Why is "Is it a good thing?" correct? If sak and ting can both mean "thing", what would you say are the biggest differences between the words?
In this instance I feel it would be extremely context dependent to have sak mean "thing", I can't really think of a good way to incorporate it at all at the moment. Well, if you were in the humour section, godsaker means delicious stuff (food items, drinks, attractive people etc), you could make a cheap pun by asking er det en god sak.
Especially god sak is almost a set phrase, to be working for "a noble cause". (If you were talking about a legal case, it would be more common to use the verb ha.)
Sak carries 5 meanings.
- A legal case
- Business/case/balances/affaires ("this (thing) is between you and me" sort of affaires. Mind your own "business")
- Cause/task/purpose, circumstances (noble "cause".)
- A truth (I'm telling you like it is, here's the "thing" ..)
- A thing/stuff
Ting carries 2 meanings.
- See sak 2. And sort of 4 (I don't understand a "thing").
- A thing/object. Used in philosophical terms (the intrinsic value of "things")
At a guess, I'd say that 'sak' is related etymologically to the English word 'sake'. The meaning seems close enough anyway.
Is it possible to translate 'det' with 'this' instead of 'that'? Is there a difference between this and that in Norwegian?
Yep. You can actually use both but Denne is this when you want to be specific (I think that is what germans call Accusative) .. and that could be det...