1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Danish
  4. >
  5. "Hvad er klokken?"

"Hvad er klokken?"

Translation:What is the time?

May 9, 2015



Reminds me of when I read the Hebrew translation of Pippi Longstockings back in elementary, and there was a scene in which two burglars play dumb (if I remember correctly) and say they just wanted to know what ‘the clock’ was, so she explains to them what a clock is. In Hebrew the term is ‘ma hasha‘á (מה השעה, ‘what is the hour’), but it said ‘what is the clock’ and explained the phrase in a footnote, and it really amused me.


I though tid was time and klokken was the bell. Am I missing something?


"tid" is time, whether a point in time or a period.

"klokken" is both 'the bell' and can also be used about a point in time.


Maybe links back to a time when nobody knew the time until the local clock tower bell went (3 rings for 3 o'clock etc). So 3 bells would be 3 o'clock.


Fun fact: in some dialects "Hvad klok' er det?" is perfectly fine to say. People from dialects that don't say this usually think it sounds dumb. My advice is to not say it...


Can you also say: "How late is it?" (I'm not a native English speaker, my native language is Dutch)


You would certainly be understood, but that would not generally be said outside of specific circumstances ("I have a meeting tonight." "Okay, how late is it?" - even in this circumstance, it sounds a little weird).


Det er eventyr tid! :-)


What time is it? Sådan har vi altid sagt


I think "What is the bell?" should be an acceptable solution. While it is literal and the sentence is usually meant in a different sense, it is still a possible solution. For example, in a story, there could be a series of objects that look like one thing but are actually another. "The spoon is a salt shaker, the fork is a telephone, what is the bell?"

Learn Danish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.