When You Learn Spanish You Have To Become Curious And Be Willing To Explore

Curiosity Helps You Learn Spanish

I am sure I have mentioned this before in previous posts, but the importance of these few words in your efforts to learn Spanish, can’t be emphasised enough:




Let me give you an example.

Over breakfast this morning I was browsing the Radio Nacional de España website and I came across this podcast.


I became curious about the phrase “No es un día cualquiera” in the headline.  The word I didn’t know was “cualquiera”.

With the Spanish I do know I worked out that “No es un día” means “it is not a day”.

So what does “cualquiera” mean and what does the whole sentence mean when that word is added to “it is not a day”?


Well this is where the age of the internet is such a HUGE advantage to language learning these days.  Those youngsters who have only ever known the internet just can’t appreciate how much of an asset it is.

And with a fanfare, let’s go to Google Translate.

Now you don’t even have to go to that webpage because if you “google” Google Translate, you can actually access the tool from the search results.

And my suspicions were confirmed:


Another hit of dopamine and serotonin into my brain as I get the double whammy “Neuron Expresso Shot” of achievement and positive reinforcement.

That feels good… and is what keeps me coming back for more!

But what about the word cualquiera?

Well back to Google Translate and see what it says:

It is always a good idea to have a look at the other definitions the word offers.  And we see here that cualquiera is an adjective that can mean any, whatever, or whichever. It can also be a pronoun meaning anyone or anybody.  Google has decided to pick the pronoun “anyone” as its initial translation.

Where does that leave us with the meaning of the whole phrase?


Well piecing together the bits of the puzzle we already have we would get this:

“It’s not a day anyone”

What does that mean?

it was still not clear to me, so I put the whole phrase into Google Translate, and this is what I got:

To get “It is not an ordinary day” from “no es un día cualquiera” is quite a leap from the literal translation of the component words in the phrase.  But that is what learning the language is about.

This information then goes into my Flash Card system so I can keep alive and then embed the lessons from these few minutes.


And as I am “discovering”, this is an iterative process.  Because what has opened up in my mind is a few questions about how this phrase translates in this way.  I am of course making the assumption that Google Translate is spot on.

What I now want to go and do is find some other reference points for this phrase to nail its meaning and its use down for future reference.

…More Curiosity and Exploration…

That was just looking at the five word headline to this piece.  So what about the rest of the text?

Well I knew that the piece was something to do with Juan Carlos Ferrero who was number on in the world in 2003 (número uno del mundo en 2003) and that he has been retired for 5 years (se retiró hace 5 años).

But once again I was curious about the phrase “Entrevistamos al tenista”

The translation came back as:

I had a “doh” moment when I saw that it was about a tennis player.  I had completely shut out that as an option in my mind.

What was interesting for me was the use of “Entrevistamos” meaning “We interviewed”.

I haven’t looked at verb conjugations just yet because I have put all of my efforts into developing a large vocabulary.  What I do know is that the personal pronoun is usually excluded because the ending of the verb gives away who is actually performing the doing of the verb.  In this instance the -amos ending says that it is a “we” word.

I think the verb conjugation game is going to be an interesting one to play.

But what is comforting for me is that as each example reveals itself in my Curiosity/Exploration/Discovery cycle, I will start to embed the patterns naturally.

Already I am starting to become curious about the use of “al” in this context.

It is a never ending journey…












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