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Ich habe mal eine deutsche Frau gefragt, "was ist neues bei dir?".

Ich habe erwartet, dass sie mit "nichts" antwortet, weil es nichts Neues bei ihr gab, aber sie hat mit "Nein" geantwortet, ich war richtig überrascht. Hat sie recht mit ihrem "Nein" anstatt "Nichts" als Antwort? Oder ist das Dialekt (die Frau kommt aus Norddeutschland)?

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    I think she didn't hear the ist and thought you asked "gibt's was Neues bei dir?" for which the correct answer would be "Nein". – miep Sep 11 at 12:12
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As user miep said in a comment to your question, she might have understood you as

Gibt’s was Neues bei dir?

»Nein« as an answer would then be fine. The reason I assume this misunderstanding is that

Was ist Neues bei dir? (A bit better: Was ist neu bei dir?)

is not idiomatic in German. Nobody I know (native speakers, of course) would say that. It sounds like a literal translation of

What’s new with you?

but it doesn’t sound natural in German. Instead, you could ask as mentioned above, or you could say:

Was gibt’s Neues (bei dir)?

Was gibt’s Neues” assumes something new (“What’s new?”) while “Gibt’s was Neues” asks whether there are news or not (“Anything new?”). One is answerable with yes / no, the other asks for more information. But they’re used almost interchangeably.

  • Thank your very much for yours detailed explain! – Khaled Sep 11 at 20:31
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“Was ist neues bei dir?” can mean “Etwas ist neues bei dir?” And in this case "Nein" is a logical answer.

"Was" as an abbreviation of "etwas" is not rare, and the the usual way to disambiguate the two is by intonation. For example, "Was ist los?" with a falling intonation on the last syllable means "What's up?", but with with a rising intonation it can also mean "Is something up?"

  • Thank you Tony for more informations – Khaled Sep 11 at 20:32

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