translation. "Eundum est" introduces the idea of necessity, rightness and movement in a very compact way. – user1466 May 8 '17 at 22:59
6

My simple suggestion: Prōrsum! (Forwards!)

No Latin phrase will be able to capture the French "en marche" perfectly — unless you are overly verbose, but that dilutes the slogan. I'm not sure this is a good match (French is my sixth best language…), but let me still try to reason why it might work.

The original French phrase is not a verb but an adverb. Although similar meanings can be captured with Latin verbs in various forms (incede, incedamus, and similarly with several other verbs), I find it a little more natural to use an adverb. This shifts the focus from a specific action to a specific direction. I don't think prorsus and "en marche" describe exactly the same direction, but it was the closest Latin adverb I could think of. There is a greater variety to choose from in verbs, but I prefer an adverb if possible.

Let me also point out that prorsum (or prorsus) does not comment on the current state of affairs. The meaning of something like "continue!" depends on the (desirability of) status quo.

If you want, you can consider adding una (together) to prorsum, but I'm not sure if that takes the tone closer to or further from the original French.

It seems that the adverb prorsus or prorsum can have a short or long o. Macron seems very appropriate to use in this context, so I chose a long one.

5

How you would translate it also depends on which possible context of the phrase you want to capture. Is it more like "we should be marching!", or "we will succeed by/in marching forward"?

I would be inclined towards a simple adhorative:

Progrediamur!

This is best translated as "let us go forward!". It is a present subjunctive used in its adhortative function. It is passive because progredior is a deponent verb.

Using a gerund is also possible:

Progrediundo!

Progrediundo vincemus!

"Marching forward (we will win)!"

Replace the u with an e if you so prefer: the u is I believe a bit more archaic or poetic, but that might fit the context.

  • 1
    Can progredi(u/e)ndo also have a connotation close to exhortative? Perhaps progredientes? This is the answer I like the most so far. What about the verb adeo? – Rafael May 9 '17 at 10:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.