"What is this about?"
Translation:Vad gäller saken?
I doubt it, since there's no such verb in English. We could try with What concerns the matter? but then you'd misunderstand the subject-object relationship – saken is clearly the subject here.
I was just wondering whether the German gelten could be somehow related to gälla. It means as much as to be valid, to be in force, to apply.
Yes, gelten is good. gälla also has those meanings. I'm not sure if they use gelten in exactly this way in German (can you say 'Was gilt die Sache'??) but another German option could be geht um.
PS can you say Um was geht die Sache? If you can, that would be a very good match. But even Um was geht es? is very close.
Indeed, um was geht es is a very common question to ask in Germany. Just as if you are asking about the plot of a movie: Um was geht es in dem Film / What is the movie about?. On the other hand was gilt die Sache is false. We'd rather say als was gilt die Sache, which means as much as what is [the] thing seen as? Further examples to use gelten are: Das gilt hier nicht / that doesn't apply here; das gilt für mich nicht / that doesn't apply to me or die Art gilt als ausgestorben / the species is seen as [or known as] extinct.
Thank you, this is very interesting to me as a German learner. So we must conclude that while gälla and gelten are good friends, they are not a perfect match. We'd prefer handlar om for what the movie is about: gäller sounds too formal. Det gäller inte här/mig are very good expressions, but for your example with gilt as ausgestorben , using gäller would sound very old-fashioned. I'd probably say räknas som eller anses vara.
Yep, I couldn't sumarize it any better :) I'm happy I can give something back in return from time to time, because I always see myself asking so many question :D. By the way, in German you can also just say wovon handelt der Film, which roughly translates as what does the movie deal with. I just came to my mind when you mentioned handla.
They indeed are cognates. They stem from Proto-Germanic *geldana.
One should perhaps add that "gelten" can also be used as part of an impersonal construction: for instance, "alle Aufmerksamkeit gilt dem folgenden Problem" (so the proper translation would be "is directed towards").
Is there some grammatical reason behind that? Just wondering if there's a general lesson here.
I don't know actually, I'll leave that question to Anrui and Arnauti who've designed most sentences.
I think it should be accepted. Maybe nobody added it yet because it isn't the most idiomatic way of saying this in Swedish. There's another expression vad gäller which means 'concerning', so it's possible we tend to avoid Vad gäller detta because it creates ambiguity – is it the beginning of a sentence like Vad gäller detta, så anser jag … 'Concerning this, I find …' , or is it just the question Vad gäller det (här)? But with the right stress it sounds fine.
Also of course it's the Swedish sentence that is the starting point here, as always, so the reverse translations can be slightly neglected at times.
Word order question - do you always have to start with the vad or could you phrase this sentence as "Om vad är det här" instead?
You could phrase it that way and get away with it as grammatically correct per se, but it sounds unnatural.
No, that's clearly wrong, you can't have om with gäller. (It's more like 'concerns')
You need it with handlar om which means much the same. (which is more like 'is about')
Okej tack. It's a little tricky with gäller because it doesn't seem to have a direct English equivalent. I see it a lot on road signs (gäller ej followed by a picture of a bus for example) and I take it as meaning applies to which is why I thought it might be able to take a preposition.
You're right about the meaning, it often means 'applies to'. I was thinking more of how it's constructed. Just like in English, verbs behave differently in this respect, only unfortunately they don't always behave the same in both languages :)
Vad rör det här sig om? För mig låter det rätt, men min svenska är minst sagt skakig.