"Wie ist dein Vorname?"

Translation:How is your first name?

January 13, 2013

83 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/lucilaughs

"What" did not come up in the stupid word list thingamajig!!!!

April 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/polomare

Think of "wie" as a cute little oddity of the German language. Think of this sentence as saying: "How is it that you are called?". Someone might have phrased it this way in English a long time ago, but this wording has mostly fallen into disuse in English. Clearly, it persists in German. As for the "like" translation - don't think of it as "liking" something, It means "similar". In other (somewhat awkward) wording, you could think of it as "What is your name like?" ("What other name, that I have heard before, is your name similar to?")

April 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/devonwolf

To elaborate on that, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong: I've always been taught that "Wie heißt du?" is the usual way to ask someone's name, at least conversationally; would "Wie ist dein Vorname?" only be used if the question is pointedly asking for a first name, like on a form?

January 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Lmao_Me
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You're correct there. :)

January 28, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MoAl2

I once decided to use omegle to meet random germans to practice , it went like this: hallo, hallo , wie heißt du? you are not a native speaker are you? *no I'm not ........how could he tell? It was only in text, I concluded that "wie heißt du" is not that common, I think "wie ist dein name" is more common speech, am i correct?

December 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/diceycat

I think he knew because you used "du" , the informal word for you. The correct question would be "Wie heißen Sie?“ That's my take on it.

January 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/StephMrqs

thanks devonwolf :D

December 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/philster043

Thanks for that example "How is it that you are called" - that really helps me remember how "wie" can be used here.

June 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MorenoAlejandro

hehehehe yeah :) in Spanish we have the same difference :) we say ¿Cómo es tu nombre? or even ¿Cuál es tu nombre?. ¿Cómo te llamas? is the most common.

October 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/KahHilzinEc

"¿Cómo te llamas?" (informal) and "¿Cómo se llama?" (polite), both meaning "How do you call yourself?", are the most common ways of asking in Spanish, I believe.

April 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SyamkumarR
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Its "Cual es tu nombre?"

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ana_81
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"¿Cómo es tu nombre?" (very usual but I don't think it's quite correct) is exactly what came to my mind when I had to translate "Wie ist dein Vorname?" :)

May 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AntonyHodgson
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And in French it is "comment tu t'appelles" - literally, "how do you call yourself?"

December 12, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Ibrahim_Intabli

Like in French when saying "Comment tu t'appelles?" === "how is it that you're called", but both meaning: "What's your name"

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Nickster1989
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Ahh, that makes it a bit clearer, thanks. I was wondering why "what" wasn't one of the listed words.

January 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Maximus21jr

Thanks. I was confused by this sentence but you cleared it all up very well, thanks!!

March 21, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/juliaspanish1
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Oh ok. Thanks because I was just about to comment asking why "what" didn't show on the word box thingy. That is a cool way to think about it.

April 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Charel_Nrld

So, it is the same form in asking of "How is your name called?" nor "what is your name?"

June 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/newdoc

I know, lucilaughs. And why wouldn't it be Was?

December 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Dhruv_Singhal

This is by far the best and most multilingual discussion thread I've seen in Duolingo. Toll!

March 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/NomadaJaime
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Yes, asking for names is something that seems to be quite idiomatic in all languages. In Spanish, the usual way to ask for someone's name translates literally to "How do you call yourself?"

August 16, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/MotazMJ
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In Arabic it's like English. ما اسمك؟

March 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/stephensoldner

I'm learning Japanese in addition to German and it seems to flow like English: おなまえはなんですか (o namaewa nan desu ka), like '(your) name what is?'. Figured I'd toss this out there as this thread is pretty fun.

April 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mathso2
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Sorry if this seems a bit lengthy and off-topic, but...

I'm learning Japanese too, and I find that Japanese is different again because English is a SVO language. This means that the thing doing the action (subject) is first, followed by the verb, then the thing that the subject is doing the verb to (object) comes last. This is consistent in English and German, for example:

"I eat bread." (Subject: I, Verb: to eat, Object: Bread)

"Ich esse Brot." (Subject: Ich, Verb: essen, Object: Brot)

However Japanese follows the SOV pattern, so the same sentence that was demonstrated before becomes:

私はパンを食べます。(Subject: Watashi, wa is a particle but let's not worry about that, Object: Pan, wo is another one of those particles, Verb: Taberu)

In this particular case, it doesn't matter too much, but in other sentences Japanese doesn't flow at all like German or English.

March 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tusy22
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Seeing the number of languages represented here, I might just throw in my Hungarian. First I was like why is it Wie?, then it hit me that in Hungarian we also ask this way: Hogy hívnak? Hogy hívják? which means How are you called? (informal and formal, literally word by word). However, we can also say if we want to know your name, for example on a form: Mi a neve/keresztneve/vezetékneve? What is your name/first name/family name? A bit of a mix. By the way stephensoldner I've heard that Hungarian is almost as difficult as Japanese because of the verb conjugation.

August 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/jhokiok

In Slovak - the same: "Ako sa voláš?"

May 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/FisherLiz

French does the same too.

September 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Uberflieger

In Polish - the same: "Jak się nazywasz?"

January 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/RVinit
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Hindi and Marathi are the same as English as well. "Tera naam kya hai," and "tuzha naav kay aahe."

June 12, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/cooperd2
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In Italian it is "Come ti chiami?" (How do you call yourself? or How do you get called?)

October 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/OgnjenG.

In Serbian, "Kako se zoveš?" or "Kako se ti ono beše zoveš?", is little archaic similar to English phrase ""How is it that you are called?" mentioned by polomare.

November 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/memyself9
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In Hebrew we say איך קוראים לך which means "how do (people) call you?"

February 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Charel_Nrld

In Indonesian it's like "Siapa namamu?", not "Apa namamu?"

June 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RayRabil

I t would be good teaching if these "cute little oddities" were presented BEFORE springing them on us in a test.

March 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/thiagoleal
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I'm no native English speaker, so I'd like to know if "how is your first name" is bad English or not, please?

May 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/ColmM
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Das ist nicht gut.

No, you would never say "how is your first name"......usually you would say "what is your first name".

May 8, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/LFke4rs932

Anyone else thrown by how "ist" was pronounced here? I slowed it down and that was even worse.

September 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/_ELIXIR_
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I reported the same problem a few days ago. When you repeat the sound in the slow mode, it sounds as 'liest', not 'ist'. It was a common problem on every German courses in Duolingo. I do thank for the Duo team's hard work. And I don't want this to sound just an unreasonable complain to them, but really it does sound like 'Liest' in the slow mode.

December 30, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SS80121

yeah I mean I thought that "i" should be pronounced short if there are two consecutive consonants following it, which should make "ist" sound almost exactly the same as you would pronounce it in English... or is this one of the exceptions?

April 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexGuti
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This reminds me of "how old are you?" in English. For Spanish speakers it is difficult to understand it means "Que tan viejo eres?" Because in Spanish we are used to say "Cuantos años tienes?"

:O

February 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/AramatiPaz
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Same for portuguese. Age is a thing you have, not a thing you is.

January 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/damfino
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Would you use the familiar to ask a first name? If you dont know someone's first name, you're not familiar with them. Please, correct me if I'm wrong.

May 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/jwkrasow
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I understand using wie for wie heißen Sie -- 'how are you called', but in this particular case I don't see why 'was' isn't a better fit

July 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/livianabra

Italian speaking : why we cannot say "which is your first name?"

August 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/stephensoldner

From the English side: 'Which' implies a choice from an array of names. It would sound odd to someone if you asked them this. If you were looking at a list of names, 'Which' would work. However, if you're just asking someone, as this context implies, 'which' does not work.

From the German side: 'wie' doesn't correspond with 'which'.

August 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/BillWesley2

"Was" is more straight forward. The translation is stupid. A good English translation would be "What is your first name". If you said "How is your first name"? to any English speaker he would have no idea what you were asking.

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EntropyMan
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The program did not accept "personal name" for Vorname, which it certainly should have. Also, when I click on the report error button, nothing happens. Shouldn't there be some kind of feedback? In all fairness, this is a fairly impressive program. Kudos to whomever is responsible for it.

March 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Renato_MOliveira

Are you a native English speaker? I never heard anyone refering to the name as personal name. I was taught "name" for the first name and "surname" for the family name...am I wrong? Now another interesting thing was the suggestion from duo: "prename"... Does that even exist?

March 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/EntropyMan
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Renato, I am. Born in Manhattan, grew up in Queens, studied, worked and retired in Michigan. According to the article in Wiki, personal name includes first, middle and last names, but later in the same article, under Name order, they contrast personal name with surname. So I used personal name correctly, but given name might be more common. First and last name works, but not for East Asia, where people put the family name first. Prename sounds like Latin praenomen. Romans had to account for their clan in their names as well as their family, so they had four names.

March 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Renato_MOliveira

Thank you! I am not a native speaker and that's why I wanted to be sure. We tend to mix our English with some influences of our own language. As for "prename", I can understand it's origin, I'm Portuguese, I just never heard about it's existence but according to the internet it does exist and in my own language too ahah

March 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/sweetladylioness

Renato, just for reference, most English speakers don't use the phrase 'personal name' in conversation. That is very formal, almost something that is mostly used by linguists. Unless it's a regional thing. No rudeness intended to anyone who does use it in conversation. I have never heard anyone in my life say, "My personal name is -----."

July 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/ZachBaker8
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2nd on never having heard the phrase "personal name." It may be regional.

July 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Seolferwulf
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Just had this same question twice back to back, the first was spoken/written german to english "was ist dein vorname" second it was just spoken german "wie ist dein vorname" both answers were "what is your first name" why would it do that, and which one would (normally) be used? Vielen dank.

June 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/-Sapphira-
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Can you also say "Wie ist dein Name" to ask someone's first name? Because when someone asks you your name, it's understood as your first name. Is it different if I go to Germany?

February 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Claudiaferreres

How come that they translate "wie" as "what"

March 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/borQhuester

Why is 'dein' used, instead of 'deinen'?

April 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/lulubeck
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"Is" is a linking verb. So "name" is the subject.

May 8, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/borQhuester

Danke!

May 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/DP-TMJ

What is the difference between dein and ihr?

April 2, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Bill925924
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The translation for this is given as 'How is your first name?', to which the answer presumably would be 'My first name is very well, thank you.' I think something's gone wrong here. Shouldn't it be 'What is your first name?' As a native speaker I've never heard somebody say 'How is your first name?' Sounds weird.

May 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ArthurBusc

English speaking people never ask this question. You might possibly ask, "What is your first name?" or, "How do you spell your first name?"

June 1, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/SamMiller581152
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Listed below: "What" wasn't in the options.

August 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/jazzyrat1
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This is wrong plz fix this it should be WHAT not HOW :(

December 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/lhCAlZ3u

Should be "what" not "how"

February 16, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/KeithBarton

why is the word for "how" used here rather than "was"?

September 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JadeLaura94

does anyone know if saying "wie" instead of "was" is regional? My German boyfriend thought I was mad when I asked him about using wie, as he would say "was ist dein Name" instead

January 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/ChristophBassi

This is incorrect, one does not say "Wie ist dein Vorname" very commonly, perhaps in very formal situations, but rarely. Well, according to my native German mum anyway.

August 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Abhra1992

It would appear more correct as: Was ist dein Vorname?

January 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/coolmi

you are relating english with german literally, but it does not work that way always! for eg. "Wie gehts" is like "whats up"

January 28, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/disbelch

Although this is "how goes?" so it does literally translate..

May 20, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/philster043

Though a less awkward translation of that would be "how goes it" but yeah, that is common.

June 13, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/lingding

Actually, 'was ist dein Vorname' is technically incorrect. I don't know if it exists colloquially or not, but I do know that I was corrected for saying it incorrectly once when I was in Germany. "Wie" is what you are supposed to use - "wie ist dein Name" or "wie heissen Sie" - (polomare does a good job explaining it further in one of the comments above).

July 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/grand_sbor

It's curious that colloquial Russian has the same expression with the word normally meaning "how" ("Как ваше имя?")

June 20, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/MuhanadMah
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Why you dont answer (deinem) Instead of (dein)

December 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/qbufm07
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Yes I also agree. Is this a mistake?

January 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/myra
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"Was ist dein Vorname" is fine, but "wie ist/lautet dein Vorname" is a bit more proper.

January 17, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/seyibright

can't we use "Welches ist dein vorname"?

December 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/SSAbrar

Kashmiri language goes with English here.. " tche kya chhui naav" .. German is a topsy turvy language

December 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/steveo6

Wie means how - Was means what! Seems like they go out of their way to be misunderstood/

June 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/VirgilJSchmidt

It's not like German was created out of English and then twisted to become some sort of code.

August 4, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/The_Tao

It certainly feels that way sometimes =/

January 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/hutcho66

Yes, but in many languages (and ages ago in English), it is more common to ask something along the lines of "How are you called?", or "How are you named?", and they also retain a question like "How is your name?", which doesn't make sense in English now. Just because we do something in English, doesn't mean it is correct in other languages!

For example, Italian - Come ti chiami? - 'come' = 'how'.

July 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/StephanieM97947

I just look at memorising it, not trying to figure out why, but then I do speak English and Spanish

December 23, 2013
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