Because it is not the direct translation. The direct translation is "How do they call you?"
Because that doesn't show the real meaning :) "Как вас зовут?" is the exact phrase to ask someone's name :) And I suppose no one will use "how do they call you" instead of "what is your mane" for that purpose.
I really wish they would allow direct translations. For me, learning the word for word translation helps me think in the target language better than semantic translations do.
I thought I might be able to clarify. It seems "How are you called" would be an invitation to respond with nicknames that your friends gave you, as well as the name your parents gave you. "What is your name" seems to only ask for the name your parents gave you. I'm assuming one is used to be more open to someone, and more informal, while the other is meant to keep a respectful distant between each other, as in a formal situation.
That being said, I don't travel around enough and most of what I get is from books. Am I on the right track?
I understand that this is singular formal, but doesn't it also double as plural? Why won't it accept "Excuse me, what are your names?"?
Well isn't зовут in the singular here? If it were plural, I'd expect that to be plural as well.
Зовут is 3rd person plural. Such structure is common for Russian pseudo-passive when an action is performed by unspecified "persons":
- Так не говорят. = People don't speak that way.
- Говорят, что это невозможно. = It is said that this is impossible.
- Здесь строят дом. = A house is being built here.
The pronoun они MUST be omitted for such usage.
Is "вас" formal? If so, is there an informal form of "What is your name?"
Yes, "вас" is the formal/plural form of "you" in the accusative case (corresponds to "вы" in the nominative case). "Тебя" is the informal variant (corresponds to "ты" in the nominative), so you could say "как тебя зовут?" This would be considered rude with an unfamiliar adult, but you might use it with an unfamiliar child, for instance.
It is «Как тебя зовут?». Not that you will need «Извини, как тебя зовут?» much (with kids, maybe; or if you know that person already)
Difference between "вас" "ты" and "вы"? They all mean you, but when do I know when to use which one? Examples would really help, I would lpve to have that clarified seeing how they are each pronounced differently..
ты is a singular "you" (Middle English: "thou"), вы is a plural/polite "you". Each has its own forms:
- У тебя есть кошка. Это твоя кошка. Ты молодец.
- У вас есть кошка. Это ваша кошка. Вы молодец (молодцы, if talking to several people).
Politeness shows "respect" as well as some distance, so it is used with strangers and/or people your superior.
- ты is used inside one's family, regardless of age differences between the speaker and the listener
- ты is used towards kids regardless of the speaker
- ты is used by friends
- вы is used by kids towards adults outside their family
- вы is used by adults who don't know each other all too well
- вы is used towards your professor or your boss (unless you are in a tight and friednly company where everyone is on a first name basis and knowns each other)
- вы is what typically gets used by a computer asking a user to do something
- ты might be used by a stranger who is much older than you (like, 60 if you are 35). You are still expected to use вы in this case.
"Tы" is when you are talking to one person or a friend."Вы" is when you are talking to more people,and "Вас" is when you are talking to someone older than you :) I'm from Serbia,excuse if there is some mistake in typo :)
It is because it is asking for your name, rather than asking for your nickname. I hope this helps.
"Извините" is used when talking to a group of people or to someone you would call "вы" as a formal of 'you'. "Извини" is what you say to someone you would call "ты" as an informal of 'you'
Njega niko ne zove,on sam dodje :D I'm from Serbia,and I'm think I could help you a lot :D