It's still preserved in legal language. 'Shall' in a contract means 'has a duty to'. 'Will' in a contract implies futurity. I actually do use shall in questions: I say 'shall we go to the cinema tonight?' rather than 'will we go to the cinema tonight?', which to me sounds like a question you would ask a fortune teller rather than a suggestion. But my Scottish SO does say 'will we go to the cinema tonight' as a suggestion, so it's certainly a regional thing.
I also use shall in questions all the time (I'm from Yorkshire, whether that makes any difference at all). I agree with your example, IC, using "will" there sounds like you're asking someone to predict it/tell you, rather than a suggestion.
"Shall" doesn't sound stuffy or old fashioned at the start of a question at all to my ears - I thought it was pretty standard actually (clearly not!)
In Danish, ville and skulle (present tense: vil and skal respectively) are used similar to English, vil is an intention to do something in the future, skal is a strong determination/necessity. A lot of the time in English "shall" and "will" are mixed up, not least because it gets contracted into "I'll", "You'll" , "(S)he'll" etc. Here is a page showing the traditional difference in English, which is slightly different to the Danish
Indeed! British English of a certain vintage preserved exactly the distinction between will and shall that Danish has between ville and skulle. So, my rather proper British father would have said "I will do it" meaning that he was telling me what he willed to do. On the other hand, if he said "I shall do it" he was making a simple statement about the future state of the world. And he grew up in North London between World War 1 and World War 2. Very rare today that these distinctions are preserved even in fairly stodgy editing.
As this link shows: http://www.grammarphobia.com/blog/2011/09/shall-will.html that used to be the rule, but not so much anymore. In other words, there is no distinction and especially in America, "will" is almost always favored over "shall".
Thanks. I can attest to the correctness of what you say at least in my little sub dialect of English, the America MidWest. Just about any use of "shall" sounds overly formal or stodgy. And my British cousin who now lives where my Dad grew up in the North London area seems mostly to have gone over to "will" except in expressing emphasis or determination.
So what does "det skal laves" really mean? "It should be done/fixed." OR "It will (as a prediction about the future) be done."?
If someone happens to know German, it is even more complicated there:
es wird getan werden (real future, a prediction about something that will necessarily happen in the future)
es soll getan werden (something that ought to be done, that someone is expected to do etc.)
jemand will es tun (the passive expression "es will getan werden" being kind of unusual here)
Considering that Danish "skyld" and "skal" are related, just like German "Schuld" and "soll", I would assume, the word "skal" implies something like an obligation to do something (which is the normal meaning of the German "sollen")?
So is the Danish "skal" a "real" future form, or does it express an obligation to do something?
For instance, "thou shalt not kill" ("you shall not kill") translates to "du sollst nicht töten" in German and does not express a future tense (this would have to be expressed like this: "du wirst nicht töten"), but a moral obligation! I guess, the English don't see it as a future either, right?
Furthermore, back to Danish: "Du skal ære din far og din mor" is (in German): "Du sollst deinen Vater und deine Mutter ehren."
So "skal" is not a future term, but an obligation, a commitment, a duty.
What is "skal" in "det skal laves"? Something that undoubtedly happens in the future or a duty?
I don't agree with this translation. The nuance of "skal" is more similar to an intention towards something. So, "Det skal laves" is better trabslated literally as "It shall be fixed" (in meaning, perhaps not in common usage). There's not really a good translation in English.