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  5. "Was ist dein Vorname?"

"Was ist dein Vorname?"

Translation:What is your first name?

January 20, 2013

50 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/y88f

What is the difference between Wie ist dein Name and Was ist dein Name?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SGA713

I wouldn't ask someone "Wie ist dein Name?" because wie means how, so Wie ist dein Name? translates to: How is your name? and then the other person could answer something like "my name is doing pretty well". However, you can ask "Wie heißt du?" (informal) or "Wie heißen Sie?" (formal).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GAZ-3937

According to another source, "Wie ist dein Vorname?" (Name, in your cases) is actually still used in German as a strange oddity despite falling out of use in English. That being said, for the sake of all of us who want to learn German, I think "Was ist dein Vorname?" is better as it is one less anomaly to memorize and should still make sense to a native German speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonathanDe121055

"Was ist dein Vorname" is not wrong, and people will understand you, but it's very strange to say. Nobody says that. "Wie ist dein Vorname" is much better.

  • the German guy sitting next to me.

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

Exactly. We have to remember that languages do not translate 1:1, and what seems odd in direct machine translation to English may not be odd in another language. I have spoken to many people from many different areas who all near-instinctively use "how" rather than "what" until they're corrected (and even then might use "how" unconsciously - "how is your name?" "How is your town called?")


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DianaM

My (raised speaking German) husband says, the "Wie ist" version sounds fine to him, but it implies something different - if you ask somebody, "Wie ist dein Name?", he says, you are asking how the name is spelled, or if you are looking at the printed name, you are asking how the name is pronounced. That is, the word for "spelled" or "pronounced" is implied. He says Germans do this a lot - leave off words that can logically be inferred. (ha ha - just what we learners needed to hear)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Buddy.Petroff

Ok. Why What's your name is not correct answer?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

The German sentence is asking for your first name, specifically, so we have to add that to the English sentence. If it was just "what's your name?" the German would read "wie ist dein Name?" or "wie heißt du?".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/almondhoney

I entered 'forename' instead of 'first name' and lost a heart...but they mean the same thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN

I have never heard anyone call a first name a "forename", but that just means it is not common. Is that a British way of talking?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndrewReed339520

Forename, and correspondingly Surname (meaning last name) is very common in British Standard English in every day usage as well as in terms of official form filling etc. ... I also used forename, for British users it would greatly help if it was accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nova46
  • 2010

It's a legitimate English word and means "first name." http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forename


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dusty_G

Me too, I've never heard forename. It's probably a different dialect. #DIALECTPROBLEMS


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pamphlet

In Romania, we don't even have the term 'first name'. When referring to the name, we say either forename (prenume) or just name (nume). If anything, it's extremely weird that you Americans have this issue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sililn

I really wish it would accept "forename". Obviously "vor" is where the suffic "fore" came from in English.

For me it really helps to figure out the literal translation and remember that. Like, the German word for pet is literaly house-animal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kaybekwa

Slight nitpick, fore- and vor- both came from a common ancestor, fore- is not a descendant of vor-


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hunter_boaz

When meeting a new person, is it strange to ask "Was ist dein Vorname?" Also, Is it appropriate to simply ask "Was ist dein Name?" or is it better to use "Wie heißen Sie?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve.ex24

Better to use Wie heissen SIe. Also, normally one would ask Wie ist dein Name, not Was...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/annierose5000

I was also wondering if it is not presumptuous to ask someone who has not volunteered their name, Perhaps I wish to be called, "Mrs. X" or "Mrs. Professsor X" and not, "hey, Annie...'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdamSprings

Earlier in Duolingo I got the sentence, "Wie ist dein Vorname?" translating to the exact same English question. Which one is used more in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlfonsoMPF

It’s a subtle difference. “Was ist dein Vorname?” (what) would be used as when somebody is asking you your name for the first time, while “Wie ist dein Vorname?” (how) sounds a bit more like asking how you say it or write it exactly, as if the person hadn’t understood it at first.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/volim_jastoze

I don't need it, but many of you here could: "zwiter Vorname - middle name".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/volim_jastoze

sure, thanks for the correction


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tor_Heyerdal

What's the difference between "Vorname" and "Vornamen"? A few questions back, I got "Ich kenne deinen Vornamen", but now this question is "Was ist dein Vorname?" What's going on here? I tried inputting "Ich kenne deinen Vorname", and Duo was all like "Nope. You're wrong, bud. Shoulda' been Vornamen."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

"Vorname" is a weak noun that gets an -n ending in all cases except nominative. It's nominative here, but "ich kenne deinen Vornamen" is accusative (as you probably already know), so it needs the -n ending. There's more about it here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tor_Heyerdal

Thanks! Can you possibly provide a link or something with more information about "weak" nouns? And are there also "strong" nouns? Or would those just be regular, non-weak nouns?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

The last sentence of my above post is a link to a page about it. Here's another one: http://www.vistawide.com/german/grammar/german_nouns03.htm

And I don't think About explain it very well, but you might prefer their table-light approach: http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/dernouns.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philipbelcher

What is wrong with 'forename'?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/weizenzubrot

forename is not accepted, why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/richardc316

I think 'Forename' should be accepted. I am English and it is very common here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jazzarm

Why not 'deine Vorname', again? Thinking 'Vorname' is feminine so it should be 'eine', 'deine' etc.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Katherle

"Vorname" is masculine, as are "Name" and "Nachname" (last name). That's why it's "dein Vorname."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jazzarm

Ah, thanks for the clarification. Still having difficulties remembering the exceptions to the 'ends with e is feminine' rule.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/steve.ex24

There is no such rule. In German, masculine nouns are turned into feminine by adding "in" at the end. For example, Lehrer - Lehrerin


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ziva87

If I learned it correctly, whenever you have a "composite noun", the gender is the gender of the original noun. For example: der saft, der orangenSAFT or der name der vorNAME ...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lialialia655

When saying my name is, should it be Mein Name ist ... or Mein Vorname ist? *not sure if it's mein or meine here, sorry


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SolomonPierce

You would use "Ich heiße". For your second question, it's "mein" for Name / Vorname because they are masculine words. Der Name, Der Vorname.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Atena_Ileana

I put "which" instead of "what". What is wrong, please?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

"Which is your name?" simply doesn't work in English (it's too closed for someone to answer with their name, for one thing - but even if you were trying to match a guest to a guestlist you'd be likelier to ask "who are you?" or "what's your name?"; "which is your name?" always sounds odd). "Was" can be translated as "which" in other contexts, but we always have to take context into account.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Atena_Ileana

Thank you for your answer. My English is not as good as I like it to be, but it's the only language available for learning other languages with Duolingo. I hope to improve it while learning German


[deactivated user]

    Why can't I just say 'What is your name'?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

    The German has specified "Vorname" even though just "Name" (or alternatively, "wie heißt du?") is fine, so we need to do the same in English too.


    [deactivated user]

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mattiecaldwell1

      Shouldn't this be "Was ist deinen Vornamen?"


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larkspire

      "Sein" doesn't change the case in German.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PrinceMala

      Wie ist dein Vorname is correct. Was ist dein Vorname es nicht reicht


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter159816

      After 7 years, NOTHING has changed and this blatant error has not been addressed! The word 'forename' is widely used here in the UK, yet I also got a red error message for using it. It is formal, but used frequently on forms and officially in conversation. Perfectly correct ENGLISH, albeit British; and not the American English that Duolingo seems to employ. Yet Duolingo is still marking it as incorrect.

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