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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAY: “There are” so many words in Spanish!

If you’re a beginner starting out to learn Spanish, then you might  have felt sometime that there are so many more words in Spanish than in English.

The famous novel by Cervantes, Don Quijote, boasts exactly 327,360 words!

quijote page

                                Don’t worry, you don’t need o learn that many!

Actually  experts consider that English has double the amount of words compared to Spanish! If you are interested in reading more about this, here is an interesting article Does Spanish have more words than English? to find out exactly what the experts say.

 

 Let’s get back to this lovely little word :  HAY

In my previous post : Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word about HAY (pronounciation : AYE, as in “Aye Aye Captain”), we saw it can mean There’s… as in the examples below…

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

 

Today’s post is about ANOTHER use of HAY , which shows how cool, how useful this word is.       

                      HAY also means THERE ARE !

IMPORTANT NOTE: Very often,  simply adding ‘s’ to a singular noun converts that noun into a plural form ….That’s easy !

Hay  mesas.                                                         There are  tables

Hay  gafas.                                                            There are  reading glasses

Hay niñas.   (Pron: NINYAS)                            There are girls

Hay  sillas    (Pron: SEEYAS)                             There are chairs

Your task here will be to repeat these sentences out loud, even though other people think you are going mad…

 

Then invent some of your own, which are relevant in your own life (vida). You can look around your living room (salón) or the whole house (casa) and make a few sentences (frases)  about what you can see. Write these down. Say them, learn them, shout them, whisper them…whatever it takes…

A good online dictionary (diccionario) to find the words you need is Spanish.Dict.com

If you need help ayuda to make up your own sentences (frases), let me know in the comments below what you need .

                                 AMAZING CONCLUSION

   THERE’S… (THERE IS…) = HAY

                            THERE ARE ….    =            HAY                    

 

OR  ANOTHER WAY TO EXPRESS THIS  AMAZING POINT IS:

       HAY =      THERE’S…(THERE IS…)

HAY =      THERE ARE…

     One little word HAY in Spanish doubles up for a few words in                                                                     English!

So don’t ignore this great ‘little’ word in Spanish. Try and incorporate this word into your own Spanish learning life and use it as much as you can. It really can help you out in a lot of situations.

Try it and see.

If you need any help making your own relevant sentences, let me know in the  comments below and I will help you.

We’re not quite finished with HAY yet.

More next time!

 

 

 

 

 

Hay: “There’s” a really useful Spanish word to learn!

You are battling on with  Spanish and  need to have a quick fix to get your Spanish back on track?

I’ve got the word you need HERE…..IT’S “HAY

round_hay_bale2c_partially_eaten                                                      There’s a lot of HAY here! photo credit

                                ” HAY” = THERE’S

(pronounciation :   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

(Look back at the title of this post and see if you get the pun?)

So what’s so exciting about this “HAY”?

The great news is it means that HAY is always very, very useful, especially when you’re searching for words you need in Spanish.

Imagine the scenario

There’s… a snake in the garden      Hay…una culebra en el jardín

There’s…a fly on the wall              Hay …una mosca en la pared

There’s…a hole in my bucket        Hay…un agujero en mi cubo

There’s…a beer in the fridge          Hay…una cerveza en la nevera

                                               See how USEFUL…HAY  can be for you?

HOW CAN YOU USE “HAY” IN EVERYDAY SPANISH CONVERSATION?

I’m looking around my home as I’m writing this post, and I could use  HAY to describe what I can see. For example:

Hay una mesa.                                  There’s  a table

Hay una televisión.                         There’s a television

Hay una cocina.                                There’s a kitchen

Hay una silla                                      There’s a chair

Say these sentences out loud, even though others listening think you are mad!

(Remember pronounciation of HAY:   “I”, as in “I”  am tired )

Make up your own sentences, maybe looking back a other articlesI have posted here on Patterns or using SpanishDict.com

TASK:

LOOK AROUND YOUR HOME AND TELL ME WHAT “THERE IS”

 

If you need help with making those sentences, leave a comment below and I could help you out

 

Perhaps you know someone interested in learning Spanish, and about the use of HAY.  You could share this post with them and make them happy!

I really hope this helps….

Is it easy to learn to speak Spanish?

Is it easy to learn to speak  Spanish??

playa_parac3adso2c_villajoyosa2c_espac3b1a2c_2014-07-032c_dd_01-02_pan

source                               It will be very EASY to speak Spanish here

It’s always been a difficult question to answer, because it depends; and nobody likes to hear a fluffy answer like  “It depends”!

Learning to speak Spanish depends on several factors and so if it’s going to be easy or not also depends on several factors.

 

These factors include:

  • Goals:

    What do you want or need to know in Spanish? This can go between a few simple words, basic Spanish conversation for social means, basic Spanish for business purposes, advanced Spanish for social means, advanced spanish for business purposes and even higher.

 

 

  • Motivation:  How motivated and driven you are to learn the language.

  • Time available:

    How much free time, outside work constraints and family commitments are you prepared devote to learning? (This could encompass time for lessons, on-line courses  or contacts, travel abroad to practise with native speakers, etc. )

     

  • Finance:

    How much money you are prepared to invest; on lessons, on-line courses, travel abroad, etc. ?
  • Feedback:

    We all need some positive feedback or indication that we are progressing and improving in our language skills. Without this feedback, language learning flounders and drowns fast!

 

                    DO YOU REALLY WANT TO LEARN SPANISH?

Basing your answers on the above, let’s have a bit of fun to assess if you are going to find it easy to learn Spanish:

MOTIVATION: Where are you really on “Motivation”? WHY do you want or need to speak this language?

TIME AVAILABLE: Realistically how much time are you willing to invest? (The language-learning process for adults  can take time, all this depending on a) motivation, b)time available, c) finance and d) feedback.

time_on_the_beach

Time on the beach! source

FINANCE: How much finance are you willing to invest? The whole language-learning process can be accomplished absolutely free. Free on-line resources, living in a country where your chosen language is spoken, these are all valid options.

However, if you can’t find the suitable on-line course, or friendly neighbour who happens to speak the language you want to speak, then it may be necessary to invest some finance into your mission.

FEEDBACK: You need your feedback. You need to know how you’re doing, because chances are you will feel you are doing badly. It’s a strange thing about new language learners but in my experience they don’t seem to credit themselves on their language progression and they generally feel they are not progressing enough or even at all. So get feedback from your on-line community, take some basic Spanish tests that can be found easily on-line. This will help the ……

Goals to lead to the Motivation to lead to the Time Availability to the Finance to the Feedback to the Goals…….

If you have any questions or thoughts about language learning or learning Spanish, please leave a comment below.

I can help you. …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you got a….bicycle?

We all love having things. You have things…your friends and family have things. Now’s the time to really let them know that you know what they’ve got…

It’s time to tell your son: “But you already HAVE a bicycle!”

ordinary_bicycle01

19th Century bicycle, known as the ‘penny-farthing’ (The big wheel likened to a ‘penny’ and the smaller wheel to a ‘farthing’ = a quarter of a penny)

 

It’s time to tell your friend she is so lucky because she has a bag: “You HAVE a bag!”

It’s time to tell your daughter that she has a skirt, even if she wants a new one:”You HAVE a skirt.”

It’s time to tell your friend that she indeed has a bag: “You HAVE a bag.”

 

Grammatically speaking, this is the ‘second person singular’ of the verb: TENER (to have)

 

Tienes una bicicleta  You have/ You’ve got a bicycle

Tienes una amiga   You have/ You’ve got …a  friend (who is a girl) / one friend

Tienes una casa       You have/ You’ve got…a house / one house

Tienes una flor        You have/ You’ve got…a flower / one flower  

Tienes una falda      You have/ You’ve got…a skirt / one skirt

Tienes una mesa      You have/ You’ve got…a table / one table

Tienes una bolsa       You have/ You’ve got…bag / one bag

Tienes una nieta        You have/ You’ve got…a grand-daughter / one grand-daughter 

Pronunciation, for English speakers: 3 syllables:  TEE-AY-NESS. Once you have mastered   the separate syllables, start rolling them together a bit  faster.

Commit them to memory and then make up your own sentences, imagining you are speaking to a friend or family member.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your sentences. (I love Spanishdict.com as it is free and easy to use.)

But what if you want to ASK if your friend or family member has something? In English we have to do all sorts of acrobatics and turn stuff around in our heads just to ask a simple question.

How easy in Spanish, when all you have to do is put on a little bit of a questioning voice???

So when speaking, there is absolutely no difference between the affirmation (saying it affirmatively, positively and a question (or interrogative). Just a questioning lilt is required. In written Spanish, however, you can’t hear the questioning tone, so a clue is given so the reader knows there’s a question coming up. ¿ . An up-side-down question mark! It looks a bit weird, right ¿ . You’ll have to get used to it because it pops up (or down) a lot of the time.  72px-vraagteken-svg72px-vraagteken-svg

¿Tienes una bicicleta?  Do you have/ have you got …a bicycle?

¿Tienes una amiga?   ..Do you have/ have you got ….a  friend (who is a girl) / one friend?

¿Tienes una casa?     .Do you have/ have you got …..a house / one house?

¿Tienes una flor?       .Do you have/ have you got ….a flower / one flower?  

¿Tienes una falda?      …Do you have/ have you got …a skirt / one skirt?

¿Tienes una mesa?      .Do you have/ have you got …..a table / one table?

¿Tienes una bolsa?      .Do you have/ have you got …..bag / one bag?

¿Tienes una nieta?        Do you have/ have you got ……a grand-daughter / one grand-                                                                                                                                             daughter?

 

Ask  aloud all the questions. Commit them to memory and then make up your own questions, imagining you are asking a friend or family member.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your questions.

 

DON’T BE SO NEGATIVE!

We spend our lives trying to be more positive, but there area few occasions when we have to succoumb to a bit of negativity!

No tienes una bicicleta   You don’t have/ You haven’t got …a bicycle

No tienes una amiga     You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a  friend (a girl) / one friend

No tienes una casa        You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a house / one house

No tienes una flor        You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a flower / one flower  

No tienes una falda      You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a skirt / one skirt

No tienes una mesa      You don’t have/ You haven’t got…a table / one table

No tienes una bolsa       You don’t have/ You haven’t got..bag / one bag

No tienes una nieta    You don’t have/ You haven’t got..a grand-daughter /one grand-                                                                                                                                                 daughter 

Now you are equipped with a great set of sentences, questions and answers, positive or negative!  Commit them to memory and then make up your own questions, imagining you are talking to a friend or family member.

vosotros2

Asking and answering lots of questions about life!

Now you can invent your own conversations. For example:                                                       Conversation 1:  Have you got a skirt? Yes, I ‘ve got a skirt.                                                     Conversation 2:  Have you got a skirt? No, I haven’t got a skirt, but I’ve got a bicycle.

You can replace words in italics with your own vocabulary to make a conversation.

Use an on-line  dictionary to find more vocabulary of items that make sense in your conversations.

I hope this helps…

Please ask me about any doubts you have about Spanish grammar in comments below.

More next time…

 

Little Red Riding Hood and how she can help

 

You probably know at this stage of your Spanish language learning, you aren’t going to launch into reading the first chapter of “Don Quijote” by Miguel de Cervantes just yet. (Cervantes was/is to Spanish literature as  William Shakespeare was/is to English literature.)

 

naftel-isabel-nee-oakley-act-1-little-red-riding-hood

Isabel Naftel (Wikimedia Commons)

In fact your literary level may be more akin to Little Red Riding Hood.  And that would be great. There are so many language learning resources available now that it only makes sense to tap into as many of these as possible.

You have to swallow all that pride and go back to basics. The thing is that ‘basics’ in language learning can mean really basic.

Would you not be thrilled if you could speak Spanish as well as a 3 year-old Spanish child? Your ultimate goal may be to speak a little better than that in the future, but at the moment that would be a fine goal.

Children’s fairy-tales in bilingual texts are a great learning resource. A bilingual text usually means that the story or text is written in a target language, (in this example Spanish) and on the next page, usually visible, is the parallel text in (this case) English.

An example of this could be this bilingual text of Little Red Riding Hood, which I found on Amazon, very cheaply.

(Disclaimer: I have no connection with Amazon but simply want to provide an example of a bilingual text which could prove useful and fun.)

The key would be to choose stories you are familiar with (we all know Little Red Riding Hood) and so half the battle of understanding is already won.

The best way to use a story like this would be:

 

  • Read the text in both English and Spanish
  • Look up words you don’t know.
  • Notice the verbs of SER and ESTAR and when they are used.
  • Enjoy understanding the story, like a three-year-old would.

 

Please let me know if this has helped.

More next time…