Ideas and resources to help you learn or improve your knowledge of the Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian languages.
Prices are low and so classes tend to fill up rather quickly at the Official Schools of Languages.If you live in Barcelona, Bilbao, Benidorm, or Betanzos, let’s say, (or you’re just up for a good challenge,) then learning or improving your Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian is a must for an inside look at the local culture. Here are the best ways you can go about doing that. (Besides having a fabulous Basque/Catalan/Galician/Valencian-speaking husband or wife, I mean.) Official Schools of Languages Each autonomous community throughout Spain runs their own network of Official Schools of Languages (Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas). A number of these schools offer courses in Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian, as well as Spanish for foreigners and a host of other languages. Most courses run for the academic year and are offered for beginning to advanced levels. As the schools are publicly funded, the prices are low and classes tend to fill up rather quickly. University Courses Many universities in Spain offer Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian courses and, assuming you already speak Spanish, will allow you to sign up for one or two classes without having to enroll as a regular student. A few universities abroad also offer these types of language courses. The University of Sheffield (UK), Lancaster University (UK), and the University of California, Berkeley (US), for example, offer courses in Catalan. Language Academies Though most language academies and schools in Spain seem to be exclusively dedicated to the study of English, there are a good number that offer courses in Spain’s regional languages. Check the schools in your local area for current offerings. Courses at the Cultural Centers in Madrid If you live in Madrid, then you’re in luck. The Euskal Etxea Madrid offers a variety of Basque courses: for kids and adults; general, conversation, and EGA exam-prep classes; and group and online classes. The Cercle Català de Madrid offers Catalan courses from elementary to intermediate levels, and a conversation class. The Centro Gallego de Madrid offers Galician courses, and while the Círculo Valenciano de Madrid doesn’t offer Valencian courses, they do make a mean paella.
A few universities abroad also offer Catalan courses.Learning on Your Computer The Basque Department of Education offers free online multimedia Basque courses to anyone interested in learning the language, from beginning to advanced levels. You have to register (in Spanish), but once you do, course materials are available in English or Spanish and the system charts your progress. Learn more about the course and sign up at http://www.hiru.com/ikastaroak/ikasten. But what about the other regional languages? Talk Now! offers vocabulary-based language-learning software: Talk Now! Learn Catalan: Beginners (PC/Mac) and Talk Now! Galician (PC/Mac), as well as Talk Now! Learn Basque: Essential Words and Phrases for Absolute Beginners. Books and CDs For the do-it-yourself route, Complete Catalan Book/CD Pack (Teach Yourself) and Beginner's Basque (with CDs) can get you off and running in these two languages. Whatever method you choose to learn with, you can be sure that learning one of Spain’s regional languages is a window to a new world, or at least to a new part of Spain.
Good news for expats living in Spain – it is, in fact, possible to change your pronunciation and accent as an adult. Whether your goal is to be better understood, less embarrassed, or even get them to stop asking you where you're from, feel the empowerment that comes from learning to choose the way you speak. Here are key tips and tricks from a professional expat accent coach.
Spain Expat's quick guide to everyday Spanish slang and informal vocabulary you may or may not find in your dictionary. As with most slang, these Spanish slang words are largely the province of informal situations.
Information about some of the differences between the Castillian Spanish of Spain (Castellano) and Latin American Spanish (Español).
Information on learning Spanish for foreigners and expatriates. Free options, schools and other ways to learn the local language are all discussed.