Actually, «Вас» in «Как Вас зовут» is Accusative, not Genitive. But «Вас» is the same in Accusative and in Genitive (unlike «мамы»/«маму»).
Literally it's "How do [they] call your mom?".
By not using a pronoun, and using a 3rd person plural verb form, you create an indefinite-personal sentence. Such sentences are used when the person doing the action is unknown and unimportant, and are often translated into English with the passive, hence "How is your mom called?" or, more idiomatically, "What is your mom's name?"
ма́ма → ма́му ‧ [ Звать ] transitive verb [ переходный глагол ]
‧ Accusative Case - Direct Object ‧ Whenever a verb, like "read", "cut" or "want" acts directly on some noun, the latter is a Direct Object. Such Nouns take the Accusative case. ‧ Formation - Feminine nouns ending in -а / -я have a separate form. «Мама» is a good example ‧ ма́ма → ма́му ‧ www.duolingo.com/skill/ru/Accusative-Case%3A-the-direct-object/tips-and-notes ‧
@Ealantair - Forgive me, but I can't reply directly from my phone. I'm not a native speaker, but from what I know, the 《ты》form of this sentence would be, 《Как зовут твою маму》.
is "how do you call your mom?" not correct even though that's a direct translation?
That would rather be "Как ты зовёшь свою маму?" or "Как вы зовёте свою маму?" My mom's name is Nadezhda, but I don't call her that, for sure :-)
The direct translation is "How do (they) call your mom?" But the person asking this question just wants to know her name, so it's better to use the most common English way to ask that.
I was in Russia several years back and asked someone this very question. However I didn't have a grasp of word order and put зовут at the end of the sentence, as in, "How is your mom called?" Как тебя мама зовут? (Yes, I also said "your mom" in the nominative). The person understood but I'm wondering now how badly I butchered the sentence - ?
What would be the singular/non formal (Ты) equivalent of this sentence? I'm a bit lost when it comes to different pronouns in different cases
I wrote "how's your mum called?" Apparently it's not right. I though it would be.
In English, you would need to say "What's your mum called?" if you want to ask her name in that style. "How's she called"... is an adverbial expression, meaning with what means is she called. For example,"How do you call your mum in for lunch? Do you shout her name or do you sound the dinner gong?"
So I translated it "What is your Mom's name?" - as I have done on probably the last 20 times I translated this phrase - and this time it gets marked wrong - this is pure BS - they can't even be consistent in simple translations. If I go to a translator - any translator and type in this translation - I invariably get "какое имя вашей матери?" but if i used this translation - using матери instead of маму - it would also be marked wrong -- I copied from the discussion below about accusative versus genative endings - "Such sentences are used when the person doing the action is unknown and unimportant, and are often translated into English with the passive, hence "How is your mom called?" or, more idiomatically, "What is your mom's name?"" - and here the answer is exactly what I typed in for the translation but Duo tells me it is wrong. The repetition kills me but what is even worse is the duality of translations in the same crown level - accusative branch.
No. It is not idiomatic and I would never say that in English. You could say instead "What's your mum called" or "What's your mum's name?"