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Speaking the Language

Malaga - Speaking the Language

The official language of Spain is Castillian Spanish and is the only language spoken by many, particularly the older generation. However, many younger people learn English as it is such an important global language.

Being a popular tourist area, and with many expats living there, English is widely spoken in Malaga and the surrounding areas. Many expats live in the area for years without learning more than the very basic Spanish phrases as they can get by quite happily, thanks to most services being available in English, shops and official government departments having English speaking staff, and access to British and American TV. Many expats set up English speaking home services, such as plumbers and electricians, even cleaners and dog walkers, therefore most household emergencies can be dealt with in English.

Some expats, however, believe that learning the local language is an important way of making Spain their home, and to fully experience the Spanish way of life. There are a variety of ways of learning Spanish, some more expensive than others.

By far the cheapest way to learn is through the government-subsidised Escuelas Oficiales de Idiomas (Official Language Schools). These are situated in most major Spanish towns and cities the Malaga school is based at Paseo de Martiricos, 26. More information can be found on its website at www.eoimalaga.com. The only drawback to this route is the class timetables: many classes are only available during the day when many people are at work.

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 language schools is International House Malaga, situated at Avenida de Andalucia, 26. This school, with other centres throughout Spain, offers a variety of options for learning Spanish groups, individual and home-based lessons. More information and prices can be found on their website at www.ihmalaga.es.

Another school is Malaga Si which, unlike the other schools, focuses purely on teaching Spanish to foreigners. Classes for children are also available. Its website at www.malaga-si.com offers more information, including online registration and a free test to check your current level of Spanish. The school itself is situated at Avenida Juan Sebastian Elcano, 23, telephone 952 294700.

A full list of other language schools can be found in the yellow pages at www.paginasamarillas.es, using the search term 'escuelas de idiomas'.

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