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How do you say it in English? --?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by andychen, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. andychen Senior Member

    Chinese, Taiwan
    Hi, everyone, what do you think of the following?

    How do you say it in English?
    What do you say for it in English?
    What do you call it in English?
    What do you say it in English?
    “it” here refers to something expressed in a language other than English.

    For these four sentences, which one(s) is ok?
    Can you give me better expressions?

    Thanks in advance for your comments.
     
  2. Bil

    Bil Senior Member

    English USA
    Hi Andy

    How do you say it in English? (This sentence is OK)

    What word do you use for it in English?

    What do you call it in English? (OK)

    How do you say it in English?

     
  3. TrentinaNE Senior Member

    USA
    English (American)
    In general, "How do you say it / What do you call it" are correct. Which you should use depends on the context, so please provide examples for more details.

    Also, if you are pointing to something specific, it is appropriate to say "What do you call this in English?"

    Cheers,
    Elisabetta
     
  4. michael13 Senior Member

    Chinese
    If HOW and WHAT are similar, are these two both correct?:

    1.What do you call your siblings?
    2.How do you call your siblings?
     
  5. go_neybee New Member

    USA
    Tagalog
    I don't think How and What are similar. "How do you call your siblings?" To me sounds like I'm supposed to answer: "By phone." Or "By name."
     
  6. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    You can also say What's the English for it?
    What do you call your siblings?
    sounds as though you might call them You idiots.
     
  7. michael13 Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thank you, Neybee and Rhit. But I assume in the world people call their siblings in at least two ways. One, which might not be common in English countries, is, they say directly Brother or Sister, Second Brother, Third Brother etc. which appears in a society that stresses the importance of social status, and you are forbidden to call their names. Another one, by names, like Peter and Mary.

    In this situation, how should I phrase the question if I want to know in what way people address their siblings in their country?
     
  8. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    Even in this situation, "How do you call your siblings?" is incorrect. You would have to say,

    "How do you refer to your brothers and sisters?" and, as westerners will have no idea what you mean, you would have to add, "How do you refer to your brothers and sisters when you describe them with respect to their position in your family?"


    (I find that the word "sibling" is not often used in English except in professional and academic language.)
     
  9. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Not so in the US, where it's commonly understood by everyone and used in the lay press as well.
     
  10. rhitagawr

    rhitagawr Senior Member

    British English
    'Sibling' would be an unusual word to use in everyday speech in BE. It's a word a sociologist would use. We'd say brother(s) and sister(s). We don't divide them up into 'first brother', 'second brother' etc. We'd say 'younger brother' etc. according to age.
     
  11. michael13 Senior Member

    Chinese
    Thank you, Paul, Parla and Rhit~
     

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