1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "あの、お名前は何ですか?"

"あの、お名前は何ですか?"

Translation:Um, what is your name?

June 9, 2017

124 Comments


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

I think "あの" and "えと" are just like their english counterparts of "umm" and "err" when you're thinking or hesitating and just like them can sometimes be drawn out "えとー".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Benjidesu1

Yes, "あの" and "えと" are Japanese filler words, and some English equivalents would be: "umm", "err", "uh", "huh", "well", "so" and "like".

In English these types of words are a part of something called "speech disfluency". They interrupt the flow of otherwise fluent speech and are therefore best avoided. But i get the impression that they're more accepted in Japanese, and not necessarily considered to be "speech disfluencies", especially "あの".

For example the sentence: "あの、お名前は何ですか?".

In this sentece i would NOT translate "あの" as "um". I would translate it as: "Excuse me". and "あの、お名前は何ですか?" would therefore be translated as: "Excuse me, what is your name?".

Because in this case "あの" is used as a way to ease yourself into the question: "お名前は何ですか?", and in this case "あの" arguably fills an importent role to make the question more polite.

Where as "um, what is your name?" sounds very unnatural and is definitely considered to be a speech disfluency.

Anyway, that's just what i learned.

TL;DR Yes, "あの" and "えと" are used as filler words equivalent to the English: "um". However in this case it is in MY OPINION wrong to translate "あの" as "um". As "um" sounds very unnatural in this specific sentence. Because in this case "あの" acts as a way to ease yourself into the question, and makes the question more polite than just "what is your name?". So i would translate "あの、お名前は何ですか?" as: "Excuse me, what is your name?".


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

It would help if DL Japanese had an 'idoms' (or something like it) section as other DL languages do. These 'filler words' as you call them are very important to know, but they resist strict translation.


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

Petition of an idiom section, I'm here for it! Honestly this would be so helpful.


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

It's accepting "excuse me" as a solution right now. However, "um", "umm" or even "ehh" can be good translations since with あの you are just asking for their attention, similar as we use "excuse me" in English but it's not a direct translation of "excuse me".


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

And what about じゃあ? Is it also such a kind of filler? Or is it a full-fledged word?


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

The meaning of じゃ/じゃあ (the colloquial version of では) is more like "so" or "then" - which, admittedly, are sometimes used as fillers too.


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

I translated it as hey, because that's how I ease into a question.


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

Same, and it was marked wrong xD


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

I "translated" it as "um, what is your name" because I expected the program to accept it. But a proper translation would be "what's your name" or "what is your name" because that's how we would say it in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mistapic9

Ano means umm too in my language :D


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

Yes, absolutely. あの is definitely more of an "excuse me" in context, and if anything, えと is the more hesitant or lost-in-thought filler word. That one I would more liken to "uh"/"um", or in some contexts, "let's see here..."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Julia543869

Couldn't you just use すみません, whatever the situation? Formal or informal?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chaitanyad972223

Mr. Benjidesu1 what about the sentence 'ano, sumimasen'?? Duolingo says it's 'um, excuse me? ' If we go by your say it would be 'excuse me, excuse me'??


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

I was taught to translate あの as "well" but uses as you described 「あの。。。知りほせん。。。」"well...I don't know...." えと is always treated as um and, like um, I try not to overuse it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-ANIME_LORD-

Wait what is "wa" do in a sentence again


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

は is the topic particle, marking the topic of the sentence. It is the thing that the overall conversation is about. In this case "your name"
"On the topic of your name...what is it?"


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

Listening to the word "ano" being a Spanish native is very uncomfortable tbh


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brent.ptaz

The importance of punctuation in Spanish: Mi papá tiene cuarenta años. (My dad is forty years old.) vs. Mi papa tiene cuarenta anos. (My potato has forty butts.)


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

Just nitpicking: not punctuations but diacritics/accents :p


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

In English, we have "ann" vs "a-nu" for such words. We have annum, annual, anniversary, anus, anal, etc. "An-a-" words also start with "an" and have a single N but not in the same syllable, and with a short A. The ones that refer to the body part have a long A. Ano has a short A.


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

Italian here, can confirm


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

I didn't expect to learn Spanish here :D Well, after checking I can imagine your discomfort ;)

BTW, in czech, slovak and informal polish it means 'yes'. Doesn't really make sense here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeshyCat1

Im polish and we use ano as like 'ah.. yes.'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DerrickMcClure1

Thought Polish for yes was TAK and ANO was Czech?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TedPereira1

it means "what" in tagalog/filipino


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

In Portuguese it means "year".


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

ano sabi mo? lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paul678008

What function is お serving here?


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

From my understanding it may be a way of being polite or showing respect. Not 100% sure though, still learning.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex553576

This is correct. A lot of things are politer if you put お or ご in front


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

when do we use "o" and when do we use "go"?


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

Use お (おなまえ、おちゃ) when unsure, ご (ごはん) is very conditional and rarely shows up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/syntyche1981

Go is a very old form from Chinese. ごはん cooked rice/meal is the only common usage I can recall.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben813848

You've also got, "parents = ryōshin" (両親) whose polite form is "goryōshin" (ご両親).


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

ご しゅじん


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sweet-gabriel

You usually ask for someone's name when first meeting them since you're not that well acquainted, therefore in Japanese you treat the name and person with more formality.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hudson-hudson

Am I hearing correctly? 何 in this sentence is pronounced "nan"? Is it a contraction? Are we supposed to use "nani"?


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

何 can either be pronounced "Nan" or "Nani" depending on the context.
When used before です as it is here, it is "nan", it is also pronounced this way when before a counter
It is "Nani" when used before a noun.
Sometimes changing the pronunciation can change the meaning
何人 pronounced "nan-nin" means "how many people"
何人 pronounced "Nani jin" means "what nationality"
because 人 is both the noun for "person" but also the counter for people

Here's a guide


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hudson-hudson

Thank you very much. I'll keep track of that as I advance. Very nice reference too.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelRic534874

I was taught that お in this situation can translate to honorable. So it's basically asking what is your honorable name.


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

That' s only to show respect


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

Yes, 100% correct!


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

あの、君の名わ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ingrid90497

君の名わ is a masterpiece :')


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gwyneth941820

How do we know when "ano" means "um" or it means "that"? Or am i just very confused. Im a beginner.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NathanDale3

Context, mostly. You'll notice here with it written out, it has a comma after it, indicating it's the interjection instead of the "that [x] over there" definition. To that effect, it would need a noun immediately following it, like あのすし. Otherwise you'd have to use あれ followed by some kind of particle to have the word all by itself and still mean "that over there."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jesus129647

There is something similar in spanish, you could say "esto" (this) for "um", but the tone you use and the context makes very clear when you mean one thing or the other


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Skgr136

How do you know it isn't "What is a name?"


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

Context, Japanese is all about context.


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

No one would ever say that, i don't think. But to your point, it could be what is his/her name.


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

The "o" prefix indicates that the speaker is talking about a specific person's name, probably the speaker's.


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

Probably the listener's, you mean. Using it with reference to oneself would be rather conceited (unless one is royalty in a historical drama, perhaps).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FranciscoC561609

If you'd want to say "What's a name" you'd probably use something more along the lines of 「名前はどういう意味ですか」(namae wa dōiu imi desuka) which literally means «what does "name" mean».


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/philipp.wie

is this phrase more or less polite than お名前は


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John863934

In general, the longer, the better. But try to avoid personal pronouns!


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

何 this kanji is usually pronunced as "Nani", but in this sentence is pronunced as" nan"... why?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zuki13

it just is, alot of the time if its combined with something it drops the I like 何で and 何ですか unless its alone as なに or なにも. if it helps they all have different meanings


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

I need help with polite phrases because sometimes I see あ and sometimes お. What differentiates one from the other?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

いい質問ですね!To my knowledge, あ does not ever denote politeness; you will instead see お (e.g., "お願いします") or ご (e.g. "ご注意ください"). Typically, お precedes a native Japanese word, and ご precedes a Chinese loan word.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ThePipster2

i love that there's a word for "um"


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

it's not a literal translation though, it is just used as a filler word in Japanese, it actually has its meaning in the correct context. あの = that, and if you speak a little spanish we use "este" the same way, they are really similar in usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Buraisu2

I forgot the O before Namae and lost points for it - As a returning Japanese learner I don't think I was wrong... I was just being rude (To a stranger ;-) ). There should be some way to clue students about formality levels in Japanese. This is also pertinent to genki/ ogenki already, and and a ton of verb stuff coming up.


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

Why there is "o" before namae? Does it mean your?


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

"お" is typically added to be more polite, like when you say "お元気ですか?" - you're adding that prefix to add an air of formality and respect. You use it when referring to someone else, like asking for someone's name or asking how they're doing. You wouldn't use it when saying your own name or that you're fine. You can drop it when speaking casually, though it never hurts to use it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stephen654875

Is this more polite than あなた は だれ ですか


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1chi5o

While I was also taught the phrase in your comment, when I moved to Japan I came to understand that using あなたは to address someone is too direct (to the point of being impolite), so お名前は is much more polite.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

I mistook あの to be demonstrative in the sense of, "that person -- what's his/her name?" Would that work here, or would you need a noun and/or particle (i.e.. あの人は、お名前は何ですか)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Robert121815

Literally, あの means "that", referring to somthing that isn't near either the speaker or listener. So in this use, it's basically like saying "as for that" as a way of changing the subject to what the speaker wants to talk about.


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

No, I think you mean あれ instead? あの can be a way of softening the statement, so you don't look like you're being too direct


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

For more politely, 「お名前を伺ってよろしいですか?」

"May I have heard your name?"


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

I think that あの could be Excuse please!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

Definitely not "excuse please" (this is ungrammatical in English). Perhaps you could translate idiomatically あの as "excuse me please," but that would more literally be ”あの、すみません。”


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

OK! Thank you for the answer. It is really helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

どういたしまして、よろしくね!


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

i wonder why "um" was such a important phase in japan


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

You hear it all the time! あの、えっと、とかー!Politeness is important in conversation, and it's considered rude to let silence linger (especially in Japan; this is why you hear "そうですか" constantly) -- so you can fill those pauses when you're thinking with "um" and the like (which is not considered rude).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FireMaster42

Doesn't えと also mean um?


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

Yeah, I've seen some people translate it as "err", but I'd think they're interchangeable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chet513636

Google translator for Japanese pronounces は as wa but but I don't hear it for dlingo, is it incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claryssa.s

Why does 何 have to come before ですか? Like why can't it be "あの、お名前はですか?". Please help


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

何 is the word "What" in this question
お名前はですか? is grammatically wrong since you can't have a particle before the copula です, but still お名前ですか would mean "Is it a name?" or "Are you a name?" which means something totally different.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ingrid90497

Doesn't あの also mean "that"? How do you know when to tell the difference?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-ANIME_LORD-

Wow your right. I may want a explanation for that to. But what I think is when it's like this, ano, with the , it's um


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hanah-Com

Is so evil Um,what is your name


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

Are they leaving out sounds in the pronunciation like some kind of contraction, or are they just speaking fast? Asking as an english speaker.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Britt176229

I had to listen so many times and I dont know how to listen to my translation all together without removing words and placing them back one by one. so with a long phrase it is difficult to be certain it sounds the same because you can only listen to duolingos sentence in full.. :/


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

Why do we need to put 'ka' at the ending when we have 'nani' in the sentence which indicates its a question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jvitti624

何 actually has a number of other uses, e.g. I can say 何々 ('naninani') which means something like "such and such" or "blah blah." Japanese virtually always uses the question marker at the end of a sentence to designate a question.


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

Think of "ka" not as a word, but as part of the question mark, the part you can hear. Yes, "nani" is there to indicate that you're asking a question, but "ka" is essentially the question mark, so it doesn't sound like you're just saying "what is your name." with a period.

Remember, the Japanese didn't have question marks until they were exposed to western societies, so in writing, their ? was か.


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

What's difference between お名前は? and お名前何ですか? It's have same meaning, right? I really need your explanation and opinion guys. Thanks


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

お名前は is a very casual abbreviation of お名前は何ですか
It is the equivalent of saying "Your name is...?" instead of the full "What is your name?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jr.baek.aron.

Isn't ano that/umm or is it just umm i though I've seen it used as that in a sentence before maybe ano is that and the exatrded one is ummm


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

I wonder why the Japanese they have those 'um' and 'er' before they ask?


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

you don't have to say it, it's just there to let you know how to say "umm". (I think that's why duo puts it there, at least.)


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

Why is 何 pronounced like なん here and not なに?


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

I don't know if this is the official rule, but I only really hear なに when the word "what" itself is the subject (なにか、なにも) When its used to qualify nouns I hear なん(...なんですか、なんじかん、なんでも.....)


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

Thank you for the quick answer! Have a lingot (or a few)~


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dyl302994

So I noticed when you ask genki or namae to someone, you add o in front, O namae and O genki. Meanwhile saying it you dont have o. Like in watashi no namae wa or genki desu. Whats the technical use of o? What does it do and when to use it? Advanced ありがとう


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

お (and ご) are honorific prefixs (they are both readings of the kanji 御 "honorable", usually 'o' is used with kanji that use a kun-yomi reading and 'go' with words that use an on-yomi, with some exceptions)
This prefix is often used when referring to an out-group, something that does not belong to you so you want to show respect. When talking about your in-group you want to be humble so you do not use them.
母 haha - My mom ・お母さん okaasan - Your mom
両親 ryoushin - My parents・ ご両親 goryoushin - Your parents
名前 namae - My name・ お名前 onamae - Your name

It is also commonly used with words that have some sort of cultural significance as 美化語 bikago "beautified speech"
お風呂 - ofuro - bath
お弁当 - obento - bento/boxed lunch (optional)
お寿司 - osushi - sushi (optional)
お酒 - osake - alcohol
ご飯 - gohan - rice
お茶 - ocha - tea

Some words the nuance changes when adding them
水 mizu - water お水 omizu - water (probably clean drinkable water, in a glass)
湯 yu - hot water お湯 oyu - hot water (clean drinkable water)

It is also used with polite expressions
願いします onegaishimasu - please, from the verb 願う negau "to wish for, to hope for, to request"
ちそうさまでした - "thank you for the meal" includes ご馳走さま go-chisou-sama, 馳走 chisou - a treat, banquet, feast. A literal translation being "It was an honorable feast (that honorable you have provided)"

Just note that not every word can take an honorific. Only use them on words that you have seen them used with before and treat them as part of the word itself; don't just add them to any random word. Some words use them optionally (like sushi, bento), and other words don't really exist without them (gohan)


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

Shouldn't it be : あの、お名前が何ですか?


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

I'm sure there are as many ways to explain the difference between は and が as there are Japanese teachers, and there are obviously plenty of ambiguities and gray zones, but one thing you can be sure of is that when you're asking "What is something", it's always like this:

お名前何ですか?

おいしいですか? (おいしい = delicious)

My way of understanding this:

When you use "Aは", you introduce new information after the は about A (which has been more or less established by the context/conversation).

When you use "Aが", you introduce A as new information (while adding information about this A after が).

When you ask "what is something", the "what" is naturally the new information you want to get, so it has to be:

Either after は: お名前は何ですか? (it cannot be お名前が何ですか because if you introduce お名前 as a new element while describing it with "what", you're not describing it at all.)

Or before が: 何がおいしいですか? (it cannot be 何はおいしいですか because "what" cannot ever be something that has been established by the context/conversation.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MudKipz-WiLsOn

So the translation of this sentence would be Name? (Wa) What is it?.


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

Yes and no. Japanese sentence structure is different from English, so I'd say a more literal translation would be "(Your) name is what?"


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

Does nandesu mean anything or is this always going to be a part of a question ( ka)


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

何ですか is the part of the sentence that says "What is it?"

お名前は何ですか

お名前 - your name
は - topic particle
お名前は - (on the topic of) your name....

何 "What"
です "is"
か question particle "?"


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

I've seen 'お‐' used with other nouns later in the course. Is it a second-person-indicating prefix?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AnisSAnisS15

What's the function of the particle "お" ? My suggestion is "your".


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

That works in some situations, though not always.

お (and ご) are honorific prefixes (they are both readings of the kanji 御 "honorable", usually 'o' is used with kanji that use a kun-yomi reading and 'go' with words that use an on-yomi, with some exceptions)
This prefix is often used when referring to an out-group, something that does not belong to you so you want to show respect. When talking about your in-group you want to be humble so you do not use them.
母 haha - My mom ・お母さん okaasan - Your mom
両親 ryoushin - My parents・ ご両親 goryoushin - Your parents
名前 namae - My name・ お名前 onamae - Your name

It is also commonly used with words that have some sort of cultural significance as 美化語 bikago "beautified speech"
お風呂 - ofuro - bath
お弁当 - obento - bento/boxed lunch (optional)
お寿司 - osushi - sushi (optional)
お酒 - osake - alcohol
ご飯 - gohan - rice
お茶 - ocha - tea

Some words the nuance changes when adding them
水 mizu - water お水 omizu - water (probably clean drinkable water, in a glass)
湯 yu - hot water お湯 oyu - hot water (clean drinkable water)

It is also used with polite expressions
願いします onegaishimasu - please, from the verb 願う negau "to wish for, to hope for, to request"
ちそうさまでした - "thank you for the meal" includes ご馳走さま go-chisou-sama, 馳走 chisou - a treat, banquet, feast. A literal translation being "It was an honorable feast (that honorable you have provided)"

Just note that not every word can take an honorific. Only use them on words that you have seen them used with before and treat them as part of the word itself; don't just add them to any random word. Some words use them optionally (like sushi, bento), and other words don't really exist without them (gohan)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CelioAvila88

Hey, whats your name? Should be right, shouldnt it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chaitanyad972223

BTW, do we need to add the '? ' mark (in japanese writing)bcoz the 'ka' itself is the question mark of the sentence? Isn't it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Srujan511137

What is the "O" part for?


[deactivated user]

    Why is it necessary to teach us how to say "um"? Saying "um" or "err" when you're talking is a bad habit that gives a bad impression and shouldn't be taught.


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

    However, people are likely to use it frequently, and if you're not taught what it means, you'll have no idea that they're just searching for a word. So this is a very practical bit of information.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/brandon.ha20

    Maybe in English. In Japanese, it's sort of a polite way of getting someone's attention, or of softening a request to make yourself seem less forceful, which is important when talking to anyone who isn't a subordinate.


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

    I'm not too sure myself, but I read somewhere that using the Japanese equivalent for "um" instead of switching back to your native language gives off the impression that you're well-versed and practiced in Japanese.

    Learn Japanese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.