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Speaking the Language

Spain - Speaking the Language

The Spanish language derives from the Ibero-Romance group of languages with Latin as the core language and Spanish deriving from it as far back as the 5th century. The official language of Spain is Spanish (known as Castilian) but there are also other co-official languages with official status. Spanish Sign Language is an officially recognised language and others are found in autonomous communities such as Galician spoken in Galicia (origins from Portuguese), Basque spoken in the Basque country and the Balearic Islands and Catalan spoken in Catalonia. Further regional dialects are Occitan (lenga d'òc), Aranese and Valencian found in Catalonia. Additionally there is a variation of Catalan known as Mallorquín and a dialect known as Leonese spoken in León. There are many other small minorities of languages spoken including Judeo-Spanish and Extremaduran which are still spoken in pockets of communities today.

Spanish is the most commonly spoken language by the local population (99%) with the autonomous communities speaking their regions dialect of Galician, Basque and Catalan too. The most commonly found foreign languages are English, French and German with the other main immigrant languages being Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian and Latin American Spanish.

English can be found fairly easily particularly in popular foreign communities and areas where tourists holiday such as Benidorm, Malaga and the Costa Del Sol. Likewise, in cosmopolitan cities of Madrid, Barcelona for example plus popular holiday destinations of the Balearic Islands English can be commonly found. Within the English speakers will be the steady immigrant population from eastern europe and beyond. The hospitality and tourism industries will always have English speakers widely available from fluent tour guides and to just a few essential words by local waiters or taxi drivers. Head into the countryside and more rural locations and smaller towns you will barely find any English spoken at all. It has been recorded that 65% of the Spanish population do not Speak English. English is commonly spoken amongst the younger generation and younger adults but chances are those of middle age and above will known little.

When it comes to business meetings and conversations, international business will likely be conducted in English and local business will be conducted in Spanish. It would be expected that Spanish professionals have a grasp of English if they work alongside other international businesses as this can be a bridging language. Locally, conversations would be conducted in Spanish so an expat wanting to to gain trust and good relations should be able to carry out meetings in the native language.

English speakers can survive in Spain without learning the local language if they were to live in cities or resorts where tourists often visit or foreigners reside in. A basic to competent level of Spanish would aid your integration into the local culture and help you understand local nuances and the culture to a better degree. All television and film is dubbed in Spanish, signs are in Spanish and aside from resort or tourist heavy areas, restaurant menus are often all in Spanish so learning even the basics is essential for day to day living. Expats who live in Spain vary with their dedication to learning the language but even those who live in foreign dominated areas may learn the very basics in order to go shopping or order food and drinks.

The younger generation of children and young adults will be able to speak English to varying levels but middle aged and above unless working in English speaking industries or in cities are far less likely to understand or speak English.

There are a large amount of workers in Spain whose first language is English. These jobs employ teachers in language schools, colleges, Universities, in primary schools and secondary schools plus language schools. Spain is always recruiting English teachers and there is a steady flow of job opportunities all year round. Translation and interpreting jobs are usually done by native Spanish speakers.

There are plenty of tutors, language schools and online resources to help you ease into learning Spanish before you go there, and whilst there.

Language schools:

Choice of online lessons, Eurolingua Language Homestay Immersion Programs with stay with local family and choice of tuition hours, and officially recognised qualifications such as DELE (Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language) Go to school Spanish classroom lessons and a whole range of other options.
Email: Choose particular language school and contact via ‘Request more information’ or contact or follow the student submissions link to an online form.
Website: http://www.eurolingua.com/

Lingua schools
City located block of 7 Spanish language schools which allow for group classroom learning in a friendly informal setting. Range of courses from beginners to DELE.
Tel:+35 93 1761 536
Email: info@linguaschools.com
Website: http://www.linguaschools.com/

Diverbo Pueblo Español
Language school specialising in Intensive 8 day immersion course for low intermediate level speakers. Other courses available too.
Tel:+34 913 913 400
Email: learnspanish@diverbo.com
Website: http://puebloespanol.com/

Spanish language schools which offer intensive courses, courses aimed at business language and professionals, one to one classes, DELE and the option to learn Spanish alongside activities like Flamenco and Mediterranean cooking.
Tel:+34 915 943 776
Email: Via contact form on website
Website: http://www.enforex.com/

Private Tutors

Find My Favourite Teacher
Website with search engine for finding private tutors per region to meet for 1 to 1 lessons or online lessons.
Website: http://www.findmyfavouriteteacher.com

1H Language School
The school offers 1-2-1 lessons with an assigned Spanish tutor found in major cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Cadiz, Valencia etc.
Contact details: Contact form on website, listing each language school by location.
Website: http://www.ihspain.com/

Alhambra Instituto Internacional
Offers private Spanish lessons for one or two students. Hours can be chosen with at least one lesson a week usually 55mins long.
Tel: +34 952 204 877
Website: http://alhambra-instituto.org/

Useful language websites

Website with information on grammar, slang terms plus dictionary and translation tool.

Useful online translation tool:

Extensive site for learning Spanish grammar with exercises and notes

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

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