"What is your name?"
Translation:Vad heter du?
"Ni" has never been a formal pronoun in Swedish. Some people nowadays, mainly younger people, think it once was and might use it to adress elders, but chances are that they're more likely to take offense by that.
Thanks! I am not sure how far back "never" goes (I am almost 60) but I have swedish-english language books that are (maybe I should say were) pretty explicit on "ni" being used to address one with which one is not familiar. I take it that this is no longer the true. But if it was never the case then I think I have mistranslated an entry in SAOL under "du" which reads... "- ni med böjningsformer används också som singular i tilltal till mera obekant person."
Ni most certainly was a formal pronoun. The formal pronoun for the English "you." I'm an "elder" who was raised by Swedish grandparents in NYC, and was taught the "polite words" from a very early age. We would use "du" in the family to address elders and contemporaries, but "ni" to people new to us, strangers, and such anyone regarded as socially superior, such as the royal family, officials, and professionals. Perhaps social usage has changed, since a professional would also be addressed by their "title," such as "Herr Ingenjor" Johansson (with an umlaut over the o of course!).
@Zmrzlina so the swedish man who asked me "är ni från Norge?" was not being polite (I was only thirty at the time) but offensive??
Edit: it was in the country side (small village) in Dalarna, and he was acting very polite.
Since when does one "du" a stranger whose name is unknown? Does this reflect a change in what is socially acceptable?
Swedish doesn't have a politeness pronoun, and you could say "du" to anyone. I can say it to my teacher, my boss or even the prime minister without implying any disrespect whatsoever.
In case you're still interested, the was a thing called "du-reformen" (the you reform) in the 60-70's, since then it has been weird to call a single person "ni" in almost all cases.
This is off topic, but I have lived throughout the southern United States my whole life and the closest I have heard to that is "What are all y'all's names?", this being a contraction of: "What are all of your names?" Thank you for the clarification on the Swedish though, as I marked "Vad heter ni" and was confused when it was wrong!
You might also get "What is y'all's name" if you're asking about a group's name. Something like "My friends and I just started a band — Oh yeah? What's y'all's name?"
Granted, that would probably not be the most usual way to ask that question in the first place.
"Vad är ditt namn?" should be accepted - it's fine, but more formal. "Vad heter du?" is much more common.
does "ingen heter du?" have a meaning? And what would "I have no name" be, "Jag här inget namn."?
"Ingen heter du" is largely nonsensical.
"I have no name" would be "jag har inget namn" or "jag heter inget/ingenting".
Note the spelling, don't confuse har and här (have/has and here).