1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. Зовут or имя

Зовут or имя

[deactivated user]

    Duolingo always says Зовут when referring to name, but I've also seen people saying имя and now I'm confused, what's the difference between those two?

    February 20, 2019



    Зовут means "they call." So when you say, "меня зовут Виктор," you're literally saying "they call me Victor."

    But имя is the word for 'name.' So maybe in other sentences, where you are discussing a name, you would use имя as the subject of your sentence. For instance: "ее имя интересно" = "her name is interesting."

    [deactivated user]

      Oh, now I understand, thank you


      could you say "мое имя Виктор"


      You can say it. It's grammatically correct and everyone will understand you, but it's not how Russian people talk.

      Similarly in Spanish you could say "Mi nombre es Viktor" but native speaker will say "Me llamo Viktor". It's similar in other Slavic languages (Russian, Polish) and Romance languages (French, Italian), and I think also in Greek.


      thanks, that is what i thought but just wanted to check.


      зовут is the third person plural present imperfective form of the verb звать which means "to call"

      Меня зовут Ана - literally : "They call me Ana" (they is implied by the form зовут - you can skip pronouns when the verb form identifies them).

      It is the way you introduce yourself in Russian.

      имя is the noun which means name.


      I think grammatically, most people would not say that "they" is implied, but consider this the "middle voice." It's similar to the generic "they" in English, but not exactly the same. This is not truly a case of just casually dropping the pronoun, but an actual construction using the third-person plural conjugation of a verb with no pronoun to mean some generic, unspecified, and unspecifiable group of people. It is usually translated passively. For example: Его арестовали (He was arrested).

      [deactivated user]

        That's really helpful, I didn't realize it was a verb before, thank you


        A little tip: Wiktionary is very useful when you cannot recognize a form. There are other Russian only resources but wiktionary is doing a marvelous job as well in most cases.

        https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%B7%D0%BE%D0%B2%D1%83%D1%82 for зовут for example.


        Меня зовут Олег and What is your name?


        Здравствуйте Олег, меня зовут Кит. Привет из Америки!

        Откуда ты? (that apparently means "where are you from?")


        Я из России. В каком городе Вы живёте?


        Мой городе Бойсе. А вы?


        Я живу в Нижегородской области. Мой город очень маленький.

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