cómo te llamas

or como te llamas

[koh-moh tey yah-muh s]

What does cómo te llamas mean?

Cómo te llamas is a conversational way to ask someone "What's your name?" in Spanish.

Examples of cómo te llamas

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Examples of cómo te llamas
Spanish mami with no business being into me: Hola papi como te llamas? Me: I don't even speak spanish lol
@Shellitronnn, March, 2018
Three times I have bought myself manuals and tapes, self-help Spanish. Three times I've sat in private places, playing mimic with the instructors. Como te llamas? Me llamo Beth. Como dice?
Beth Kephart, Still Love in Strange Places, 2003
I hadn’t used my Spanish in years, but on my first night here, I began retrieving it from the depths of my mind. “Me llamo Morgan,” I said, stumbling to introduce myself to my new cellmate. “Tengo veintiséis años. Cómo te llamas?” She found this toddler-level Spanish to be rather endearing, though she couldn’t stop laughing at me.
Morgan Godvin, The Marshall Project, December, 2017

Where does cómo te llamas come from?

cómo te llamas
pinterest

In Spanish, cómo means “how” or “what,” te is the singular and familiar pronoun “yourself,” and llamarse is a reflexive verb meaning “to be called.” This makes cómo te llamas literally something like “How is yourself called?” but actually meaning “What’s your name?”

Cómo te llamas is answered with Yo me llamo… or Me llamo… [given name].

The phrase has been recorded in its current form in Spanish since at least the mid-1500s. Since then, cómo te llamas has become a staple of conversational, if learned, Spanish. English speakers most commonly encounter the phrase in beginner-level Spanish classes as well as in the titles of movies and songs and in lyrics.

Cómo te llamas also lends itself to cute puns on the unrelated animal, the llama. Mugs, shirts, and other merchandise make use of this wordplay in English-speaking markets.

Who uses cómo te llamas?

Even among English speakers, cómo te llamas is widely understood because it is a common phrase in Spanish-language instruction and tourist guidebooks.

Many consider the phrase so basic, in fact, that they may ridicule people who don’t understand cómo te llamas or confuse it for cómo estás, “How are you?” For native Spanish speakers, meanwhile, cómo te llamas can be a humorous but endearing give-away that the user is a Spanish-language learner. 

The phrase is also often seen as a lazy pickup line for Spanish-speaking people who want to impress non-Spanish-speakers—or the other way around.

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