Va (Bah!) Spanish for Beginners. The verb IR : To go

Author’s note: I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Read on and  listen below to how real Spanish people speak  real Spanish!


 

The white lace curtains are twitching in ‘suburbia’.

window_4_by_carroll_jones_iii

White lace curtains…Photo Credit

We’re all wanting to know where’s she going? With whom? For how long? When will she be back?

And so on, and so on…

Would not that be great to be able to say in Spanish?

Maybe not. You’re not a gossip peeking out from behind those lace curtains.

But you really MIGHT  need to talk about where someone goes or where they are going in Spanish at some time soon.

running_young_woman

¿A dónde VA?  Where IS SHE GOING? Photo Credit

To revise the verb  IR : TO GO, take a quick look at a previous post of the First Person Singular of IR : ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners (I go / I’m going)

Also Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas? can help with an overview of the Second Person Singular of IR : VAS (You go / you’re going)

Moving on now to the Third Person Singular of IR : VA 

(Pronunciation note: The ‘V‘ sound in Spanish is more like a soft ‘B’ sound in English, so VA is pronounced almost like the exclamation in English ‘BAH!

We’ve seen a few times now how Spanish can double up many times for several meanings in English and that’s what makes it so simple!

The single word VA can have several meanings which should make things simple, but it could be confusing, if you know what I mean?

Let’s look at this great word VA,

                                                                                       VA

  • SHE GOES = VA
  • SHE’S GOING= VA
  • HE GOES= VA
  • HE’S GOING= VA
  • IT GOES  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA
  • IT’S GOING  (like a dog a cat, a car, a train, an aeroplane etc.)= VA

Is that not amazing??

Remember: IN CONTEXT it will probably be very clear WHO is being referred to to…

but if in doubt you can always add SHE = ELLA or HE = ÉL to your sentence. but Spanish people rely on context and often don’t bother with the HE or SHE words!

VA  even can be used instead of VAS which we saw above, to mean

  • YOU GO
  • YOU’RE GOING

but this use is limited to very polite or formal situations.

(I’ll talk about this issue ‘polite‘ and ‘formal‘ forms of the Spanish verb in a future post.)

So it’s all very clear now how extremely useful this little unassuming word is…

Let’s have some fun making sentences with  VA

Listen to a native Spanish speaker, my daughter Araceli, pronounce each phrase.  Repeat what she says and then listen to the phrase again.

  • Listen to each recording…repeat the phrase in the space provided and then wait to hear the phrase again. How close were you?

Note: Remember “to the…. shop” = A LA…TIENDA (for feminine nouns with ‘ la)

  • Va a la tienda  

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going …to the shop

  • Va a la clase de español

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Spanish class

  • Va a la peluquería

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the hairdresser’s

  • Va a  casa de Jane

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

  • Va a la estación

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the station

  • Va a la plaza

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the Square

Remember “to the…work” = AL…TRABAJO (for masculine nouns with ‘el‘)

  • Va al trabajo

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) work

  • Va al colegio

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to (the) school

  • Va al bar

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the bar

  • Va al mercado

She goes /She’s going /He goes / He’s going…to the market

For more on A LA and AL , see previous post How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

I’m so excited to have been able to add audio files to this article.

Does it really help to listen to a native speaker  carefully and repeat what (and HOW) they speak?

Please let me know in the comments below if you would be interested in listening to more native Spanish speakers in my posts.

I really hope this helps…

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Only one basket? How different styles in your language learning can help you reach your goals.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!

beuckelaer_girl_with_a_basket_of_eggs

Too many eggs in one basket!

I know Easter has just passed and it would have been more sensible to use that metaphor during the Easter weekend, but hey…I’m late!

Starting to learn a new language is an exciting time. Everything is shiny new and squeaky clean and you want to get everything right.

You imagine it’s going to be a straight run, with progress being made after every learning session you undertake….

(See a previous post about how motivation drives your language learning: How learning a language is like learning to drive. )

You head straight for the Internet to find the exact route you should take. A simple phrase like  “how to learn a language” into the search engine will result in hundreds, nay,  thousands of suggestions for language learning.

Unbelievably easy.

We are really living the Golden Age of language learning at the moment, as there are bucketfuls of useful resources on line that can help you in your learning process.

Wonderful.

 What was that about the eggs in the basket?

The idea behind the expression (for those readers not so familiar with English expressions) is that if you are collecting eggs ever (!)  and you put them all in one basket, if anything happens to that basket, such as your tripping over an angry hen on the way back to the kitchen, all the eggs will end up broken and resulting in NO eggs, and an even more furious hen.

L0049524 Angry hen from Darwin's Expression of Emotions....

This is an angry hen! Photo Credit

The inference is that it would be wiser to put the eggs you collected into several baskets, in order to minimise the risk of breaking all the eggs.

This expression is widely used in English, often in reference to financial matters.

The point I’m trying to make in regard to language learning is that if you put all your eggs, i.e. All your efforts to learn, into one basket, i.e. ONE particular method or Language ‘Application’ then you might be limiting your learning process to the small screen.

The language learning process might be summarised as acquiring the sound and visual system to communicate with others by listening,  speaking, reading and writing.

That just goes to show there are an awful lot of boxes to be ticked in order to reach some level of competency in a new language.

19 things you might want to do if you are learning a foreign language

When someone wants to learn a new language, as an adult, they could really  mean anything between 1 to 16 of the following:

1) I want to be able to understand what the native speakers says to me.

2) I want to be able to reply to what has been said in the target language.

3) I want to be able to understand a television programme in the target. language

5) I want to be able to understand a radio programme in the target language.

6) I want to be able to read a newspaper in the target language.

7) I want to be able to read a book in the target language.

8) I want to be able to read informative brochures and pamphlets.

9) I want to be able to read the letters I receive in the target language.

10) I want to be able to understand songs being sung in the target language.

11) I want to be able to talk about myself in the target language.

12) I want to be able to ask about the other person in their native language.

13) I want to be able to talk about other people and things to that person in their native language.

14) I want to be able to say something funny in the target language.

15) I want to be able to write a note to my neighbour in their native language.

16) I want to be able to talk about my business matters in the target  language.

17) I want to be able to understand what is going on around me in the target language.

18) I want to be able to talk on the phone in the target language.

19) I want to be able to understand what a native speaker says on the phone.

One method alone cannot prepare you entirely for those 19 reasons you may want to learn a second language….

So how do you really navigate through to the short-cut to tick the boxes you need to tick, in order to achieve the success you’re looking for in your language learning journey?

4 STEPS TO MAKING REALISTIC LANGUAGE LEARNING GOALS

footsteps

I know there are over 4 steps in this picture, just to prove langauge learning is flexible Photo Credit

  1. STEP ONE: IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS
  2. STEP TWO: CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS (MAKE ACTION PLAN) TO MAKE THINGS PERSONAL
  3. STEP THREE: TAKE ACTION AND INTO BATTLE
  4. STEP FOUR: RE-ASSESS SITUATION AND ADJUST PLAN OF ACTION TO SUIT.

Let’s look back at the road map above to focus on each point.

  • STEP ONE. 

It’s important to identify your specific goals in your language learning process. Look over the 19 skills you may want to work on and make a specific note.

It’s too flimsy,  vague and TOO BIG to think “I want to learn …(e.g.) Spanish!”

Be more specific and think ” I want to be able to talk about myself in Spanish to a native speaker in….(e.g.) 12 weeks.” 

  • STEP TWO

Now, according to your specific goal from STEP ONE, look at what your options are, specifically focusing on the skills your require.

In the example I chose; ” I want to be able to talk about myself in Spanish to a native speaker in….(e.g.) 12 weeks.”, you could look for specific programmes dealing with that subject area using  personal themes.

Why learn vocabulary and expressions about Juan working in an office in Guatemala when you are Shirley from Hartlepool wanting to talk about yourself and your teenage daughters?

Make it personal! Focus on vocabulary and expressions that are true to YOU and YOUR life. Don’t waste time on Juan in Guatemala …YET!

  • STEP THREE

Now’s the time for committment.

You said 12 weeks so it’s 12 weeks.

Commit on a daily basis to doing  something about this language thing you have signed up for and that you would really love to achieve!

Get the ‘APP’. Buy the books. Research more words. Use on-line resources to their maximum. Listen to native speakers as much as possible. Find language buddies on line who can help amazingly.

See how far you can go, with committment.

Prove to yourself you can do it.

  • STEP FOUR

This is a very important step, not to be taken lightly! (Pun intended; sorry!)

Half-way through your designated time-scale, stop and take a look backwards and forwards.

Ask the question: Has the approach, method, ‘Application’ you have been using lived up to your expectations?

Will you be able to meet your short-term goal, as in the example above, of being able to “talk about yourself in Spanish to a native speaker in….(e.g.) 12 weeks.”?

If so then you’re on the right track. Keep steaming ahead and reach your goal. Give yourself a treat in celebration.

Show the world how you have reached the target you set out to reach.

Fantastic.

Well Done!

HOWEVER,

if you feel you aren’t quite where you thought you would be after setting realistic goals, then think about how to turn things round before you get to the point of failure and demotivation.

It’s not you who’s failing but it may be the approach, method, etc.

There are so many different factors that enter into second language acquisition for adults that there may be several things you could change if you feel you’re getting nowhere fast.

If you feel you aren’t getting where you want to be, then if you stop and re-assess your situation NOW, you’ll be in plenty of time to  get back on track and reach your goal.

You may need more time committment. You might be a more visual learner and need to WATCH the language being used in films, on television, podcasts, or something similar.

(E.g., you may even need to re-assess your time-scale and extend the goal for another 4 weeks.)

The important thing is to keep the goal in sight and strive towards it.

So this is where we get back to those eggs in that basket….

    Don’t rely on ONE sole method to enable you to reach your language goals

Diversify, try different ways, styles, approaches and see what works best for you. In the end it’s all about YOUR committment, YOUR motivation, YOUR goal, and  how YOU learn.

Most importantly, don’t give up!

Let me know what your short-term goals are for your language learning in the next few months. Make a comment in the box below and let me help you make realistic goals for you.

I hope this helps.

Where on earth are you going? Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas?

Are you an inquisitive person?

Are you always asking where people have been and where they’re going?

atalante_1_lepautre_louvre_mr_1804

Where on earth is she going?

Do you just LOVE knowing what’s going on with everybody?

PERHAPS NOT…

but even so…you really may need to ask someone this question in Spanish occasionally.

 

 

In a previous post, ‘VOY’ : Spanish for Beginners, we saw the way to use the ‘First Person’ of the verb IR (to go) so it would be really useful to look back at that post to refresh the use of VOY and its two meanings.

DÓNDE = WHERE      A= TO 

‘A DÓNDE`IS USED WHEN ASKING SOMEONE ‘TO WHERE’  THEY ARE GOING

(It’s a funny old world, isn’t it…but that’s what makes languages so interesting!)

We saw in the previous post VOY  had two meanings in English:

VOY = I GO  and  I’M GOING

so in the same way VAS has two meanings in English:

VAS = YOU GO and YOU’RE GOING

(Pronunciation VAS = like BASS in English)

We saw how AMAZINGLY EASY it is to turn any verb form into a question in Spanish and this is a perfect opportunity to learn by heart an extremely common pattern in Spanish conversation.

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar

 

                                A BASIC CONVERSATION PATTERN

A basic common pattern in any language could be;

Question :  “Where are you going ?”    Answer: ” I’m going to the shop”

 

If you feel you might need to know this conversational exchange, then read on…

because it’s so easy.

 

VAS = YOU GO or YOU ARE GOING

 

To make a question out of this verb form VAS, all we have to do is add a ‘question voice’ when speaking, or up-side-down question marks when writing. SO EASY

 

¿A dónde VAS?    VOY a la tienda      Where are you going? I’m going to the shop.

¿A dónde VAS?   VOY al bar               Where are you going? I’m going to the bar.

 

A different style of question which you can easily use in the early days of learning Spanish would be……

Are you going to the ………..?  Yes, I’m going to the……….

(REMEMBER; A LA = TO THE … using a feminine noun)

¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                                           Are you going to the shop?

¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?                 Are you going to the Spanish class?

¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                           Are you going to the hairdresser’s?

¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                       Are you going to the house of Jane ? (Jane’s house)

¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                              Are you going to the station?

¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                     Are you going to the square?

 

REMEMBER: AL = TO THE   when using a masculine noun

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                 Are you going to (the) work?

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Are you  going to the school?

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Are you going to the bar?

¿VAS AL MERCADO?                            Are you going to the market?

Now it’s time for a real conversation:

vosotros2

Great conversations!

Using feminine noun place-names:

  • ¿ VAS A LA TIENDA ?                             Sí, VOY a la tienda.

Are you going to the shop?                   Yes, I’m going to the shop.

  • ¿VAS A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL?        SÍ, VOY  a la clase de español.

Are you going to the Spanish lesson?   Yes, I’m going to the Spanish lesson.

  • ¿VAS A LA PELUQUERÍA?                     Sí, VOY a la peluquería

Are you going to the hairdresser’s?   Yes, I’m going to the hairdresser’s

  • ¿VAS A LA CASA DE JANE?                   Sí, VOY a la casa de Jane.

Are you going to the house of Jane (Jane’s house)?   Yes, I’m going to Jane’s house.

  • ¿VAS A LA ESTACIÓN?                           Sí, VOY a la estación.

Are you going to the station?               Yes, I’m going to the station.

  • ¿VAS A LA PLAZA?                                 Sí, VOY a la plaza.

Are you going to the square?              Yes, I’m going to the square.

 

And using masculine noun place-names

¿VAS AL TRABAJO?                                     Sí, VOY  al trabajo.

Are you going to work?                           Yes, I’m going to work

¿VAS AL COLEGIO?                             Sí, VOY al colegio.

Are you going to school?                    Yes, I’m going to school.

¿VAS AL BAR?                                        Sí, VOY al bar.

Are you going to the bar?                  Yes, I’m going to the bar.

  • ¿VAS AL MERCADO?                           Sí, VOY al mercado

Are you going to the market?            Yes, I’m going to the market.

 

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN

Now for thefun!

  • Repeat the sentences aloud in Spanish. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.
  • See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning; Repeat, repeat, repeat…
  • Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using ¿VAS ? A LA or AL.

 

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

Hola!

 

In my last post I talked about VOY (I GO or I’M GOING).

In the examples I used there, I chose FEMININE nouns to accompany the verb IR (TO GO).

I did this deliberately because, over the years I have been teaching Spanish, I have seen that FEMININE nouns and adjectives tend to be mentioned as a aside, an add-on, and sometimes not even written out for students to learn effectively.

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Voy A LA plaza (I’m going to the square)

I’m determined to change that, by introducing FEMININE forms in Spanish grammar first!

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PG

Feminine nouns first!

Some examples from that post nouns considered FEMININE in Spanish grammar…

 

LA CLASE = THE CLASS                A LA CLASE  = TO THE CLASS

VOY ……A LA CLASE DE ESPAÑOL          I go to the Spanish class

VOY …. A LA PELUQUERÍA                       I go to the hairdresser’s

VOY …. A LA TIENDA                                 I’m going to the shop

VOY …. A LA CASA                                      I’m going to the house

VOY …. A LA ESTACIÓN                            I’m going to the station

VOY …. A LA PLAZA                                   I’m going to the square

A LA =TO THE (with FEMININE nouns)

However, there are lots of other places you need to talk about, which are considered MASCULINE in Spanish grammar…

 For MASCULINE nouns: EL = THE  

El trabajo The work

(El trabajo (Pronunciation: trabaHo, with strong emphasis on the H sound)

El colegio          The school

El bar               The bar

El mercado     The market

El pueblo         The town

El museo          The museum

In a sentence where you want to talk about going TO one of those places, things change slightly!  You might think you could say ‘A EL MERCADO’ for TO THE MARKET. 

But  in Spanish it just doesn’t work like that!

The two vowel sounds of ‘A’ and ‘E’ just don’t go together. They’re difficult to pronounce, so Spanish has just contracted them together to get rid of the problem. SIMPLE REALLY!

“A EL” doesn’t exist. “A EL” is contracted into ONE WORD, by dropping the E, and, HEY PRESTO… the A and L become = AL.

Very clever!

A EL TRABAJO = AL MERCADO = TO THE MARKET

AL = TO THE  (with MASCULINE nouns)

intervention_toit_sis_genc3a8ve

Voy al trabajo en un tejado (I go to work …on a roof! Photo Credit

VOY  AL TRABAJO    I go to (the) work

VOY AL COLELGIO    I’m going to the school

VOY AL BAR            I’m going to the bar

VOY AL MERCADO  I go to the market

 

 

VOY AL PUEBLO    I’m going to the town

VOY AL MUSEO    I’m going to the museum

For a review of VOY and its different meanings, see my previous post VOY.

 

Repeat the sentences aloud. Get used to hearing yourself saying the differents words. It really does help fix the patterns in your mind.

See a previous post about the benefits of repetition in language learning

Make up several  sentences, relevant to your OWN life, using VOY and A LA or AL.

IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, OR JUST MORE CLARIFICATION, LEAVE A COMMENT IN THE BOX BELOW.

I really hope this helps. Let me know if it does.