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August idiom: Kein Blatt vor den Mund nehmen

Let's start the month of August with a VERY German phrase: "Kein Blatt vor den Mund nehmen" which literally translates to "to not put a piece of paper in front of one's mouth". 
No, this is not about table manners. It means to be outspoken, direct, blunt, fearlessly honest. In English, you would probably say "to not mince words".

Culturally, Germans tend to be, on average, far more outspoken and blunt than most Anglo-Saxons are comfortable with. In fact, most Anglo-Saxons will consider Germans rude for that very reason when Germans intended nothing of the sort. Germans, on the other hand, tend to think that Anglo-Saxons are insincere and superficial. Cultural misunderstandings between these two groups are, to my everlasting amusement, the norm rather than the exception. 


"Gestern hat der Boss unseren Kollegen gefragt, wie ihm sein Job gefällt. Er hat wie immer kein Blatt vor den Mund genommen".
"Yesterday, the boss asked our colleague, how he likes the job. As always, he did not mince words". 

"Meine Mutter hat ihn gefragt, ob ihm ihr Essen schmeckt. Er hat leider kein Blatt vor den Mund genommen". 
"My mother asked him, how he likes her food. He was very blunt about the whole thing, unfortunately."

The origin of this idiom is traced back to the early days of the theater. Actors on the stage tended to be covered by masks and could say most anything they wanted without being punished. Jesters, particularly, had freedom of speech even in the most oppressive courts in Europe. Some theater groups were poorer and used just a piece of paper to cover their faces and were also protected. 
People who do not talk with that piece of paper in front of their mouths, speak freely and openly despite the threat of retribution. This is how our idiom came to be.
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