What this blog is for and about

I also offer personally-tailored, individualized English conversation practice (including etiquette) and coaching in writing techniques. Finally, I edit texts such as magazines, business proposals, memorandums, emails so they are presented in English which does not embarrass you or your organization. For further details, please mail me at: language.etiquette@gmail.com

Remember: all pictures can be expanded to full page size by clicking on them.


19 February 2012

"A good bonk"

In the late 1980s the barrister, author and playwright, John Mortimer (author Rumpole of the Bailey), came to Moscow to help produce some Shakespeare plays at the Arts Theatre. He describes his experiences in his autobiography, Murderers and Other Friends. The passage below, beginning with “I am translating this short story”, illustrates yet another of the perils that await the non-native user of English.

The first Russian to email me with a correct definition of the phrase in question will have his or her name entered in the draw for that bottle of Glenfiddich.
     For non-Russians, most of whom can be expected to know what a good bonk is: the most amusing account of a comparable encounter in Russia will also go forward to the draw for the whisky which is still produced by the Grant family in the valley of the deer (glen fiddich is the anglicised version of gleann fiadh which is the “valley of the deer” in Gaelic).


  1. Hi,
    The last sentence in the text above is a good joke. I hope tha gal was attractive. Well, the auld lang syne of the Russian literature's tradition would have it as 'find a courtesan to spend time/share the bed with', etc. Which for now doesn't seem that appropriate. So I suggest "остановился в мотеле, чтобы перекусить и перепихнуться/попробовать местной еды и девчонок".

  2. For a 'good bonk', I'd use "перепихон" - or just "секс" (perhaps with an adjective), depending on which context it is used in.


  3. Oh, now I understand how it happens that the most brain-drying and mind-blowing English coursebook was written by Bonk.

    Bad, bad bonk.