Former editor brings her Spanish phrase book up to date, just 'for you'

The former editor and author of ¡Va Por Ti!, Liz Parry, at her home in Malaga.
The former editor and author of ¡Va Por Ti!, Liz Parry, at her home in Malaga. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ
  • ¡Va Por Ti! is the title of the 2020 version of Liz Parry's Spanish Phrase Book, aimed at residents who want to get a little bit more out of life in Spain

The former editor of SUR in English, Liz Parry, may have been retired a few years, but she continues with her mission to "link communities".

The idea of making English-speaking residents feel more at home and integrated into life in Spain extended beyond the pages of this newspaper back in 2004. Then, she decided to compile material from her Spanish Language and Customs column into a useful Phrase Book, published by the now defunct Santana Books, which specialised in texts on Spain.

Now, inspired by comments she found noted in her late parents' copy, as well as the ongoing changes in society, Liz has revamped and republished her book under the new title ¡Va Por Ti! This is for you!

"The column I wrote every week in SUR in English, and the first book, and this new edition, all reflect my conviction that the more foreign residents know about Spain, and the more they can communicate with the Spanish, the more they are bound to enjoy living here," said Liz.

"Brits in particular, I think, are often shy about practising speaking Spanish, but it is really worth trying. The Spanish are usually very receptive and appreciate that you are having a go," she added, pointing out that one of the expressions in her book is precisely 'Nunca es tarde para aprender' (It's never too late to learn).

The book, as well as providing useful vocabulary and phrases to help English-speaking residents negotiate situations they are bound to find themselves in, includes background information to help readers understand some of the idiosyncrasies of life in Spain.

While many situations haven't changed, such as what to say in the queue at the health centre or the bakery, other sections of the book have undergone a complete overhaul.

The outdated chapter on letter-writing, for example, had to be turned round to incorporate communication in the technological world of today.

Liz has also added a section on gendered language, which is very topical now.

"A couple of generations ago you wouldn't have had to worry too much about whether 'jueza' was a word, because a 'juez' was almost sure to be a man anyway," she said.

This version of the book is also illustrated by humorous drawings, incorporating the work of SUR cartoonists Idígoras, Pachi and Sansón, as well as some of those by the late Elgar which appeared in the first edition.

"I think it adds a whole new dimension to have a commentary on Spanish life illustrated with Spanish humour," she explained.

And the title ¡Va por ti!? "It's what the Spanish say when they want to dedicate something to someone. The book has quite an extensive dedication page, but it's also intended for each and every one of the foreign residents in Spain who would really like to integrate into Spanish life," said the author.

As well as completing her own book, Liz revealed that she is also working on a project for hospice charity Cudeca, which she hopes will raise some much-needed funds.

And next up will be a book about the English Cemetery. "I'm spending as much time at my keyboard now as I did when I was working, but it's what I like doing," she said.

¡Va Por Ti! is available from Amazon.