They’re going to ban the ‘van’! Spanish for Beginners

So imagine this scenario

There’s a big VAN and it’s parked in your street right outside your front door!

No one knows whose it is.

It’s been there now for 3 weeks and no one in sight.

Right outside your front door, the cheek of it!

1978_ford_transit_van2c_ice_cream_van_conversion_282240713089529

You come home from work, hungry, stressed, tired, and the last thing you need is to have to drive around looking for a parking space at that time of night, in the rain.

You have no option but report this to the police…and they tell you that :

‘THEY’RE GOING TO …BAN…the ‘VAN‘ from parking in front of your door.

                                         VAN (Pronounced almost BAN with a softer ‘b’ sound)

Listen to the audio and repeat in the space provided.

 VAN

To express the negative i.e., THEY’RE NOT GOING TO… simply add a NO.

NO VAN…

Then to make a question ARE THEY GOING…? is simply formed by using a questioning tone…

VAN….?

Here we are looking at the verb IR (TO GO) and the last form (in grammatical terms = 3rd Person, plural) is to say THEY GO ….or THEY’RE GOING. 

NOTE ON PRONOUNCIATION:

The anecdotal story above is a technique to try and attach a story or scene to bring to mind when seaching for a way, in this case to say “They’re going” ,  which in Spanish is VAN and is pronounced ‘ban’ , as in to prohibit or stop something happening. (This technique is called ‘a mnemonic’ , pronounced: “NEMONIC”..

Maybe that was a bit of a tenuous link, but all is fair in love and war…or in other words, we need to grasp onto ANY formula or help memorise a word or phrase in another language.

However, VAN also means ‘THEY GO’ which is just as important!

How cool is Spanish by being able to double up and just have ONE word for so many English words?

So the gist of all this is quite simple….

In English, we choose THEY GO or THEY’RE GOING depending on meaning:

THEY GO….to the shop….. every day/on Mondays/ when it rains…etc., [This suggests  a routine or a regular occurence]

THEY’RE GOING …to the shop ….later/ tomorrow/ on Monday / next week etc., [This suggests a one time occurrence in the FUTURE]

Look how easy in Spanish! SAME WORD= EASY!

VAN a la farmacia     =   THEY GO to the chemist……….as a routine or regular occurence…MANY TIMES, because they’re really ill and have to go often, perhaps]

VAN a la farmacia

VAN a la farmacia    =    THEY’RE GOING to the chemist…as a one-time occurrence in the future = ONCE, because they’re ill today, perhaps]

VAN a la farmacia

See how it’s the same?

Now for a big NO.

NO VAN a la farmacia  = THEY DON’T GO to the chemist (e.g. on Tuesdays because it’s closed, perhaps)

REMEMBER TO LISTEN AND REPEAT, EVEN THOUGH YOU FEEL YOU DON’T NEED TO. TRUST ME, YOU DO!

 

NO VAN a la farmacia

NO VAN a la farmacia = THEY AREN’T GOING to the chemist (e.g.; because it’s raining today)

NO VAN a la farmacia

See how it’s the same? This is so easy you’ll wonder why you hadn’t seen this pattern before!

However, you still need to be a bit inquisitive. So you may need the question form .

DO THEY GO …to the …..chemist/shop/beach/ station or wherever?

                    ¿VAN a la farmacia?

OR

ARE THEY GOING….. to the…chemist……OR/shop/beach/station or wherever?

¿VAN a la farmacia?

 

Perhaps you are seeing now some patterns emerging. For more on patterns you can always look back on a previous post: Conversation Patterns

This is so exciting, but isn’t over yet.

I have lots more recordings on this same theme which I’ll save for my next post coming soon.

In the meantime, look back over previous posts and especially listen to and repeat the recordings.

You could even take a look at the usefulness of repeating at Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

If there’s anything you think I have missed or something extra I could help you with, leave a comment and I will try to help you personally.

More next time…

 

 

 

 

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VAIS: Conjugation of verb IR in Spanish for Beginners

IF ALL LANGUAGES WERE  GRAMMATICALLY THE SAME, WE WOULD’NT HAVE SO MUCH  FUN LEARNING THEM!

One curious thing in English grammar is that there is no distinction between talking one-to-one with a person and asking “Are you going to the shop?” or talking to two or more people and asking the same question: “Are you going to the shop?”

In many languages there is a BIG DIFFERENCE in these two terms.

A conceptual difference.

But not in English…

I have taught  English as a foreign language  to people from differing linguistic backgrounds and some are quite confused by this unusual grammar point. But this is what makes language so interesting, all these little idiosyncracies!

So you think you are confused by Spanish grammar?

Guess what?

Spanish people are also very confused by ENGLISH grammar.

 

confused_man

TOTALLY CONFUSED

Take a moment to feel some sympathy for the poor Spaniards when they discover that, grammatically, there is no difference addressing one person in the intimacy of your own home or addressing a group of friends when you’re out on the town one evening.

“How can that be possible?” they ask.

But that’s why we love languages so much, right?

SKIP THIS NEXT PARAGRAPH IN GREEN IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN THE GRAMMATICAL TERMINOLOGY OF IR = TO GO

It’s a funny old verb IR in Spanish. 

This post is looking into what is known grammatically as the SECOND PERSON PLURAL  of the verb TO GO = YOU GO or YOU ARE GOING or YOU’RE GOING..

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about addressing ONE person, THE SECOND PERSON SINGULAR   Spanish for Beginners: ¿A dónde vas?

Now it’s time to broaden our social network and address two, three or twenty and more. (THIS MEANS SECOND PERSON PLURAL)

 

Now start looking at the verb itself

Click on the audio link and repeat all the sentences recorded. Get used to hearing yourself making ‘funny noises’; also known as “speaking another language”.

 

VAIS

 

VAIS is a bit like English ‘ice’ but with a soft ‘B’ in front (BICE). A soft ‘B’ sound for the ‘V‘ is Spanish.

VAIS means :

YOU GO

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

YOU ARE GOING

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

YOU’RE GOING

(speaking to more than ONE person)

or

Repeat the audio link again and as many times as you like/want/need. You choose. The more the merrier!

That was so easy!

Now for the questions.

For this you simply add an inquisitive intonation to the exact same word. This is so much easier than making questions in English.

Remember how lucky you are to be learning Spanish and NOT English as a foreing language!

¿VAIS?

With a ‘question’ voice, this now means, speaking to more than one person:

   DO YOU GO?  (e.g. …to work at nine?)

or

ARE YOU GOING? (e.g. to work tomorrow?)

How easy is that? VERY EASY!

TIME TO START SPEAKING SPANISH NOW

Listen now to a native Spanish speaker (my daughter!) using VAIS in real sentences. Repeat after the first sentence, wait to hear her again and then repeat again to accustom yourself and readjust.

See this post about the benefits of repeating ALOUD your new language: Repeat, repeat, repeat…

SPEAK OUT IN SPANISH NOW !

La tienda = the shop   A la tienda = to the shop

VAIS a la tienda 

You (people) go the shop

or

You (people) are going to the shop


La fiesta = the party      A la fiesta = to the party

 

VAIS a la fiesta

 

You (people) go the party

or

You (people) are going to the party


La playa = the beach     A la playa = to the beach

VAIS a la playa

You (people) go the beach

or

You (people) are going to the beach

 


La casa de Jane = The house of Jane (Jane’s house)

A la casa de Jane = to Jane’s house

VAIS  a la casa de Jane

You (people) go Jane’s house

or

You (people) are going to Jane’s house


La estación = the station    A la estación = to the station

 

VAIS  a la estación

You (people) go the station

or

You (people) are going to the station


La plaza = the square ( in town where people meet)

A la plaza = to the square

VAIS a la plaza

You (people) go the square

or

You (people) are going to the square


Now for a couple of examples using masculine nouns where A LA changes to AL 

For more about his see How to say ‘To The’ in Spanish: A la or Al ?

El aeropuerto = the airport    Al aeropuerto = to the airport

VAIS al aeropuerto

You (people) go the airport

or

You (people) are going to the airport


El campo = the countryside       Al campo = to the countryside

 

VAIS al campo

You (people) go the countryside

or

You (people) are going to the countryside


El supermercado= the supermarket

 

Al supermercado= to the supermarket

VAIS al supermercado

You (people) go the supermercado

or

You (people) are going to the supermercado


72px-vraagteken-svg

 

Remember by putting on an inquisitive tone, all the sentences above will translate to questions.

It couldn’t be more simple.

‘Vamoos’ or Vamos? Shall we go? Spanish for beginners

Spanish is so cool and precise!

VAMOS (Pronunciation ‘BAMOS’) *

Important note: VAMOOS  does not exist!

As do many other Spanish words, VAMOS doubles up for several ideas in English

Vamos. We’re going (now)  (It’s just a fact)

Vamos  We go (usually) ( It’s just a fact)

¡Vamos! Let’s go. (It’s a great idea!)

¿Vamos? Shall we go? (It’s a suggestion?)

Now that may look a little messy, but it’s the English that is actually messy….

Look how simple Spanish is that the same word VAMOS doubles, triples, even quadruples up for several GOING ideas when relating to US, or WE!

Can you see the Pattern emerging?

(For more on “Patterns in Spanish” see here.

Now for a bit of practice:

La tienda : The shop

Vamos a la tienda: We’re going to the shop.

The audio file below will say: “La tienda” (the shop) . You can repeat this.

Then you will hear : “Vamos a la tienda.

There’s a pause and you can repeat the sentence.

Try this now!

La fiesta = The party

Vamos a la fiesta=We’re going to the party.

 

Let’s just have a quick look at the patterns emerging here

 

 La tienda=  the shop….                 a la tienda= to the shop

                              VAMOS….. a la tienda 

                can express several ideas in English

a) WE’RE  to the shop (now)

or       b) WE GO to the shop (everyday)

or       c) LET’S GO to the shop!  (great suggestion!)

and,  if said with a ‘questioning lilt in the  voice’ ?? it also can express

d) ARE WE GOING to the shop? (now)

or    e) DO WE GO to the shop?  (everyday)

or    f) SHALL WE GO to the shop? (great question suggestion!)

 

 

Now it’s the REAL DEAL !

It’s time to listen and repeat after a native Spanish speaker, my daughter!

COPYCATS!

She will say a sentence, wait for you to repeat it, then she will say it again, after which you repeat again, adjusting your speed, intonation, or accent to copy her as closely as you can.

My daughter is  very patient and understanding. You can even click again on the audio start-arrow and she will happily oblige to do a ‘repeat performance’ if you so wish!

You might need this several times to get a hold on the real accent and intonation. (Just saying…)

 


                     8 more simple sentences which will get you speaking Spanish now!

 

Australian (AUS) fans in green and gold cheering 2000 Sydney PGLa fiesta = the party.

¿Vamos a la fiesta?     Vamos a la fiesta.


playa_parac3adso2c_villajoyosa2c_espac3b1a2c_2014-07-032c_dd_01-02_panLa playa = the beach

¿Vamos a la playa?        Vamos a la playa.


window_4_by_carroll_jones_iiila casa de Jane = the house of Jane (Jane’s house)

¿Vamos a la casa de Jane?    Vamos a la casa de Jane.


By Nací con un pie yámbico [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Málaga local train station Photo Credit

La estación = the station

 

¿Vamos a la estación?      Vamos a la estación.


317La plaza = the square (geographical, central point of towns a villages)

¿Vamos a la plaza?   Vamos a la plaza.


 

The last three sample sentences are using masculine nouns:

el aeropuerto, el campo, el supermercado

(See previous post about ‘A LA’ versus ‘AL’ here  and why it’s important!)

aeropuorto_de_malaga_terminal_2

El aeropuerto = airport      AL aeropuerto =TO THE airport

¿Vamos al aeropuerto?       Vamos al aeropuerto. 


vallealcudialavera2

La Valle Alcudia, Spain Photo Credit

El campo = the country ( as in the field, the countryside, nature)

 

AL campo = TO THE country

¿Vamos al campo?           Vamos al campo.


Por Eduardo P (Trabajo propio) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], undefined

Un supermercado en España Photo Credit

El supermarket = the supermarket

 

AL supermercado =  TO THE supermarket


 

Please let me know if this helps….

or what else I could do to improve this post…

Are there any bug-bear areas in your Spanish grammar you need a bit of clarification with? Ask me.

Jot down a comment in the Comments box below.

I might be able to help.

 

 

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…

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.