"call a spade a spade"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jun 18 00:58:06 UTC 2008

So the translator took a negative that Merkel
spoke (presumably she said she did *not* "talk
around the hot porridge", if I am interpreting
that idiom correctly as avoiding an issue), and
turned it into a positive (she *does* "call a spade a spade")?


At 6/17/2008 07:57 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard wrote:
>     Maybe someone already mentioned this
> earlier in the thread, but Merkel (who, I
> believe, speaks little or no English) did not
> use the phrase "call a spade a spade."  I saw
> her speak on a German news program, and the
> expression she used in German was "um den
> heißen Brei herumreden," i.e., when she was of
> a different opinion than our president, she was
> very straightforward in telling him so.  The
> German expression literally means "to talk
> around the hot porridge," and Merkel said this is something she did *not* do.
>     The German idiom is usually translated as
> "to beat around the bush."  Maybe since our
> president's name is "Bush," the translator
> tried to avoid this by writing instead "call a spade a spade."
>Gerald Cohen
>From: American Dialect Society on behalf of James Smith
>Sent: Tue 6/17/2008 4:17 PM
>Subject: Re: "call a spade a spade"
>Or, is this phrase still used in European
>English in its original sense, with no racial meaning?
>James D. SMITH                 |If history teaches anything
>South SLC, UT                  |it is that we will be sued
>jsmithjamessmith at yahoo.com     |whether we act quickly and decisively
>                                |or slowly and cautiously.
>--- On Mon, 6/16/08, Paul <paulzjoh at MTNHOME.COM> wrote:
> > > The Same Dowd piece, datelined Paris, also included
> > this:
> > >
> > >
> > >> 'Angela Merkel dodged when asked at a press
> > conference whether she would miss W., but said she liked
> > being able to "call a spade a spade with
> > him."'
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > >> Twas that a fox paw, an indication of a lack of
> > familiarity with American vernacular, or merely a
> > hopefully-NOT noteworthy phrase?
> > >>
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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