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Speaking the Language

Alicante - Speaking the Language


The two official languages of Alicante are Spanish and Valencian (a derivative of Catalan). Although most locals only speak the national language, all road signs and official documents will appear in both Spanish and Valencian. Regional languages were banned under Franco's rule, so since his death in 1975, the area has been keen to ensure the language's survival. That said, Spanish is the language of everyday use in the city.

As an important tourist area, English is widely spoken and understood, as well as German. Many shops and services cater specifically for both English speaking tourists and expats, and websites of Spanish companies often have the option to view them in English. Many expats have set up their own businesses offering services to the English speaking community, including plumbers, electricians and hairdressers, therefore some expats get by very happily without learning much of the language.

However, to fully enjoy the Spanish experience, many expats do choose to learn Spanish, and these people are very well catered for with a wealth of private schools, as well as the opportunity to hire a private Spanish teacher. Expect to pay around 20 to 30 euros per hour for a private teacher, and slightly less if you are taught in a small group. Some employers, specifically schools, will offer their staff free Spanish lessons.

The government-subsidised Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (official language schools) are by far the cheapest way to immerse yourself in the language, with a full year's tuition costing around 60 euros, including registration fee. The Alicante school can be found at C. Marqués de Molins, 56-58, 03004 Alicante. Telephone 965 144143, fax 965 144085. Further details can be found at www.eoi-alicante.com. The only drawback is the lack of flexibility on time and that tuition is normally for a minimum of four hours per week.

To be able to choose hours to suit, either employ a private teacher (the noticeboard in the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas will have details, as well as expat and English speaking shops) or register at a private language school.

The Berlingua Academy runs Spanish courses for foreigners and has been running for over 40 years.

Plaza Hermanos Pascual, 3 entresuelo

03004 Alicante

Telephone: 965 200757

www.academiaberlingua.com

The International College of Alicante is another well-established and well-respected school that also offers a range of Spanish courses, and even Spanish dancing classes.

C/Pintor Aparicio, 18C, 1A

03003 Alicante

Telephone: 965 929010

fax: 965 922582

www.colegiointernacionalalicante.com

Both schools offer intensive immersion classes for between 2 and 4 weeks, which give around 20 hours of tuition a week and prices start at around 300 euros.

School-age children will be offered free Spanish classes within both the state and private sector to help them integrate fully into the education system.


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