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Use of "mi nombre"

So...in the very first lesson we have some problems. I'm sure all of you know that we don't really use "Mi nombre es _" to introduce ourselves. It does work, but really, you probably won't use it in favor of "Me llámo ___". This same thing goes for all of the questions about names in the first lesson.

Anyway, I'm thinking that every translation on this website is much too literal. Do the translations only come from Google or something?

April 1, 2012



That was the first thing I noticed as well. A bit literal, yes, but I'd rather have a literal translation than an inaccurate but realistic translation. Wasn't "Me llamo..." translated as "they call me..."? Translating words is a lot less work than translating ideas and concepts.


Well, "Me llamo" means "I call myself...", literally. But still, what's the point of learning phrases if they're not really useful in context. If you do that, you're learning individual words, and not the language itself - and is that not why we're here?


so, does mi nombre mean my name or my number? "Mi llamo" would be the correct way? for instance mi llamo es Linda instead of Mi nombre es Linda?


Either is correct, and communication is what is important. "Mi nombre es Maria" is literal, and "Me llamo Maria" seems idiomatic to someone who speaks English, although it is not idiomatic to a Spanish-speaking person. When first learning a language, a person starts with baby steps, but to be a better linguist, one uses the shorter form usually. "Mi nombre es Maria" is the word order of subject/verb/object that is basic in both English and Spanish. "Me llamo Maria" is a grammatically complex sentence that can be translated colloquially, as "I'm called Maria," or translated literally, as "I call myself Maria." In Spanish, the sentence "Me llamo Maria" has the literal grammatical format of:

<pre>I (understood subject ) / me (indirect object) / call (present tense) / Maria (direct object) </pre>

To a person whose first language is English, the syntax (that is, word order) of this example is different from English syntax. The indirect object is placed before the verb, not after the verb as it is in English. In English, the sentence "I call myself Maria" has the literal grammatical format of:

<pre> I (stated subject) / call (present tense) / myself (reflexive pronoun) / Maria (direct object) </pre>

People whose mother tongue is Spanish may wonder about the substitution of "myself" for "me." This is an example of a reflexive pronoun, which is a pronoun that both emphasizes and points back to the last pronoun or noun. What follows is a brief explanation of reflexive pronouns.

In English, when the indirect object is either a singular or plural pronoun–for example "me" or"us"–that refers to a subject that is also a pronoun of the same number–for example "I" or"we"–the reflexive pronoun form is used. Instead of "I call me Maria," English speakers use the reflexive pronoun "myself," as in "I call myself Maria" or "We call ourselves U. S. citizens." Reflexive singular pronouns are: myself, yourself, himself, herself, itself, and oneself. Reflexive plural pronouns are: ourselves, yourselves, and themselves. Used following nouns that are subjects of sentences, reflexive pronouns can be singular or plural, but are neutral in gender (third person only). Reflexive pronouns following objects take the gender of those objects.


"mi nombre" means "my name". But, "Me llamo Linda" is the correct way. It literally means "I call myself Linda", but that's not really the way it's heard. Just memorize "Me llamo" and add your name on the end if you ever wanna introduce yourself. No need to think beyond that really.

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