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Speaking the Language

Barcelona - Speaking the Language

Spanish and Catalan are the two official languages spoken in Barcelona. During Franco's dictatorship, regional languages such as Catalan were banned, but since his death in 1975, Catalan as made a resurgence as a language. All road signs will appear in both Spanish and Catalan, sometimes only in Catalan. All official documents and local government communications will appear in Catalan, and there are a number of Catalan radio and TV stations. In some areas of Catalunya, Catalan is the only language spoken, however in Barcelona, Spanish is more prominent.

English is very widely spoken in the city and English speakers will find many services available to them in English. In fact, many expats manage to get by for many years with only very basic Spanish. However, there are some who believe that learning Spanish is the only way to fully integrate into Spanish life and make the effort to learn the language. There are a variety of routes available to learn Spanish, some more expensive than others, and each with their pros and cons.

By far the cheapest way of learning Spanish is through the government-subsidised network of Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (Official Language Schools). These can be found in most Spanish towns and cities. There are eight schools in the Barcelona area and a list can be found here.

The only drawback to this route is the class timetables: many classes are only available during the day when many people are at work. Classes can also very large with often up to 40 students.

For a more flexible timetable you may want to employ a private teacher. Most charge between 20 and 30 euros an hour and the advantage is that you can work at your own level and speed, as well as concentrating on the area of Spanish that you need the most. If you can get together a small group of friends at a similar level, the cost will reduce.

Other options are private language schools which offer anything from regular weekly courses to full immersion courses lasting up to a month. The disadvantages are that the courses can be quite expensive.

Among the most respected schools in the city is the Barcelona Spanish School, which is popular due to its central location at Rocafort, 104, Eixample, and its good resources. For further information telephone 93 426 9822 or access the website at www.barcelonaspanish.com.

There are a large number of other schools in the Barcelona area ranging in price and number of students per classes. A full list of schools, their prices and courses offered can be found at www.barcelonayellow.com/content/view/29/294/

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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