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I was listening to a song, and this line tripped me up: "Du böses Kind, bist aufgewacht nein wie geschwind."

I think it translates to "You naughty child, don't wake up so quickly," but if that's the case, why isn't it "nicht so geschwind"? I've never run into that kind of "nein wie" construction before. Is there a difference?

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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The word nein is not only the well-known negation. It can also be an interjection expressing surprise (positive or negative) or disappointment:

Nein, das ist aber schön, daß du hier bist!
Der Schlauch hat sich wieder gelöst. Nein wie blöd!

I’m not sure what the best equivalent in English would be, but oh should work most of the time:

You awoke, oh how so fast.

Note that the process of awaking is already over at this point.

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Would I be right to think that this use has become rather rare, or do I just live in the wrong part of Germany or the wrong sociological stratum? –  Carsten Schultz Oct 7 '13 at 15:41
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The part:

..., nein wie geschwind.

It could also be written and understood as follows:

..., "unglaublich" wie geschwind. // unbelievably how so fast.

... "und so" geschwind. // and so fast.

... "mann" wie geschwind. // man (dude) so fast.

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