As a dabbling polyglot, I've found myself learning the basics of several languages over the course of my lifetime. One of the first things that is taught in any language is personal introductions. I was struck recently by the fact that English is the only language I have learned that uses the construction
What is your name?
Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Chinese all use some variation of
How are you called?
I'm told that Russian has something approximating "What is your name?" but it is sounds archaic to use it. The modern version is closer to "What are you called?"
So I'm curious. How did English end up with a phrase that is so different than the rest?
N.B. I am not interested in opening a can of worms regarding social conventions. Regardless of how blunt we may consider the use of "What is your name?" in a social context, English speakers would find it exceedingly odd to use "How are you called?" in its place. If it helps, let's forget the introductory aspect, and think of "What is his name?" versus "How is he called?"
UPDATE: So far it looks like Old and Middle English used a phrase similar to German and Scandinavian countries. Monica Cellio says that Modern Hebrew has this "What is your name" construction as well. Is there any evidence that this new phrasing might have been picked up in Early Modern English, perhaps after the introduction of the King James Version of the Bible?