It might surprise you to discover that Spain has more than one language. It might surprise you further to learn there are several.
Although there are some similarities between the languages there are also significant variations in spelling and pronunciation. In modern times regional languages have become increasingly important and more frequently used, so know your region!
However, if you’ve learnt the official Spanish language, Castilian, and are now beating yourself in despair STOP. Castilian Spanish is generally understood throughout Spain.
Because knowledge is power, here are a few of the other Spanish languages…
Has French and Italian influences and is similar to Castilian. It is generally spoken in the province of Catalunya.
Mallorquin is the principle language of the Balearic Islands.
Is quite similar to Castilian and is mainly spoken in the Asturias countryside.
Euskera or Vasco
Is the traditional language of northern Navarra. It’s one of the unique languages and has non-Latin roots.
Sounds like a blend of Castilian and Portuguese and is spoken in the North-western province of Galicia.
Foreigners are often spoken to in Castilian, but there are certain situations where this won’t happen, so be prepared!
Yes, English is widely spoken in Spain. But don’t be lazy! To get the most out of your new life in Spain you need to learn the language. The locals will appreciate the effort and there will be many situations in which a working knowledge of Spanish is essential.
How to learn Spanish
As with any language, there are a host of options available for learning Spanish. Pick the one that will work with your schedule and learning style.
Specialist language courses are always a great place to start and are available through a variety of institutions. If you’re nervous about learning a language, being with other beginners can really help, and intensive courses can get you going quickly.
Absorbing the language through immersion is a fantastic way of really understanding phrasing and pronunciation. Before arriving in Spain language DVD’s, books and online courses can be used in conjunction or alone and are excellent tools for practice. As your confidence builds read Spanish newspapers and watch Spanish films. In Spanish television programmes you will hear people speaking at a natural speed and in a variety of tones. With frequent watching you’ll soon find yourself moving from associating words with actions to really understanding the dialogue.
The rate you’ll learn Spanish is directly linked to the amount of effort you put in. Constant practice over a long period of time will yield the best results, but you can fit practice around a busy schedule.
You might also find a practice partner useful. Through lively conversations you can encourage and test each other. If you don’t have a friend or family member who wants to learn Spanish you might be able to become involved in an intercambios. This is a language exchange programme run through universities and schools. It pairs a Spanish person with a non-native speaker so each can learn from the other.