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Danish word of the day: Gider

Here's a word that might come in useful, if you feel like reading about it.

What is gider?

Gider is the present tense of the verb at gide, which has no exact English translation but can be roughly understood as meaning either “to feel like” or “be bothered to do” something.

For example, jeg gider ikke tage opvasken (“I don’t feel like doing/can’t be bothered to wash the dishes”) is a phrase you might hear someone say at the end of a tiring day, and it can just as easily take both the milder and stronger forms of expression in the two translations offered above.

A similar verb, at orke, is a slightly stronger version of at gide so is probably closer to “can’t be bothered” than “don’t feel like”: Jeg orker ikke arbejde på en lørdag (“I really don’t want to work on a Saturday”).

It’s common to hear children say gider ikke in formulations like det gider jeg ikke, which would be the equivalent to “I don’t want to” in response to being asked to do a chore.

On the flip side, you can also gide godt when you are keen to partake in something. Skal vi ses til et glas vin på fredag? – Ja, det gider jeg godt (“Shall we meet for a glass of wine on Friday? – Yes, I’d like that”).

Why do I need to know gider?

It’s a common and very useful verb which, apart from the meanings outlined above, also has a lot of nuanced uses, particularly when it appears in its (irregular) past tense form, gad.

For example, gad vide, literally “I’d have liked to know” is a good approximation of “I wonder”. Jeg gad godt vide om et menneske kunne svømme lige så hurtig som en haj (“I wonder if a human could swim as fast as a shark”).

Relatedly, gad se can be used to say you’d like to see something happen in the future. Jeg gad virkelig godt se Danmark vinde VM (“I’d really like to see Denmark win the World Cup”).

Returning to past tense, gider du lige can be used as a polite way of asking someone to do something and can act as a substitute for “please” in a similar way to venligst, a word we’ve written about previouslyGider du lige tørre bordet af, tak? means “Would you mind wiping the table please?”

Just as children say gider ikke when they don’t want to do something, adults can use gider to make a request while implicitly expressing exasperation, possibly in response to disobedience or a lack of cooperation, for example: Gider du godt holde op med at drille din lillebror? – “Would you please stop teasing your little brother?”

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For members


Danish word of the day: Folk

This Danish word is a word for the people.

Danish word of the day: Folk

What is folk?

Folk simply means ‘people’, but it is used in a great number of ways, and in a great number of words. 

Folk or volk is the Germanic equivalent of the Latin populus, which is the origin of the English word people, the French peuple, the Spanish pueblo, and many more.

Folk is cognate with the English, Norwegian and Swedish folk, and the Icelandic fólk, the Dutch and German volk, as in Volkswagen, which means ‘the people’s car’ — usually called folkevogn (“people’s wagon”) in Danish.

Why do I need to know folk?

Being such an important word, you can find it used in many other words. 

Folkeregistrering is the process by which Danish residents are entered onto the Centrale Personregister (CPR). The purpose of the CPR is to be a register of basic information including name, date of birth and address, and the number under which you are registered is used as a form of identification in many public and private services. In short, life in Denmark doesn’t really work without one.

Folkekære, which means something like “dear to the people” is a term often used to describe veteran actors or celebrities who are popular with pretty much everyone — singer Kim Larsen or actor Ghita Nørby, for example.

Then there’s the use of the word in folkeparti, “people’s party”, used by three different political parties which traverse the ideological spectrum: Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party), Det Konservative Folkeparti (The Conservative Party) and Det Socialistiske Folkeparti (The Socialist People’s Party)-

Sometimes it just means a group of people, as in der er masser af folk på gaden – “There are a bunch of people out on the street.”

Sometimes it means ‘the people’: folket or det danske folk can be used to refer to the public in general.