I stream some Swedish crime/mystery TV shows. And more than once I have heard "undrar" in the spoken version being translated as "asking" in the English subtitles. Specifically it went "Varför undrar du? translated as "Why are you asking me?" Can native Swedish speakers please illuminate how "att undra" might be used as a substitute for "att fråga"? Is it a common idiomatic usage?
Thanks. Using "wonder" in the interrogative in English as in "Why do you wonder?" is much closer in meaning to "Why are you thinking about that?" "Why does it concern you?" We would not use wonder to translate Varför frågar du?" That would almost certainly be "Why do you ask (me)?" or Why are you asking (me) that?" with or without an ojbect pronoun.
Glad to know that it is idiomatic in Swedish. I will listen for it.
Well, that specific translation is very free of course, for one thing we would never accept it in this course. Specifically, adding you is very free. But then again, real life translations and what we are doing here are totally different things.
My spontaneous translation of Varför undrar du? would be more like 'Why do you want to know?' But, Why are you asking? could also work. In a narrative context, you can certainly see things like X undrade varför …Y svarade att … where undrade clearly means that they asked the question aloud. Though you could have written that sentence in English with 'wanted to know' too: 'X wanted to know why … Y answered that …' Which would probably be a closer translation, but not always the most functional one.
Basically, you can't be really sure from the verb undra alone whether the person wondered aloud or just in their head. You have to guess from context.