"What is wrong?"
Translation:Was ist falsch?
Can someone explain how 'wrong' creeps into what should be literally translated as 'What is?'
You ask "Was ist?" when you assume that something is wrong. "Was ist los?", "Was ist denn?" or "Stimmt was nicht?" go in the same direction.
Right? They shouldn't make us guess that. There's no way a beginner could tell it's commonly used as a complete sentence. They do that sometimes, though--the trick questions.
Literally, yes. But if you ask someome "What's wrong?" if you see that they are upset, you say "Was ist?" in German.
I guess 'Was ist falsch?' is 'what is incorrect', right? Could you use it when, say, someone is panicking and you're trying to find out what's wrong?
Yes to your first guess. As the others mentioned above, to ask what's up or what's wrong, it'd be "Was ist los?" or just "Was ist?" (presumably just a shortened version of the former).
Oh! so it looks like "What's up?" :D (I'm trying to connect both languages in a memorizable way) :D
Which is what "What's wrong" means in English 95% of the time. If you wanted to ask what was factually incorrect you'd ask something like "Which bit is wrong?". Or can 'falsch' in German also just indicate generally "not-quite-okay"?
I (nativ) wouldn't use "falsch" as 'not-quite-okay' generally. It sounds too strong as 'totally false'. If you want to ask what's factually is incorrect, you'd better use these ones: "Was (genau) ist falsch?" (What's exactly wrong?) or even "Wo liegt der Fehler?" (Where is [lit.: 'lies'] the fault?)
Although it has been many, many decades since middle school and high school german class, I do recall that "Was ist los?" was always given to mean "What is wrong?". I will never understand what the goal is here sometimes.
Falsch is wrong, schlecht is bad. You can ask though "What is bad?" e.g. when you are in student cafeteria, you can ask, which meal is bad and which is good:)
Makes perfect sense to me. I say "what is it?" when I can tell something's wrong.
Does this also translate to "what's wrong?" in the same sense as "what's the matter?"
Why is "Was ist?" not accepted? Is this not a normal way of asking what's up or what's wrong?
The (short) forms "Was?" / "Was ist?" / "Was ist los?" / "Was ist denn?"... are a kind of slang. They are mainly used if you approach/disturb someone without saying a word. Then he/she might ask you (maybe being nerved) this, meaning "What do you want (from me)?"
On the other hand "Was ist falsch?" / "Stimmt was nicht?" is only used if there is something wrong or you think that or someone gives you a questioning look. However the diffrences are only little...