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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

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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DANISH WORD OF THE DAY

Danish word of the day: Uoverskuelig

For when you just can't deal.

Danish word of the day: Uoverskuelig

What is uoverskuelig? 

This word contains skuelig, a substantive from of the verb at skue, which means “to view” but is not common in spoke Danish, where at se på or at kigge på (“to look at” in both cases) are more likely to be used to refer to looking at or viewing something.

At skue is often used in a more literary sense and can be compared to saying “consider” or “regard” when talking about looking at something. If you “cast your eyes upon” an object or landscape, you skuer it.

With the prefix over- , overskuelig means something that is possible to get a clear view of, to comprehend its full extent. Figuratively, this means to fully understand, master and be in control of something – not just to look at it.

The negation particle u reverses this meaning, giving you something that is hard to comprehend or deal with, so much so that you don’t really know where to start.

Why do I need to know uoverskuelig? 

It’s a curious and very commonly used word but one that is notoriously difficult to translate accurately into English.

As a side point, I think the double vowel at the start gives it a nice aesthetic. Lots of negated words are like this – uuholdelig (“unbearable”) and uafbrudt (“uninterrupted”) to name a couple of examples.

If you have a task – or more broadly, a day – ahead of you that you just don’t feel you have the energy or knowledge to deal with, you can say it’s uoverskuelig. In verb form, jeg kan ikke overskue means the same thing – approximately, “I can’t deal/cope with”.

Not being able to overskue something can be related to its size or complexity, but can also reflect your own condition – if you are feeling extremely tired, even a trip to the supermarket can be uoverskuelig.

It is also commonly used without the negation: Kan du stå for aftensmaden i dag? – Ja, det kan jeg godt overskue (“Can you take care of dinner today? – Yes, I can handle it”).

Examples

Jeg skal have kigget min forskudsopgørelse igennem, men det er lidt uoverskueligt.

I need to look through my tax return, but it’s quite complex.

Jeg kan aldrig overskue at tage på arbejde om mandagen.

I never feel like going to work on Mondays.

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