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  5. "Wie ist dein Vorname?"

"Wie ist dein Vorname?"

Translation:What is your first name?

January 13, 2013



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


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?"


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.


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.


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.


In Hebrew we say איך קוראים לך which means "how do (people) call you?"


In Slovak - the same: "Ako sa voláš?"


In Italian it is "Come ti chiami?" (How do you call yourself? or How do you get called?)


French does the same too.


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


Hindi and Marathi are the same as English as well. "Tera naam kya hai," and "tuzha naav kay aahe."


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.


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


In Indonesian it's, if it's translated literally, "who is your name?"


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


Why doesn't it accept 'What is your forename'?


I would like to know this as well. I do know that forename has fallen out of common parlance, but it is in with what I learned four decades ago in junior high.


This is my question also. Forename and surname are as acceptable in English as first name and last name.


I'm no native English speaker, so I'd like to know if "how is your first name" is bad English or not, please?


Das ist nicht gut.

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


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


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.


The English for this should be "What is you first name?". At least for me - First Language AusEng. Using "how" is just horribly wrong, and would make me ask the speaker "Do you mean 'How do I spell it?', or 'How do I say it?', is that what you're asking?".


Correct solution is apparently: "How is your first name?" Seriously?

"Well, my first name is just fine today...yesterday it wasn't feeling too well though"


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


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.


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?


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?"



Same for portuguese. Age is a thing you have, not a thing you is.


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


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'.


"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.


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.


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


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


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?


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


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


"Is" is a linking verb. So "name" is the subject.


What is the difference between dein and ihr?


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.


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


Listed below: "What" wasn't in the options.


Should be "what" not "how"


Why is( how) used instead of (what) please can somebody explain tanks


I don't think I would understand what was meant (in English) by "how is your name?" I would probably answer "Fine, thanks. How is yours?"


This sentence makes no sense in English (with the "correct" translation)


It's great to know that "wie" is used here in German, but "How is your first name?" is incorrect English. No native speaker ever says that.

[deactivated user]

    Didn't they just have "WAS ist dein Vorname" in the previous lesson?


    Why not "was" ? Was ist dein Vorname?


    "What is your first name?" is a better translation — even though it's not a literal translation. English is my primary language, and I would be terribly confused if someone asked me "How is your first name?" (I would probably respond "My first name is not Howe" ("Howe" is a somewhat common last name and is often pronounced the same as "how"). Given that Duolingo focuses on practical rather than literal translations, I think this should translation should be changed.


    Once again, there is no argument with what the German is saying, or how it should be said in German, however, that is not how it would be said in English, the language into which the phrase is being translated.


    but Duo said that 'wie' means 'how' :(


    Wie und nicht wäs?


    That was kind of confusing,but asking for names can be a little tricky in all languages!

    I love this multilingual comment section,so i'll just give an example in my native language!

    In Turkish, we say "Senin adın ne?" which roughly translates to "Your name is what?"


    It should accept 'What is your forename?'.....


    So, in a previous exercise, "wie" was translated as "how". So I'm guessing wie is both "what" and "how" in German I guess?


    Ugh. Just go with it.


    This should allow forename as an answer. In english forename and surname


    Why not, What is your forename?


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


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


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


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


    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).


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


    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?")


    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?


    You're correct there. :)


    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?


    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.


    thanks devonwolf :D


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


    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.


    "¿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.


    Its "Cual es tu nombre?"


    "¿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?" :)


    And in French it is "comment tu t'appelles" - literally, "how do you call yourself?"


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


    Well, it sounds more like "Can you repeat your name because I don't remember it". It's not a sentence you would use in English the first time you meet someone. In English this German sentence means "What's your name?".


    Ahh, that makes it a bit clearer, thanks. I was wondering why "what" wasn't one of the listed words.


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


    In French it means "What's your name?". The meaning is different from How is it that you're called, which assumes that at least once the name has been said. It's something you would ask to hear again the name. In French you use "Comment tu t'appelles?" in the moment you meet someone for the very first time.


    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.


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


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


    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.


    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?


    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.


    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


    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 -----."


    2nd on never having heard the phrase "personal name." It may be regional.


    You would say, "personal name" if there were confusion as to which name you were asking for - like on a form. There is a surname, and there is a personal name (it used to be called "Christian name", but you can see why that has changed in recent times).


    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


    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.


    This is wrong plz fix this it should be WHAT not HOW :(


    Why you dont answer (deinem) Instead of (dein)


    Yes I also agree. Is this a mistake?


    "Was ist dein Vorname" is fine, but "wie ist/lautet dein Vorname" is a bit more proper.


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


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


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


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


    It certainly feels that way sometimes =/


    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'.


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

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