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What do a plumber in Sevilla, a flamenco professor in the city center, a Spanish professor in Deritend, a cook in Bogota, a car rental agency in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and a first year Chilean student at the University of Birmingham all have in common?
All six use a common Latin language in their daily lives: the Spanish language, be it their mother tongue or an acquired, secondary language.
While Birmingham might be geographically further from the nearest Spanish speaking country than many cities around the world, the city holds an abundance of both great Spanish courses and eager Spanish learners. With options like linguistic institutes, language centers and associations, language schools, university language programs, and at home tutoring with one of our professors: it won’t be long before you too can take advantage of learning Spanish in Birmingham.
Up until the 1990s, it was commonly held that only children were capable of learning a foreign language as fluently as their mother tongue.
Adults were considered to be slower and less apt to progress fast.
As much as this fact had been accepted, it was also challenged each time adults utilized their language skills to assimilate to a new language while:
The Spanish language has seen an enormous linguistic expansion over the years: there are now 20 countries in the world for which Spanish is the official language (namely, Castilian Spanish).
This has led a beautiful phenomenon of intercultural and dynamic expression everywhere from Central America to Spain.
This has led to the creation of a geographically colossal, Hispanic space, from Argentina to the United States and Mexico, from Peru to the Iberian Peninsula (with the exception of Brazil and Portugal).
In fact, the language that made Cervantes so popular is the third most spoken language in the world. With 570 million speakers worldwide, it is bested only by English and Chinese. When looking at what language is used the most by native speakers, it is second only to Chinese.
Despite this, Spanish is actually a language that very little people choose to learn outside of Hispanics (Francophones, Anglophones, Italophones, Germanophones, etc.) Only 21 million people in the world choose to study language as a foreign language.
To put this in perspective, 40% of non-English speaking students in the world (600 million for 1.5 billion speakers) learn English as a foreign language, while only 3.7% of non-Hispanics learn Spanish as a foreign language.
Spanish is also one of the official languages in six of the most powerful international organizations: the European Union, the United Nations, the African Union, the Mercosur, the Organization of American States, and the Union of South American Nations.
Spanish can be considered as one of the languages of media communication, the language of Cervantes is also highly influential on the internet: today it is the fourth most used language on the internet and second only to English on social media.
These statistics support what we have seen, which is a major push towards a particular subject: mastering oral expression in order to improve your level in a language, or to learn Spanish through beginners courses.
Similar to romance languages like French, Italian, Portuguese or Romanian, Spanish has adopted the Latin alphabet and uses diacritics to complete the letters.
In other words, the accents written over certain letters in Spanish are used to mark the tonic accent in a vowel or to differentiate homonyms.
In the Spanish language, every word is pronounced – a fact that might make pronunciation actually easier than English since there are no “silent letters.”
The rules of grammar in Spanish are very similar to other Latin languages: the subject, for example, are gendered and also defines the verb that will be used. This normally puts English speakers at a disadvantage if they’ve never dealt with genders and complex verb conjugation before.
The point we’re getting at Spanish doesn’t have to be difficult to learn for the English speakers of Birmingham.
In addition, for us, Spanish is much easier to learn how to pronounce than Russian, Arabic, German our English.
Because Spanish vocabulary is actually very similar to our mother tongue, although there are a lot of words that are “accidentally” Spanish but do not hold the same meaning. This is because many of the words in both languages are either borrowed from each other or from the same language.
Phonetically, Spanish will differ depending on what region of Spanish you are learning – in fact, sometimes even Spanish speakers have difficulty understanding each other if they’re from different countries or cities.
That being said, a Spanish language learner will still be easily understood in Salamanca, in Chile, or in Andalusia. Speaking like a native, however, will require a bit more work.
That’s where we come in: with courses taught by our tutors that are built to make your learning of Spanish much easier.
The Roman road in Sutton Park and the military fort in Metchley are themselves an open door into the world of Latin languages.
Taking language courses, or even immersing oneself completely – without necessarily having to go learn Spanish in Spain – is always a durable investment into our own human capital, which will never deteriorate: the language skills you will acquire will never be able to be forgotten, as long as these skills are used regularly.
While being the second largest city in the UK, Birmingham is actually even more ethnically diverse than London, according to the 2011 census. Needless to say, it is a city that enjoys a large traffic of tourism that has largely benefited from immigration.
Because of this, it is easy to draw a link between Spanish language learning and Birmingham’s vast and varied language community.
Being Hispanophone in the second most populated city in the UK makes it possible to communicate with the thousands of visitors that flock to the city.
On the other hand, taking private courses at home during holidays, looking towards private language institutions, or even determined self-teaching can vastly improve your grades if you’re already taking courses in middle school and high school.
This can be especially important for students as language remains an integral part of standardized testing, where any improvement can mean significantly improving your scores.
On the university level, students will often be required to take part in an internship opportunity.
Having an advanced level – be it B2 or C1, following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages – in Spanish can often lead to an employment position or simply facilitate your movement into the labor market.
Intensive courses or evening courses – for workers who might not have time during their day – can help people progress immensely to a higher level (rápidamente, as the Spanish would say), in preparation for language exams or an internship opportunity.
Looking towards Latin America, where the majority of countries hold Spanish as an official language, speaking Spanish can place you into a beautiful and thriving economic center.
Taking some courses to refresh an intermediate level speaker can be a great springboard off of which you will be able to, in the future, immerse yourself in countries like Colombia, Uruguay, or Chile.
Ultimately, there are a number of fields that will be available to you in Birmingham with regards to speaking Spanish, or in an international sense (a study exchange or professional opportunity at home and abroad):
Finally, taking courses in the city center, in Acocks Green, next to the Birmingham Museum, or revising Spanish vocabulary next to the River Tame, within the halls of the University, etc., enables us all to simply enjoy and share a passion for Iberian culture, most notably Spanish music and flamenco.
62: this is the number of tutors that are available to teach Spanish in face-to-face lessons in an area going up to twenty kilometers around the city center of Birmingham.
The average price of a lesson per hour is about 17 £, with the least expensive course going for 15 £ and the more expensive ones priced at 25 £.
The profiles of the professors that inspire the most confidence are, in fact, very heterogeneous, as the wide variety in price shows.
As with all services and commodities, the price will often be an important deciding factors. However, there are many other criteria you should consider when deciding what will make a worthwhile, linguistic education.
Above all, you should consider a tutor’s professional history, diplomas and experience. At Superprof, we have a vast array of tutor profiles: Spanish language students, students preparing for their teaching degree exams, Spanish teachers or teachers in an internship, speakers native to a Hispanophone country (be it Spain or Latin America), multilingual professors that give courses in languages like English, French and Spanish, and finally professors from credited centers of language.
A Hispanophone can call themselves a private tutor if they have at least three years more practice than a learner, but even this is not enough. It is also important that they have quality:
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