I thought "зовут" refers to calling as in "calling someone something", "naming something", and if given the English sentence I would use "звонит". what exactly is the meaning of the sentence "наши братья зовут нас."?
The meaning is "Our brothers are calling us". Not on the phone, just using thier voice. Or else it can mean "our brothers are inviting us". Or indeed it could mean "our brothers call us (something)" if there was the name they use: "наши братья зовут нас (кем-нибудь)".
I also thought it was interesting that the same word is used to convey both meanings - to use a particular name for a person, and to summon or get someone's attention - as it is in English. So much of the time it seems we have to separate concepts into two different terms when learning a new language.
it's easier than the other way around-- having to use more words in the foreign language (like russians trying to learn is, are, the etc.)
Coild it also has a more poetic meaning like "there is war outside, our brothers are calling us"?
Why "bratya"? Why is the plural not the same as most words and just "bratyi"?
It's an exception. There is a handful of other words that have the same plural form:
Стул — стулья (chair - chairs)
Лист — листья (leaf - leaves)
Муж — мужья (husband - husbands)
Сын — сыновья (son - sons)
Друг — друзья (friend - friends)
Just memorise them.
Just a few examples, there are many more:
There is no strict rule; in this example both "зовут нас" and "нас зовут" would work.
Can we use it in the sense of 'telephoning us' or just 'calling us by our name'?
"To call" in the sense of "to telephone" is "звонить". "Звонить" also means "to ring".
Okay, thanks! I think it's 'calling by your name' because My name is would be у меня зовут
It's not necessarily calling by name, just calling as in trying to get someone's attention. For example if someone calls for help its "он/она зовёт на помощь" even if they don't address anyone personally.
Could братья mean like spiritual brothers or just comrades or does it have to be real siblings?