More Excitement About Learning Spanish – I Could Witness A Crime Scene & Give A Statement in Spanish!!!!!

I was pondering this morning after my session of reviewing my Anki Cards.  On a daily basis, I take about 45 minutes or so to review the old cards and then about 30 minutes or so to learn the new words.

As ever it was very exciting seeing the process work for me in areas where things were a little bit hard to recall initially.

It was also great to see and hear how my abilities and vocabulary are growing. I can tell because of the ease with which I am able to recall words I first learnt a few weeks ago.

Regularly, I am starting to feel a buzz of excitement wash over me with the possibilities for the future.

I can’t wait to get into the grammar and start putting some of the pieces together in more meaningful statements.

I Want To Start Learning Grammar

Yes I really did just say that….

“I can’t wait to get into the grammar…!”

Am I mad?

Of course, but that fact is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

Rather than being forced to start to look at grammatical structures I ACTUALLY WANT to.


Well now I have a need for the stuff that connects the words together.

Because I have an overflowing vocabulary (probably about 400-500 words by now) that I want to start using properly.

I have a need for grammar.

Which is why I WANT to dive into it.

Here’s the train of thought that simulated this (perhaps unusual) need.

 What If I See A Crime Scene?

This morning I was reflecting on how I can prove what I have learnt has actually worked for me.

I let my imagination run free and I started envisioning all sorts of scenarios for when I am in Spain.

Of course as I am riding my motorbike around Spain I am sure I will encounter La Guardia Civil or la Policía….hopefully for the right reasons.

My imagination is pretty wild and erratic at times and I came up with the scenario of being a witness to a crime scene.

It might happen.

I might get caught up in a situation unawares and could be the only witness!

[Note to self…. I need to get out more!]

If it did, what might I be able to tell La Guardia Civil?

What follows is straight out of my imagination. But these are the words I could string together after still only being midway through learning the first 1000 words.

Here’s What I Came Up With

It took me longer to type than it did to actually frame the sentences in my mind.

“Sí señor. El alto hombre detrás del árbol disparar primero. La mujer baja caer. ella llevar puesto el abrigo azul. Ella acostarse y la sangre en el piso. Una macha. Dos coche pararse y siete hombre ponerse de pie. El tren pasar y muy ruidoso. El hombre primero reír y correr izquierda. La guardia civil disparar cinco bala y el hombre malo caer. El hombre hablar “Hasta la vista Baby” y muerto.”

I even surprised myself with that little lot.

But I wondered how understandable was it.

Here’s How Google Translated It

So I put it into Google Translate, and this is what it said I had just created:

“Yes sir. The tall man behind the tree shoots first. The woman falls down. She’s wearing the blue coat. She lay down and the blood on the floor. A macha. Two cars stand and seven man stand up. The train pass and very noisy. The man first laugh and run left. The civil guard shoot five bullets and the bad man fall. The man talk “Hasta la vista Baby” and died.”

I have just stopped writing this and have hopped around my room shouting with glee “Yes!! Yes!! Yes!!!”

“This stuff bloody well works!!!!”

It took me about a minute to rattle that lot off and that is what I was able to produce.

All of that, just from learning the most frequently used words.

The only mistake I made was I had only just learnt the word for stain and it wasn’t as strong in my memory. It should have been “manchar” and not “macha”.

This is why Google translate couldn’t make sense of that one word.

However if I had been speaking those words, there is no reason why I couldn’t, have pulled it off “live”.

I can’t tell you just how excited I am by this.

I knew all of this would start to come together and this is the first time I have seen it has done so.

I have made up a few small sentences of my own but this is the first time I have really created something of significance.

And it was all from words that I have learnt.

This is amazing.

I am so buzzed right now, that I want to do more.

I want to launch into all of that grammar and start learning even more words so that I can say even more and start to say it even better.


The Benefit Of Learning Lots Of Individual Words

Now if I had followed a conventional learning course of any kind, I might have been constrained by only having phrases under my belt.

And there is only so much that you can do with just phrases.

There are only so many uses for “Good morning, the weather is very beautiful today”.

Sure, over time I’d start to be able to pick out some of the vocabulary and use it elsewhere.

But because I’d have been forced into a structure, I would have only learnt that structure.

That means I would potentially lose all of the multitude of options that the individual words can give me.

It is like just being given two or three recipes and that’s all you can cook.

Or if you understand the different ingredients and what they can do for you, there are many more options. You are only limited by your creativity to blend them in an almost infinite number of ways.

Starting Just Learning Phrases Will Limit You

I believe that learning sentences and phrases from the start, will only limit your possibilities.

You may have to wait for specific opportunities to occur before you can confidently roll them out.

The cat will actually have to be up in the tree, AND you happen to be there, so you can report it confidently in Spanish.

However if you start to learn vocabulary as I have done, it won’t matter whether it is a cat, a dog, a horse or a cow. Whether it is next to a tree, a building, a car or a train will be irrelevant to you.

It won’t matter whether or not it is morning, afternoon or evening. You won’t be phased whether the girl involved is wearing a skirt and t-shirt, or a summer dress.

If her boyfriend has a shirt that is red, blue, yellow, white or black then you will not be phased.

This is because you will have the vocabulary to be able to describe it and talk about it.

Ok you might need to polish up some of the grammar and word order, but you will be understood.

More importantly though, you will feel HUGELY proud of yourself. This will mean you will want to do EVEN more – you will be inspired to continue to succeed.

This approach is littered with multiple options for small quick wins that will keep you going and make the journey fun.

This is what I have found having tried both approaches.

I have tried to learn German (multiple times), Russian and Spanish using the “conventional” approach and failed each time.

First time using this approach and I am further forward in Spanish in just a few weeks than I have EVER been before in ALL of the other language learning attempts I have made.

I Have Encountered This Principle Before In Another Context

For many years I have been teaching people how to use Mind Mapping effectively in a variety of contexts.

Mind Mapping For Spanish

It is a powerful strategy that has many, many different uses. You can apply it using the hand drawn variety, or you can use one of the many software packages or smartphone and table apps.

When you learn to draw a Mind Map in its purist form, a key feature is the use of a single keyword (or image) to represent an idea.

People new to Mind Mapping often struggle to condense their train of thought into single key ideas. But to make Mind Mapping work effectively and tap into its true potential this is an important discipline.

The rationale is that a single idea or concept is then more available for, or more able to trigger relevant associations.

There is an irony of using more words to describe something which is that the more words you use, you actually close down the potential for further connections.

This will limit the power and impact of the Mind Map.

But Back To My Crime Scene

I am still loving it!

After re-reading my earlier bit about describing a crime scene, I still can’t believe just how much I was able to describe.

Of course I made up the ideas in my head but as I saw what was going on in my mind I used those words to convey it.

And (according to Google Translate anyway) I did a pretty good job of it.

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