Translation:What is your name?

October 29, 2017

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I don't quite understand how this is different from the question before it. Are they "What are you called?" vs "What is your name?" Are both interchangeable?


'what do you call yourself' vs 'what is your name'. in my opinion, interchangeable.

i do not think i had ever asked sb '你叫什么名字?', except to ask a kid.

'您的名字是?' equals 'your name is?' 'Votre nom est?' '你的名字是?', i often choose this one to ask people their name.

or '请问您怎么称呼?','我怎么称呼你?‘i also ask for a person's name these ways.


请问你叫什么名字 just makes it more polite because of the addition of 请问, correct?

Also, is 你叫什麼名字 the traditional version of 你叫什么名字?


Yes, you are right. I am a Chinese and I can tell you that normally if you want to ask someone's name in a polite way, always add 请问 at the beginning. However, according to Chinese culture, the way to ask a person's name should depend on who that person is. For instance, if that person is like ten or fifteen years old, you can just ask 你叫什么名字. If that person looks like your age and you want to be polite, you can add请问into that sentence. But, if that person is an elder people, like 60 to 80 years old. NEVER ask their names by saying 你叫什么名字, it will be considered as disrespectful. A polite way to ask an elder people's name is to say 请问您怎么称呼?您 is the formal form of 你. It shows respect to the person that you are speaking with. So the translation of that sentence can be "How may I address you". Hope this will help.


I highly appreciate your input but could you please add the translatration so we know how can we read each ? Thanks a lot


If somebody uses pinyin and hanzi, for the people who do not know the hanzi, they can still understand what somebody is trying to mean by what they say.


I have understood that 您贵姓 is a traditional polite way of asking an elder’s name. 对不对?


The first one, it's better to omit the 请问 since it's like "Excuse me, what is your name?" and you would normally not ask somebody their name if you needed to use 请问.

The second one, you're correct. It is the traditional version.


Why not? If he already had said his name and you had forgotten, you will ask: Excuse me, What's your name?


Why not? I think that "excuse me" could be used to attract attention to your question... Instead "Hey, you!" And it could be a little bit rude or too straight forward to ask someone's name without asking for excuse first, Maybe this person does not want to know you and tell his or her name...


請問=(qingwen), 您=(nin) 怎麼=(zenme), (称呼)=(cheng hu)


I am learning maybe sometimes i forget but i keep trying to learn as much as possible and i don't know that


Hi all,

Could someone please explain what is the difference between 名 and 名字? Both meaning "name", am I right?

And, the second question, what does it mean 什 and 什么?

Thanks in advance!


字 (zi) is often used as a particle to make a word whole since there are many variations of "ming" that could create confusion. It kind of gives context. In this case the meaning is given by 名 (ming), so together they mean "name". 什 (shen) doesn't really have a meaning on its own and 么 (me) is a particle/sufix that frequently used to imply question. Together, 什么 (shenme) could be best translated as "what?", question mark included.


So because you're saying "什么" ("shenme", "what(?)"), you don't need to add "吗" ("ma", "(?)") at the end? "吗" is only used for yes/no questions?


Yes, "" (ma) signifies a yes/no question.

In "你叫什么名字" (nǐ jiào shénme míngzi), "什么" (shénme) already indicates that the sentence is a question, so "吗" does not need to be added.


Isn't there a question mark in Chinese? Always "me", then?


Chinese has its own ways of indicating that there is a question involved. Several, in fact. Punctuation in Chinese (at least most of it) is an adaptation of the (early) twentieth century. Foreign Christian educators brought their home languages’ influence, and Chinese writers chose to modernize their own language.


What about Christian educators? I didn't understand.

Please explain


From the late 19th century to the middle of the 20th, a large component of western interest in China was focused through western (Christian) missionaries especially in the areas of medicine and education and language. As time went on, many Chinese scholars were influenced by these missionaries. For example, Sun Yat-sen was a medical doctor as well as a great and passionate national leader, and Christian educators provided significant parts of his education. Christian missionaries studied the Chinese language so they could better explain and persuade the Chinese of the truth-claims of Christianity, and wanted Chinese to have access to education, not just Christian education. At the same time, and sometimes overlapping these efforts, Chinese scholars furthered huge language reforms that yielded, for example a female character for the third person (她), as well as comprehensive development and use of simplified characters. HSN, you have apparently gained good exposure to a lot of ideas, so you will recognize that the full history involves many more details than will fit in a chat room! Keep inquiring!


Also, HSN, since most western educators in China were specifically Christian, when they encouraged western innovations like punctuation, this was an example of their influence. Going back the other way, I wish westerners would adapt (what I understand is) the Chinese innovation of the serial comma, which helps make sense of list-related strings of characters, and would be helpful in many western-language situations.


I thought the "ming" character here was a combination of mouth and moon, indicating to call out a name at night to identify oneself. And "zi" was originally a woman's legs (became the "building" component over time) with a child/baby component coming, indicating birth. Thus "ming zi" is birth name, or first name.

Shen me have original meanings ("shen" literally meant a squad of 10 people) but they've been lost over time, and it just means an interrogative now.


This is very nice info!!!


Thanks, this anwers all my prayers. :)


First question: they kind of so literally, but Chinese tends to favour double syllables to make sure everyone knows what they are talking about :) That's partly because there are no more than 410 syllables phonetically, so without this it would be even more 'context-dependent' to get what they are talking about. If you just hear ming2, that has about 16 different meanings, while ming2zi has only one.

Second question: see above :D (什 also means 'what', 么 indicates interrogative mood, but using the two together is what truly clarifies the meaning...)


Thanks, I had the same question.


Awesome question


This lesson is suddenly so difficult for beginners. I didn't know any of the symbols before being introduced to sentences directly and should guess what every symbol means


Ive just started chinese and its pretty poorly done that 90% of it is match the sound to the character and then im magically meant to know how to use them all in a sentence...


Yes it seems more of a review for someone who has already been studying before. Its a start and so I appreciate that people are offering this for free, but it is a big disappointment after seeing how good the French course is. I'm hoping they make a lot of improvements in the future. I have still been able to learn little but it is very frustrating that no meanings are included and its up to us to get the meaning elsewhere and somehow put it together. So, just to affirm your experience. I hope you get some value.


I've been learning, and I would say the course is actually great I'm improving, you just have to take this course a lot slower rather than rushing through it. Take the time to click and remember each character and read the comment sections. Hopefully they can make it more beginner friendly in the future.


Yes, the courses do have their inconsistencies, but you should see the textbook I have from a century ago! I would never (well...) have stuck with learning that. As a more experienced learner, I chafe at the first lessons’ overly repetitive and not always quite correct, to my understanding, items; but much of learning Chinese requires memorization and more memorization. Stick with it, even when it’s confusing or abstruse.


It is too easy to guess based on what words are available and which has a capital first letter. At this point in the course I have learned the sounds that belong to the symbols, but not their meaning.


All three are necessary, but hard to learn and associate. I find it useful to use Tinycards to learn and review characters. They offer numerous options; I suggest the 500 Character series, which I’m working on—partly new, partly review for me.


Very beginner here too, and no problem. Do you use a book?


did you learn Turkish


So true. All new. Never introduced.


Why can't we have a pinyin notation alongside hieroglyphs? It feels overwhelming to remember so many of them at once.


When I started learning Japanese, I started learning in romaji (romanized Japanese) for almost a year before switching to kana and kanji. While it was easier at first, I feel like it noticeably delayed my reading and writing and I ended up spending a lot more energy un-learning many of the early associations I made with the romanized version of the language. If your goal in Chinese is literate fluency, I feel you're better off learning the 汉字 right from the start.

FWIW, it helps a lot to remember characters if you make a list of the ones you've learned and practice writing them (with proper stroke order). In addition to helping you remember what they look like, knowing how the characters are written also makes it easier to learn new characters, and helps you to better recognize stylized fonts, sloppy handwriting, small or blurry text, etc.


For me, it would really help to have the English meaning to attach the shape and sound to. I get learning the characters but I can't really do that with no meaning attached.


But you have the meaning, they give you by hovering the word. You write in your book, and you learn it, like in school.


No, most of the exercises (matching character and sound) do NOT have the meaning. We only get some of the meanings at the very end of the lesson when there are full sentences. Perhaps on other devices its different? On my laptop there are mostly NO meaning at all.


The meanings come up on touchscreens when the sentence in characters has dots underneath. Tap on a character, and it shows the meaning and a couple of combinations. Also, download the TinyCard app, and study the 500 Basic Characters . This gives a lot of precise study of sound, meaning, and translation. Just recently I figured out that I can use the word bank in Duolingo to figure out which characters I need to hand-write the Chinese translations; learning to recognize characters is good, but for me at least, I need to practice actually writing characters to be able to write them without copying them.


Everybody keeps saying you have the meaning when you hover over the word. This is not true. You just get the character and the sound. This is very well done in itself, but useless if no meaning is attached. The meaning is only given when you hover over the characters in the very last two items of each lesson. So you're expected to learn these meaningless sounds and characters before you finally find out what they mean.


Thank you for saying this so clearly. I wish the folks who were making this course actually read these comments. However I feel relief that someone else realizes how useless it is without meanings.


So basically spaces aren't really used to separate words?


No, Chinese have no space between characters and punctuation. An example: 不,中文字和字,和標點和字之間沒有空位。 (A literal translation of my answer above)


I think Marriott means a "break".


They are not "words" as we understand this term. They are "semantic units". Our own semantic units in Western languages, are words, it's why we separate them with spaces, because trytoreadthis. But as they don't use letters producing sounds, they don't need to separate them to be able to read. In Arabics too, no space between words.

In Ancient languages, Latin and Ancient Greek, there was not spaces between letters, it was harder to read, and often caused alteration of the meaning by wrong words cutting.


Arabic does separate words with a space between them. Sentences are not separated with punctuation, except fpr question marks.


Very interesting, thanks!


I'm pretty sure the only thing that creates spaces is punctuation.


No, as in other ancient languages, everything runs together and the skilled reader learns to recognize how to group the letters and decide where words and sentences end (as in Classical Greek). As modern readers we sometimes fail to appreciate the blessings derived from centuries of development—from caps and lower case to contractions to the full range of punctuation—although learning all the rules escapes many.


Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?


Why isn't "what is your first name?" a valid answer?

Isn't 姓 used to ask the family name?


Very good question. In Chinese, if you look at the word 姓名, 姓 means family name and 名 means the first name. But if you ask a people's name by saying 你叫什么名字, in this sentence, 名字 means name. We rarely ask only a person's first name when we first met each other. Even on special occasions where only first names are required, you can still get a person's first name by asking his or her full name, isn't it? Hope this will help.


I would really like to see the pinyin along with the characters. Also, I would really appreciate if there was a way to slow down the speaker. I understand that I can click each character individually to hear it, but it doesn't allow me to hear the sentence smoothly. But when I simply click the button to hear the sentence, it is read way too quickly for me, a newbie.


I would like this too. I can't seem to click and hear on my system. I can only hear the full sentence too quickly. I can do that in the French course, but not here in the Chinese. Being able to click a character and hear it would be great, as well as a slower speed.


Please, what is the difference between "jiao" and "ming"?


If you mean from this sentence itself,

jiao 叫 = call

ming 名 = name


I would say jiao is the "verb" of the sentence


I'm sorry if this is a silly question, but why is it 什么名字 and not 名字什么? I thought Chinese usually put question words like 'what' at the end of every sentence?


You could say 名字的是什么。 just the way it is. You wouldn’t ask “your name what?” But you might ask (in an incredulous context), “Your name is what?”


I've noticed that the pronuncination of 字 (pinyin: zì) on duolingo differs from the one available on yellowbridge or google translate.

Which one is correct? Or both of them are correct?


The character 字 only has one pronunciation(读音)which is zì, the fourth tone(第四声)so only that is correct.


Can someone help me understand? In the French lessons duo seems to prefer the most literal translation. Here I did that (You are called what name?) and got marked wrong. How do I know when Duo wants literals and when it wants most common casual English? (What is your name?) Thanks for any help you can offer.


I don't think that Duo likes literal translation in the French lessons, but remember, English and French are cousins, so they can be more literal to each other. With Chinese, it's another philosophy.

Try to make English sentence. Perfectly correct English sentences. Imagine a Chinese want to make you read a novel he translated from Chinese to English, but he refuses to change the order of the words to make it compliant with the English grammar rules. Or any other exotic language: Luck good to that read.

You see, that's a nonsense. You have to write in good English, whatever the order of the Chinese words. "You are called what name" is perfectly strange English. I never heard anyone use that.

In French: Je m'appelle Michel. In English, it's not "I call myself Michael". (Would you talk like this?) It's: My name is Michael....


Even your literal translation should be correct English. Duo rarely if ever considers a literal translation as incorrect in courses that I have done, but the translation must obey the grammar rules in the target language to be considered correct. It is doesn't then you need to change it (as little as possible) to come up with a grammatically correct "literal" translation. Your translation of "You are called what name" is not really good English even though it is easily understood, so I assume that is why it has not been included in the list of correct answers.


Also give english translatin of words....e.g.if ur are saying wang and asking to choose the sign of it then please also give its english meaning it will help us to learn chienes more easily


I totally agree with you and have said this many times but apparently no one from DUO reads these or pays attention. Since there is no way to report this, I guess I will just keep repeating myself. It can be so easily fixed and yet its so useless as it is with just random shape and sound and no meaning.


The android version has meaning when you tap on each words. Not sure how it is on the other platform


My name is Linda. . Sometimes I see 'you are' contracted to the word 'your'. You is a possessive pronoun. 'You're' is the contraction for 'you are'. This is a tricky one for English speakers. It is one of our most common errors in writing. Otherwise, I appreciate your program.


One of the downsides of autocorrect. Makes it impossible even for native speakers to correctly differentiate between its (possessive of it) and it’s (contraction for it is); your/you’re similar.


I answered "what is your FIRST name" and the correct answer was "what is your name". Does 名字 necessarily refer to one's full name?


Yes, it refers to name in general. Full name would be 全名, family name or surname 姓名 or 姓氏, the translations "last name" and "first name" are incorrect as your given name goes after, and not before, the family name.


What is the meaning if mingzi by it self?


Why is "what is your first name" not accepted?


Because 名字=name in general. Also "first name" and "last name" are rather misleading translations, since the family name or surname goes before the given name, unlike "Western" name arrangements.


I would guess because that is not precisely what is being translated. The owl seems to want as close as possible to exactly what is written, without changing things. Just a guess.


RachCos, it’s a question of translation theory. Since a chinese first name is an English last name, (or is it the other way around) you as a translator have to translate the thought so the meaning in language A is understood by the language B reader (of indeterminate cultural Fluency) will understand with minimal ambiguity. So 性or 名字 or 叫 basically can’t be translated either way in terms of first or last names. Although modern English speakers infrequently refer to surname (or even “given name” anymore), one almos has to use them in translating from Chinese. From what little I know of Arabic, that language’s terminology is even more confusing than Russian.


Why is the phrasing: "By what name do you call yourself?" Incorrect?


It's not incorrect but Duolingo doesn't accept it; the course doesn't even accept many common translations so report as you encounter them.


As a native (American) English speaker, I cannot imagine a context when I might ask, “by what name do you call yourself.” If you are a native English speaker, I would venture that you’re in the same boat. Hence the art of translating a thought unit or cluster into a different language: literal or contextual. How would you express the one Chinese thought cluster into an English thought cluster so an English-speaker would consider it well written, while you as the technician (translator) are satisfied that it conveys the intent of the original language?


am i the only one who wishes that these kinds of practices had the slow talking option? just so you could hear it again more clearly


It's quite hard, in fact to transition from one character to many is hard for me but thats the process of learning. Im writing the characters down so I can study them. Does anyone have any other way or a more efficient way of learning this language?


DL has sometimes allowed me to hand-write characters, which I need to be able to learn them. Lately I have not seen anything that gives me the option of hand writing, then selecting once my iPad selects likely correct characters. Any ideas how to restore this option?


Ideally, handwriting should be an operating system function, not an app function. I know that on android you can install additional languages that come with different keyboards - gboard has both pinyin typing and handwriting. I assume IOS does too?


That’s my point. DL used to sometimes offer a button to select whether to use the word list or hand write (I forget their term for it), but now I never see that option and wonder if it is still available.


Oh, I've never seen that on either windows or android. Maybe that was something they only tried out on IOS?


GTurner, somehow I got that selection option back. So now I am a fish in deep water really learning the characters. I discovered keyboards months ago (other languages also have their keyboards) and my iPad lets me switch back and forth. For me, recalling and writing characters is by far the toughest and slowest part of learning Chinese.


All depends on your learning style. there are tapes/CD's in the Pimsleur brand (something close to that I think) They believe one should learn by listening, which I bet works well for aural learners. If you are more visual then maybe writing the characters along with the pin yin would work better for you. You need to explore what is most fun for your brain.


Thanks for your comment. Learning styles aside, I need to practice writing characters to learn how to write them. In my experience, recognizing and writing characters are not equivalent skills. My question is whether DL still offers the opportunity to hand write characters to provide answers, as it has in the past.


Jazmine, in my experience, recognizing characters is one skill, and I can recognize many more characters than I can write spontaneously. Writing characters is a fine motor skill,mas is handwriting in any language or script. Just as knowing how to spell is a different skill in alpha-based writing, stroke order and balance are separate and important skills in Chinese, as is knowing what strokes go into each character. Duolingo used to offer a selection box where you could choose to hand-write your answers if you had a Chinese dictionary loaded on your (my) iPad. I haven’t seen it lately, but I don’t know whether that option is offered only on certain lessons.


From this point on I've mostly focused on Japanese so i have a question about names (especially given names). In Japanese, one Kanji can have multiple pronounciacions, like (this is a bad example cause it's a comon word but let's pretend it's just a name) 火山(Kasan) could also technically be 火山 (Hiyama). In Chinese, can names be bent a bit, and/or do they have occasionally special name pronounciacions? (i.e.)


Fascinating concept, I'd love to know the answer too!


what is the literal meaning of each character?


你 you 叫 to call 什麼 what (for simplicity I would just keep those 2 together for now) 名 name, (identity, family name, famous/ well known) 字 character, written language, letters


Sziasztok! - Hi! Én most kezdtem el, de nehéz!! - I am a new, but it is not easy!! It is hard!


For what are all the letters that mean the same thing?


Isn't "what is your full name" acceptable?


Full name is 全名. In causal dialog, we ask 名字 far more than 全名.


you are called what name? is this inproper


Your mama named you what?! Yeah, you know, probably not the best.


Saying "you eat what food" instead of the simple "what do you eat" is perfectly counter-productive...


How do you find out what the name is?


Yeah thats what i cant find out:- :-[


I'm not clear on your question. Its just a question to translate from either English to Chinese (or the other way). There is no answer to the question. Does that help?


How would you know how to write youre name?


Why these conversations have no dates on them; so easy to join a ancient conversation and look stupid


My screen says in gray at the bottom of comment how long ago it was written. Does your screen not show that? Anyway I don't think its stupid at all to make a comment or ask a question (no matter when comment was made) its still a thought that is out there and so useful to all of us reading.


At least on across Android I don't see it at all...


Hi everyone, sorry, this is probably a dumb question, but how are you all creating the chinese questions to insert in the comments?


On my iPad I can switch from writing English letters to writing pinyin and getting an array of possible characters and likely combinations by tapping a button. I can tap that button again and get a screen on which to write characters, which the app reads and offers correctly-written characters I select to insert.


That depends what device you are using, and the situation. In simple situations you can copy and paste. On Android and Windows you can install Chinese as a language option, which usually gives you access to a couple of options for typing, such as handwriting and Pinyin typing. If you're going to carry on with the language, that would be a useful thing to do anyway.


Don't Chinese sentences have spaces ?

I understand that Chinese words are clusters of characters but how do I differentiate where 1 word ends and another begins ?


No, there are no spaces between words or sentences. There's punctuation, which is a recent addition to the language, and paragraphing. You learn to differentiate by experience, Chinese has what can be called "semantic units" where each "word, phrase, idiom, saying" can consist of 1 or more (e.g. 14) characters. It can be written in a vertical line, read from top to bottom, or in a horizontal line, read from left to right, like English.

1 character=字,2 characters=词,3 or more characters (can be) 短语,4 fixed characters=成语,more than four fixed characters (variable, can be) 谚语、歇后语、俗语、名句……

Fixed characters often (always?) have "origin stories" or are taken from famous works of famous writers and authors e.g. poems and each 朝代 (era, dynasty) has its own form e.g. 唐诗、宋词、散文、小说 that was developed and perfected in that period of time.

Ancient works used more monosyllabic "units" whereas modern Chinese uses disyllabic ones. Hence 名 is name but 名字, which also means name, sounds "smoother"(比较顺).


Thanks for your detailed explanation. I love learning about how the language grew and morphed into what it is today. This really helps with feeling how concepts connect an so increases understanding.


Most welcome! I try, but it's challenging to explain clearly, feel free to ask me to clarify.


Not sure but in paintings and writing its all in a line from top to bottom. I think you need to know the concepts and meanings so you recognize where the characters change to the next one. I'm very new to learning the language but have studied some Chinese art. Maybe someone with more knowledge could confirm this?


Karuna, maybe you already have your answer, but here’s my two cents’ worth: traditionally, Chinese was written in vertical lines. Those who own visual art like paintings used to write their own poetry and comments in suitable places on the paper or silk, and of course, this would be vertical. The ideal man has great artistic and calligraphic skills (in the traditional view) so the additions represent not only valuable thoughts inspired by the art but visually pleasing additions. Over the past century or so Chinese intellectuals have moved to be more compatible with Western conventions in areas like punctuation (and Chinese went above and beyond with a serial comma to simplify lists!) and reading horizontally, left to right.


Literal translation: You called what name word? XD


OH very helpful! I learn best this way...understanding what the symbols mean and then how their meaning morphs into what we are saying. Thanks so much.


Weird exercise! The previous couple taught us the name Ming with the same character, so it seemed the question was. "Is your name Ming? Confusing choice of first name in previous exercise


Just like you have different screens, it's possible those who use the mobile phone may find the hover to get meaning easier, than the laptop users. It calls for screen optimization... If they could hear us!! Meanwhile, it's advised to use a book and other sources to make learning more productive.


It's easy to guess what the sentence is translated to based on the choices given. However, that is not teaching us word association. For example, if I ask you what "XBXT" means and the only possible sentence is "What is your name" then I'm not learning anything. Clearly, it's "what is your name." I don't even have to think about it.


Actually, as an educator, it may not be giving you enough of a challenge for your level, but it is the first step in associating an unknown symbol with some meaning, even when you don't know which symbol is which word, your brain will be able to recognize it if you keep seeing those two associated.


When selected separately, Duolingo pronounces 字 as "ffú" but in the sentence pronounces it "zí". Is this correct or is Duolingo broken?


As far as I know of zi4 is the only, or at least most commonly encountered, pronunciation.


Sometimes characters have more than one pronunciation, but I can’t say whether 字 is one. If you flag it, the Duolingo referees often get back to you acknowledging when they make a correction. I’m sure they’re busy, so don’t overdo it.


I'm pretty sick of the meaning of "jiào" who's changing without any different context, between name/last name/surname/call/called only by the willing of duolingo?! It's my most frequent mistake, makes me mad and devolved. I really like duolingo but i'm tired of spending 20mn each days trying to understand where was the difference.


Schromao, as frustrating as it is for you, the difficulties you encounter are actually common in translation. One culture develops a whole list of connotations and dénotations for a unit of thought, and expresses that unit of thought in a certain way in a certain context. Then people from a very different culture try to translate that unit of thought into their own linguistic context, in which several different words or phrases are used to express similar thought units in various contexts. Further confusion erupts because the different cultures’ understandings of what the situations are don’t even agree, necessarily. Further, you have imperfect humans (like you and me are imperfect) try to teach someone from culture B what word from culture A to use (among the many similar words and phrases culture A might use) in a context the learner views from his context as defined by culture B. Further complicating this s that the learner from culture B knows hardly any words, phrases or grammatical constructions from culture A, so his learning is further contextualized. If you have followed me this far, I hope you will take as constructive my two cents: in short, get over it. Try to understand that not everything will make sense, and sometimes you just have to push the “Oh well” or “I believe” button, and try to remember that eventually, you will gain fluency, not always agreeing nor nu derstanding. Hang in there. Most of what Duolingo teaches is spot on; when I see things differently I usually report what I see as a discrepancy, then go on and answer the Duolingo answer so I can get on to the next lesson. Often, the Duolingo referees get back to me saying that my proffered translation is now accepted. And BTW, each lesson seems to have a “hints” button with often useful inside tips on pertinent grammar or vocabulary or construction. Let me know how you’re doing!


Why isn't first name accepted?


i did whats your name and it said that its what is your name... :\


Why is "What is your first name?" not accepted? Could someone please help me out?


I don't think there is anything wrong with your answer. Ni jiao shenme mingzi means "what is (or What's) your name?" To me it refers to the first name. I think "xing" refers to what we in English would call surname or last name. (ni xing shenme). I am only a learner here. Even if the translation into English is not particularly idiomatic or even grammatical (yours is!) , as long as the answer shows an understanding of meaning I think it should be marked correct, with perhaps a better alternative given. The main emphasis should be do we understand the mandarin. That may not be possible in a programme like this?


I'm confused how 什 (shen) is pronounced. It seems to be pronounced differently by itself than it is in this sentence. Any ideas?


I agree, and I've commented on it before, particularly when the tone also seems wrong to me in other words (xing), according to the pinyin markings. It's a shame as we should be training our minds to recognize the correct tones and this is confusing. It's easy enough to get the answers correct, but only by forcing ourselves to go against our learnt instincts.


Pronounciation question (mind you, I'm not asking about the tone, but rather the letters): As a single sign zi4 sounds a bit like "tzi" to me (with the z pronounced similarly to German, with a t sound in front). I might write it as "tzü" in German. However, in the full sentence the "t" sound is gone, and the vowel is different, it sounds more like "za" to me. The z is still voiced, but no t. In German I might describe it as "sä".

Any guide what is correct? Or are even both correct, and I should learn to accept both as variants of the same syllable?


Georgio, I’m not sure whether you are asking about the romanization (pronunciation), perhaps thinking that this is somewhat arbitrary. In fact, China has undergone great language reforms over the past century-plus, so the settled romanization scheme is called Pinyin. While there is variation in pronunciation, primarily based on regional variations (I think the academic linguistic term is dialects, but this term varies from everyday English). Also, some characters have more than one possible pronunciation and more than one possible tone, depending on the meaning or sentence context. (Also, I have noted a very few of what I consider errors in pronunciation made by Duolingo.) So pronunciation is official (compare to France’s formalized language enforcement!), and variations you encounter are comparable to those you will find in any language. I hope this is not too wordy!


Thanks, that was a fast answer! Yes, I noticed that the same romanised syllable, zì / the letter 字, is pronounced differently by the Duolingo voice depending on whether you do the exercises about the individual letter or whether it's read as part of a whole sentence, like in this exercise. Since it's the same voice, I would expect that it just uses one dialect. But after hearing both versions a couple more times, and finding a youtube video on the sounds si/zi/ci/shi/zhi/chi/ri, I now think maybe the whole-sentence version is just slurring a bit more. It's good to know that there are few pronounciation errors in this course! For other courses, I noticed that sometimes either the slow version or the fast version was wrong, and then you would have to ask in the forum if you thought something was mispronounced. But that would be quite difficult to do since I have no gut feeling about proper pronounciation in Chinese :)

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    What is yoir name and surname ate same


    They are pretty much the same in English. We would probably always say "What's your name" and the reply could equally well be first or second name (or surname). In Chinese as I understand it "Ni jiao shenme ming zi" means literally "you are called what first name" and "xing" would be the word for surname.


    What's the difference between "ni jiao shen me" and "ni jiao shen me ming zi" Isnt it easier to just say "Your name, what?" What do those two extra characters mean?


    Why does the last kanji sounds like it is pronounced "za" in the sentence but sounds like "zoo" on its own?


    What are you called should be accepted as the direct translation would be you called what name?


    What is last 2 word for "míng zì". I think its "first name".therefore it should be what is your first name,but it's only what is your name?


    Why is "Your name, what is it?" Wrong. That woukd be the literal translation for what the symbols mean. Because it's not proper english maybe?


    It's not normal English; sounds as if you are a non-English speaker. The answer at the top is normal English. Also I notice that Duo tends to want the simplest answer. AND usually when translating from one language to another, the literal translation word-by-word will NOT be how it is said in the other language.


    The actual literal translation is "You called what name". Ni is you, jiao is to be called, shen me is what, ming is name, zi is character... I hear what you are saying and I think that depending on what one's mother tongue is, one translates "accordingly". In English, you would not say: You are called what name. You would not even use "to be called" as a verb when asking for someone's name. In German - I am a native German speaker, we also use the verb "to be called - heissen... sorry, there is a letter instead of the ss, that I can't type...)


    So, 你叫神么名字? Is that the best way to ask whats youre name?


    Preceding this lessons there's no info of what the English of each word is and we're expected to know how to translate a whole sentence? What gives?


    Why are there so many ways to ask someone what theyre called? Why is this one so much longer??


    ...Whats your name?


    It correct they did it wrong


    "what's your name" is not the same but without the W uppercase and ? interrogation sign....please tell me what's wrong


    In the tips it has nî jiâo shénme as what's your name. Here they added mìng zì and it means the same thing. What's the difference?


    I dont understand...i tap the info in the words but the meaning is so difference...Can't we play si easily???


    this can't be translate only: What is your name? It's meaning more than that. 叫 jiào = call 名字 = ming zì = nome familiar In China it meaning too much what you came from. For this is much more meaningfull ask whats is yor family name


    What is 'ming zi'?


    why are there so many ,,names" in this ?


    How is this different from what's your name and what is your name?


    What is the form of Question statement?


    Is "ni jiao shenme" enough?


    Could it be "ni ming zi jiao shenme" as well?


    What your name is not acceptable lol


    It should be "What is your name?" Your sentence "What your name?" is not proper English. I'm not trying to be condescending, just wishing to help. Not being a native English speaker, I can understand how this might be challenging. :)


    Yes, as Carmen says, to be English, you need the verb "is".


    I think all the lessons are what is your name


    sometimes i think Duolingo hates me...in the translations it says first: your name is... i just read that part i checked it and it says : Wrong! correct answer:What's your name? So i went to the translations and it says: your name is what your name? I sometimes dislike ( i said dislike to be polite but i HATE duolingo... but i can't give up now ) duolingo.


    Duolingo does not hate you - don't give up!!! All of us language learners deal with frustrations - big and small -, just stick with it, if you really want to learn the language. As a native German speaker, who has also spoken English for a number of years, I've developed a love of learning Mandarin with all of its challenges and feel real joy when I "seem to get it", especially when I struggled with a grammatical concept for a while.

    Also, if you can somehow connect with a native Mandarin speaker, that will be a huge plus! I've found someone to clarify certain aspects and this person at times tells me what I am learning is not actually what native speakers use or that a couple of options are equally valid. I might be asking for trouble here... but... I'd like to encourage you to possibly take on another language... it will be more challenging but it will also allow you to open yourself up to yet another way of "listening, speaking - and ultimately viewing the world". :) Best of luck in your future (language) studies!


    i had to guess cause the translations were wrong


    i had to guess cause translations were wrong


    I could do because the words were going out of order. Ni was going to the second space, jiao to the last, even though I know the correct order


    I entered "What's your name". It was marked wrong and stated the correct answer is "What is your name". They should be considered the same thing.


    There is two ways to say this confused


    Is there a list of all Chinese characters with sound available somewhere? Thanks


    Well, "all" characters is what you will see in a dictionary...there are thousands and thousands. Also, the same character can be used for several different words and therefore different sounds. Characters are not an alphabet and as far as I know, we can not think of them phonetically, as we do with western alphabets. It is more a matter of learning the characters slowly, just the ones you need to make meaning. Then learning maybe the other sounds those same characters make in different situations. Then you add to your knowledge as you grow, a little at a time.


    I don't understand the last word


    There is very good information on this near the top of this discussion.


    There are so characters in this small sentence


    Were you meaning that you think there are no characters in this sentence? There are actually six. Perhaps you meant something different?


    Literal translation: "What kind of name is yiur name?"




    I'm confused I have given this same answer two days ago and got it wrong, and today it is correct I don't understand?


    Is the syntax wrong?


    Why is there no button for slow on this exercise? This is way to fast for me. I am thinking of giving up trying to learn Chinese with Duo.



    [nʲǐː tɕàu ʂə́nmɤ mʲə́ŋtsz̩]


    It's my first time .


    Why is it not working


    I really hate that the meaning that comes up for ming2 is "first name" when that's basically meaningless in this context. Thanks to the comments I better understand that it can be "given name" (as opposed to family name) but that you're asking for the complete name here, but the way it's presented is very confusing!


    What's the difference between this and '你叫什么'?


    I don't know how they complete their studies in chaina I cant remember the words


    Can you put the "ming zi" in front of "jiao" in this sentence instead of having it after "shen me"


    The spoken version of this just let⁸ me repeat "hello" 3 times and accepted my answer. I don't think the programming is quite there for checking spoken responses.


    Why there is " 名字 “ at the end ?


    Ok im starting to see that most words take two characters.... is this right?


    I don't know how I did reach lvl 3, don't understand a clue about your comment's symbols


    I thought 你叫什么? was " whats your name?"


    Where is the slow down option?

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