Hola a todo el mundo and welcome to this week’s On Location Spanish update from Grace. In addition to exploiting all of the beach time that I can during what has been an uncharacteristically long summer here in Valencia, I’m pleased to report that I have been studying hard and making some headway with my Spanish! Between learning whom I may tutear (“address familiarly” in the tú form) and exploring the city on Valenbici (Valencia’s bike-hire service), I’m starting to feel a bit less like a visitor. But don’t let all this talk of exploring and days at the beach fool you. It’s all go here in Spain!
Pun-intended, I wanted to tell you about a couple of different ways I’ve came across the verb ir (“to go”) throughout this week. I stumbled upon the first phrase while reading an article in El País in which the author writes about a particularly poor month for Spanish farmers:
en lo que va de mes
so far this month
Although initially flummoxed by this little phrase, a quick browse around some Internet forums soon led me to the definition, and now I couldn’t be without it! Change mes for any other period of time (octubre (“October”), año (“year”), década (“decade”) etc.) and you have a neat way of updating someone on what has been happening. For me, the phrase most comes in handy over a midweek coffee with friends where I can now confidently recount details of my riveting social life:
En lo que va de semana he estado en la biblioteca tres veces.
I’ve been at the library 3 times so far this week.
For its second appearance this week, the verb ir has arisen in an even more idiomatic context. In a sensitive lecture about Spain’s economy and man’s desire to keep up-to-date with modern technology at all costs, my lecturer got a real laugh with the following saying:
¿Dónde va Vicente? Donde va la gente.
After the lecture I caught up with my friend Paula to ask her what this meant. With my basic level of Spanish in mind, she explained that the expression describes a person que se deja influir por la mayoría (“who is influenced by the majority”). Conducting some further research of my own, it wasn’t long before I came across the English expression “monkey see, monkey do”, which I think might be the best equivalent for this Spanish idiom. If nothing else, I think this saying is a bit of fun. After all, what is an insult between friends?
With ir in mind, I better go back to my studying. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s blog and I will be sure to keep you updated with all of the best phrases that I come across in weeks to come. Join me again soon for more On Location Spanish. Adiós.