Vale! Vale! Vale!

The most common word in Barcelona has got to be vale (pronounced like ballet). You hear it everywhere, all the time. Vale. People say it walking down the street with friends, talking on the phone, ringing up your groceries at the store. It’s constant. We don’t really speak Catalan or Spanish, but you could easily pick it out of just about every conversation. Finally, I had to ask. What the heck does vale mean?

It turns out that vale is used in Spanish the same way “OK” is used in English or “alora” is used in Italian. It’s a word that you can use to mean OK, sure, agreed, yep, understood, gotcha, right, or I hear ya. It can be used as a statement or a question or even as a greeting or farewell. Heck, you can have an entire conversation and say nothing but vale. Just change your intonation accordingly.