The Best Ways to Learn Spain’s Other Languages

11 February 2021

How to Learn Basque, Galician, and Catalan

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 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.
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