1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Japanese
  4. >
  5. "What is her name?"

"What is her name?"


August 19, 2017



When is 何 pronounced なに and when is it pronounced なん?


Can anyone explain the の?


The 'の' is part of 'Her'.

The particle supports the meaning of 'かのじょ'. 'かのじょ' alone can not be 'her'. 'Her' is not '彼女/かのじょ' but ’彼女/かのじょ together の’.


'I' is 'わたしは/わたしが' . 'My' is 'わたしの'.

'She' Is 'かのじょは/かのじょが'. 'Her' is 'かのじょの'.

(In here. because 'her' has other meaning)

This 'の' is resemble 'of' or 'apostrophe s'.

'her name' is 'かのじょのなまえ'.

'name of Tanaka' is 'たなかのなまえ'.

'Tanaka's name' is 'たなかのなまえ'


Thank you so much, this has really helped! ^_^




かのじょの なまえは なんですか?


Would just "名前は何ですか?" ever be used, assuming the context made it clear (e.g. maybe she was the only new person in the room)?


Yes, depending on context:

Mystery woman walks in

Speaker 1: 彼女は誰ですか。(かのじょはだれですか)(Who is she?)

Speaker 2: speaking to Speaker 3 名前は何ですか。(なまえはなんですか)(What's her name?)


I'm having trouble understanding when order is important. Why is 名前はかのじょの何ですか incorrect?


Translated roughly that would be something like: regarding the name that girl's what is it?

Japanese uses subject-object-verb word order.

The かのじょ is the subject of the sentence. The name is what you want to know.

Last comes the actual asking


In this case, かのじょの名前 needs to be grouped together in this particular order because it means 'her name'. の is used here to show possession and functions like 'of' or apostrophe s in English. It's a bit easier to understand if you replace かのじょ with a noun, for example: 先生の名前 means 'teacher's name' or 'name of teacher'. If you flip around: 名前の先生 would mean 'name's teacher' or 'teacher of name' which doesn't make sense. Similarly, 名前のかのじょ ('name's she' or 'she of name') doesn't make sense so you can't just change the order however you like.

名前はかのじょの何ですか would translate into something like 'her what is name?'


I think I get it now. The fragments "owner"-の and "thing" aren't independent; the relevant subject is all of "owner-の-thing", not just the thing. So it has to go in the order owner-の-thing-は .


Is it coincidence onamae sounds like name? Just curious. Would there not be a native word for a persons name?


man this was SO hard


何 seems to jump around a lot. Sometimes at the end, sometimes beginning, sometimes middle. Though I get the wierd impression its not a polite word. And there is always a more polite turn of phrase as an alternative.


Why wouldn't かのじょは名前何ですか be correct also?


Because this way you don't connect the name with the girl ("名前" could be the name of anyone). You don't make your listener/reader understand that the center (and subject) of your sentence is the name. Instead you shift the girl (かのじょ) at the center making her the subject, while the word "名前" has no clear function in the sentence


Why can't I say “彼女の名前は何だ?”

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