The editor on the book I translated last year commented on my use of the word ‘thunder’ as a verb. According to her, it couldn’t be used like that. I pointed out politely that it could. The context was a priest thundering his sermon from the pulpit, as in shouting or roaring the words. It was a fire and brimstone kind of priest so I personally thought ‘thundering’ was a nice touch since brimstone means something like ‘sulphurous fire caused by lightning’.

There are of course lots of English words that can be used both as a noun and a verb but not all of them are obvious. Take ‘career’ for instance. If you see someone or a vehicle careering down the road, they’re travelling fast and there’s clearly a loss of control. They’ll very likely career into something at some point since you generally career towards something. Another noun that doubles as a verb, ‘bolt’, also describes a kind of motion; also at high speed but more in the direction of away from something rather than towards. A horse might bolt in fright. A cat might bolt out of the cat flap to escape the robot vacuum cleaner.

The title of this week’s blog is Ukrainian for ‘mother language’. It’s me showing off because I’m trying to learn a bit of the language before teaching Ukrainian children next week!