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Je m'appelle John and My name is John.

English translation: My name is John.

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18:00 Feb 20, 2009
French to English translations [Non-PRO]
Other / basic
French term or phrase: Je m'appelle John and My name is John.
hi everyone, I'm learning French and I have a problem to translate "Je m'appelle John" from French to English. I can sound easy a bit, but my 2 questions are the following:
1. what kind of voice (passive or active) the French phrase is: "Je m'appelle John"?
2. and how m'appelle is _literally_ translated?

My versions:
1. If it is active voice, then m'appelle should be "call" verb.
Then it should be translated as
"I call myself John" => "Je m'appelle moi John" ?? Is it right?
2. If it is passive voice then there must be verb and past participle II like:
"I am called John" => "Je ..someverb.. m'appele John" (i don't know how to write it in French passive, but anyway the sentence will be different than usual phrase "Je m'appelle John", so where is the passive verb here?).
None of my versions are right. So why "Je m'appelle John" is grammatically correct?

Again, all I want is to understand what kind of voice the simple French phrase is, and I how to _literally_ translate it into English and vice versa.

I do know that French don't say "Mon nom es John" but all I want is to figure out how it should be translated literally using all the correct verbs and why it looks not grammatically perfect. Thanks, if anyone undertstands what I want :)
PaulMM
English translation:My name is John.
Explanation:
it's the pronominal voice; don't bother with a literal translation, Romance languages use pronominal verbs (verbs preceded by the reflexive pronoun "se"). There are three types of such verbs, have a look at the link.
Selected response from:

andreeab
Local time: 17:13
Grading comment
thanks for the link, now I know about pronomial voice existance :)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +2...are two very different grammatical structures!wordgirl
4 +1My name is John.
andreeab
Summary of reference entries provided
Laurel Clausen

  

Answers


37 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Je m\'appelle John and My name is John.
My name is John.


Explanation:
it's the pronominal voice; don't bother with a literal translation, Romance languages use pronominal verbs (verbs preceded by the reflexive pronoun "se"). There are three types of such verbs, have a look at the link.

Example sentence(s):
  • it is the equivalent of "My name is John"

    Reference: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/pronominalverbs.htm
andreeab
Local time: 17:13
Native speaker of: Native in RomanianRomanian
Grading comment
thanks for the link, now I know about pronomial voice existance :)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Helen Shiner
52 mins
  -> thank you
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56 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
Je m\\\'appelle John and My name is John.
...are two very different grammatical structures!


Explanation:
Hi Paul! OK, you're learning French, that's great! It may seem rough at first (I remember my first French classes...) but you'll see, in a few years you'll be on these boards answering tons of questions for the rest of us! Until then, let's see if I have understood your question:
1) "Je m'appelle" is NOT a passive phrase, it is REFLEXIVE (OK, more or less, I won't go into too much gory detail here or you will fall asleep!), which we use less in English and is used LOTS in French (and Spanish and Italian). So, the verb is conjugated for the first person singular (je, or I) and you use the first person direct object/reflexive pronoun (me=myself, in this case). You're actually saying "I call myself John", which sounds really RANDOM in English but is THE WAY people give their names in French (yes, there are other ways, just like in English where you can also say "people call me John" but I don't think we should go into those now... ). The "myself" is already in there as the "me", OK? HINT: At this stage it is often useful to just learn things in "chunks" (like je m'appelle=my name is), without worrying too much about the grammar!
2) Right now, don't worry about the passive voice (like "the car is washed BY the kids", right?) - that'll come later (quite a bit later, so relax!).
3) Get used to the fact that while French and English have quite a few words that are similar (intelligent, for example, is about the same in both, w/ different pronunciation, of course), the grammar can be VASTLY different, so just relax, let what your teachers say soak in, and don't try to get French (or any other language) to "fit" into English grammatical "shapes", because it (usually) just won't work, and will give you nasty headaches faster than you can say "je m'appelle Paul"!

OK, that's it for now, GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN!

wordgirl
Italy
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Melissa McMahon: reflexive is what I would have said too: neither passive nor active but "turned back" on the subject
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Melissa! :)

agree  Isabelle Berquin
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Isabelle! :)
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Reference comments


40 mins
Reference

Reference information:
Literally, it would be "I call myself John" - but it is used just as we use "My name is John". Just as "J'ai faim" is literally "I have hunger" but the English equivalent is "I am hungry". Happy studies!

Laurel Clausen
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 8
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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
Non-PRO (3): writeaway, Jean-Louis S., Susanna Garcia


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Changes made by editors
Feb 20, 2009 - Changes made by Susanna Garcia:
LevelPRO » Non-PRO
Feb 20, 2009 - Changes made by Stéphanie Soudais:
Language pairEnglish to French » French to English


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