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I heard the expression "llava" / "ya va" (?) being used in Venezuelan Spanish. It seems to have the meaning of "wait a moment", but my Mexican friend don't understand it.

Does anyone who know what this word means and how to spell it?

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Your Mexican friend might say "ahorita mismo compadre" :) (Disclaimer: I actually haven't got the faintest idea of actual Mexican usage beyond humoristic cliches) – Jubbat Jan 28 '12 at 23:48
@Jubbat: my attempt form Mexicanism would be “Ya merito”. – Carlos Eugenio Thompson Pinzón Oct 4 '13 at 11:02
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Ya va is also used in Argentina to tell the other person to wait for a moment. Some possible translations would be:

be right there
give me a second/moment (please)
just a second/moment (please)
wait a second/moment (please)
one second/moment (please) other similar variations, and which one to use will probably depend on the context.

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Does it have a literal translation or way to understand it? I've heard ya voy in other countries which makes sense, but ya va doesn't make sense to me. – jrdioko Jan 28 '12 at 6:05
Va is the conjugation for the singular of the third person. It may have originated on situations where the person saying ya va is actually saying that another person will be with you in a moment; but nowadays it's used for all kinds of situations. – Eduardo Jan 28 '12 at 6:10
Both "ya va" and "ya voy" are also used in Spain – Javi Jan 28 '12 at 15:00
Thank you guys very much!!! – Cadenza Jan 28 '12 at 15:14
@Cadenza Was this answer useful for you? If so, please accept it. If not, please say why is not OK for you. – JoulSauron Jul 7 '12 at 9:05

To add to @Eduardo's answer, note that ya va is an informal, colloquial way of asking another person to wait for a moment, so I guess that (possibly) closer translations would be more in the lines of just a sec or wait a mo' (for spoken and written language).

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Creo que tu comentario es bastante significativo. Tal vez sería buena idea ponerlo como comentario en la respuesta elegida ;) – Arkana May 17 '13 at 8:46

Literal translation is

[He/she/it] is already going.

From ya (already) and va (he/she/it goes), however it would be more idiomatically in English as “(he/she/it)'s already coming”.

A similar expression is Ya voy, meaning “I'm already coming” (or just “coming!”).

Two meaning shift has occurred. The first is a meaning shift in the intension. If you're asked to come to a place, your answer “I'm already coming” has an implicit “Wait for me!”. This way, the phrases ¡ya voy! and ¡ya va! actually ended meaning just “Wait!”, reardles if you already are moving towards the request or not.

Secondly, the third person singular has become such a fixed phrase that it is used for any person or situation, including the first person.

So when you request something to someone, ¡ya va! actually means:

Wait! (wait an indefinite amount of time until I or someone else attend your request).

Apparently ¡ya va! is understood this way in Venezuela, Spain, Colombia, Puerto Rico, etc. The only people having problem seem to be the Mexicans, but this expression might be similar to

¡Ya merito!

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Ya voy or ya in English "coming!" Like when mom/dad says "let's go" a proper reply to someone you are that familiar with, as in mom/dad, would be "ya voy!" or "ya va!" The difference... "ya voy" "I'm coming"; "ya va" ... "he/she/it is coming".

However, I've also used "ya va" in the sense of "here it comes". When you know somebody is about to do something typical/expected... "look, here it comes"..."mira (look), ya va (here it comes).

For example... Joe you're up on the batting cage, "ya voy".

As Cadenza says, it is very generic Spanish. We use it in Puerto Rico as well. Check the uses of the verb at it is the official site for the Spanish language or the Spanish (language) Royal Academy (REAL ACADEMIA ESPAÑOLA)

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El lenguaje español derivado del castellano tan influenciado por los moros y los judíos, tienen infinidad de posibilidades en el léxico heredado es este idioma. Cuando decimos: Ojala, nos estamos haciendo eco de raíces árabes "oh, Ala permita". Cuando en las iglesias cantan, Aleluya del judaísmo "Alabemos a Ja" o alabemos a YA", "Ja" o "Ya" es derivado del nombre de Dios usado como Yahvé o Jehová, nombre de Dios revelado a Moises, y cuyo significado para los estudiosos del significado dinámico y creativo es "Dios hace o hará que llegue a ser" más bien que la definición pasiva "Yo soy el que soy". Por lo tanto, entendiendolo "algo que se desea Dios puede hacer que llegue a ser",esta raíz lingüística: "Ya va" puede que se derive de esa expresión.

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