Dust off a forgotten foreign tongue, debate the best ways to learn another language, pick up some slang in the local lingo, discuss regional dialects... It's all about being multi-lingual, baby.

Best places for language immersion - Spanish, French, Arabic

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

This thread doesn't have any tags.

You can still check out the tag index though.

What are tags?
  • Added on: March 31st, 2008
Those are are the three languages I want to know! I have a base in all, & would like to do 4-6 weeks immersions in the languages as part of a longer RTW next year. My goal is to move a few steps closer to fluency in each.

I'm thinking:

Spanish - Are there still affordable places in Spain?

French - I can't afford a month in Paris. Are there places on the coast that are more affordable? Marseilles sounds lovely, but I think that would break the bank too. How would West Africa, maybe Senegal,be for improving my French?

Arabic - Hmmm. I'm not a fan of Egypt (at least, Cairo ... Alexandria might be nicer). Maybe Morocco, although I hear that their Arabic is unintelligible to the rest. Maybe Lebanon, though I worry that that would be too expensive.

Any suggestions?
Michael C

elAdi

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 2978
Joined: December 27th, 2002
Location: Currently cycling from Indonesia to India

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 1st, 2008
If money is an issue, you could do the first two in South America, per example Ecuador + French Guiana.
My personal travel website
Cycling from Indonesia to India (09-11) Fabebook Page
----------------------------------------------
"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind." Albert Einstein

Viaggero

User avatar
Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 515
Joined: December 28th, 2005

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 2nd, 2008
quote:
French Guiana.



Wrong choices! Done that, been there and it is just as expensive if not more than mainland France as they inflate the economies of all their overseas territories and departments.

I don't know if it's still the same with the present exchange rate, but I studied in Montreal and found it quite inexpensive about 6 years ago.

Spanish is cheapest in Central America when you figure in the flight. If going to South America, the best clearest dialects are in Colombia and Peru.


As for Arabic, most study in Egypt. But remember,the various dialect vary extremely, so pick causiously.

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 2nd, 2008
Thanks. I'm not so much worried about the flight, as it'll be part of a round the world - though in my fantasy RTW I think I'd rather spend six weeks in a spot then move on rather than always bouncing place to place.

I like the Levantine dialect of Arabic, so I'm thinking about Jordan or Lebanon. Syria would be great if our countries could make peace finally.
Michael C

jessus

User avatar
Lost in Place
 
Posts: 76
Joined: February 6th, 2008
Location: Ontario, Canada

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 3rd, 2008
From what I've heard, Marseille speaks French a bit differently! (Different pronunciations, maybe some different words??), so it may not be a key place to learn!

Felix the Hat

User avatar
Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 2939
Joined: June 17th, 2002
Location: itinerant

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 5th, 2008
For Spanish, your best bet is in Latin America. Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador are probably your cheapest options. All speak a version of Spanish that is readily-understood in the Spanish-speaking world.

French will be a bit trickier. Montpellier is a popular place to learn French in France, a bit cheaper than Paris. The Midi accent is a little different from the Parisian one, but there's no French dialect spoken in France that is unintelligible to any French-speakers. There are lots of French immersion schools in Canada, particularly Quebec. While native Quebecois is a very strong accent to French ears, with widely-divergent vocabulary, what's taught in Canadian immersion schools is closer to standard French.

As for Arabic, you're correct about the Moroccan variant. I know a couple of native Arabic speakers, one from Morocco, the other from Lebanon. When they chat with each other, they use French instead of their respective dialects of Arabic. The problem with learning Arabic is that, to be literate, you essentially have to learn two langauges. Modern Standard Arabic is used for writing, but everyone speaks a dialect form, which doesn't usually resemble MSA very much. Yemen has been a popular spot to learn Arabic for a while - I looked into it a few years ago in Sana'a. Egypt is another.

Tortuga_traveller

Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3454
Joined: November 19th, 2004

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 6th, 2008
I've studied Spanish in Guatemala and Spain. Now that I've done both, I'd opt for Guatemale or Nicaraugua. Mexico is too expensive for what you get.

Arabic? No idea. One thing about Yemen is that right now its pretty anti western. I know people who do it in Cairo.
I wouldn't live in Cairo unless you paid me, A LOT.

If egypt tickles your fancy, try learning arabic in a place like Luxor, which has plenty to see and there isn't 1/10th the noise and air pollution.

French? In France its all relatively expensive. There was one school in Aix en Provence I was looking at, but never went to. Spanish interested me more, AND, they only want very serious students, which I am not. I have no intention of being a French Professor.

They were the cheapest, and their course looked pretty rigorous.

They teach French in Morrocco, I'm sure, and if they do, well, its probably the cheapest option.

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 9th, 2008
Yeah, I'm with you - I could not live in Cairo. I might have to postpone Arabic. I did study MSA in school, though only one semester.

Do many people speak French in Morocco? I'm hearing conflicting things. That could be fun: base myself in Marakech, and study French!
Michael C

Tortuga_traveller

Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3454
Joined: November 19th, 2004

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 9th, 2008
I hear its their second language, since there are about 5 kinds of Arabic in Morroco, and the spoken versions are different enough to make a difference.

I'm sure the accents will be muddier than in Paris, but hey, it might be fun learning French in an arab environment. It will be a lot cheaper to live in Marakesh, or I hear, Fex, which everyone on this board seems to run to once they've been in Marrakesh. Me, I'd opt for casablanca. Maybe I'll see Humphrey bogart there.!!!

wait....

Nearly everyone I've talked to in Casablanca speaks French, although the level of fluency and the Arabic influence vary with the level of education achieved. The French spoken here seems to be a dialect, but it's very interesting, because the more educated the person is, the more French s/he sounds. Less-educated Moroccans speak the dialect, which tends to be weighed down with a fairly thick Arabic accent, while more educated Moroccans speak something approaching Parisian French. I've met a few people with whom I simply could not communicate in French, nor they with me. They couldn't understand the vocabulary and constructions that I used, while I simply could not hear the words under their accent.

Some characteristics of Moroccan French: R's are usually rolled, like Spanish and Provençal R's, rather than apical (pronounced in the throat) like Parisian R's. (In fact, my Arabic teacher told me that the Arabic letter ﺭ [ra], which sounds just like a Spanish R, is pronounced "comme le R français.") Vowels are often "dipthonged"; for example chère is pronounced [shayre].

Vouvoiement is very uncommon, even with more than one person. Virtually everyone uses tu no matter whether they are talking to a friend or someone they just met. I think the main reason for this is that vous for one person doesn't really exist in Moroccan Arabic. The exception to this is very highly educated and/or upper-class Moroccans, who tend to have a better all-around grasp of the French language. Store owners, my dance teacher, and the owner of the gym I go to all tutoient me. When I respond by force of habit with vous, they may use it once or twice, but they always fall back into tutoiement. Civil servants, my Arabic teacher, and other teachers/administrators usually use vous. There is definitely a correlation between quality of French and the frequency of the word vous: the better the person speaks French, the more likely they are to vouvoient me.

http://french.about.com/library/travel/bl-ma-language.htm

Ok. thats what I found out. Yes, you can practice french there, but don't expect to come out sounding like an educated frenchman. Depends on the level of french you want, I suppose. Tourist french will always sound like tourist french, no matter where you learn it!!!

Oh yes, I've forgotten the spanish schools of south america. The people here seem to think that ecuador is the cheapest way, and I can tell you for a fact that their variation is slower and clearer than some others. Once again, this warning

Tourist spanish is still tourist spanish no matter where you learn it, unless you have a gift to 'pick up' exact accents. So, in the beginning, you'll struggle just to get the right words out, let alone worry about the niceties of accent and whether they use Vos or not.

A little spanish is 100 times better than no spanish in spanish speaking countries, so you win wherever you go.

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 14th, 2008
How fun - I'll tutoiement en Fez, merci!

I'm not worried about my accent so much as I'd like to be able to have casual conversations and be understood. Usually, when I've studied languages, I get "stuck" in whatever accent/dialect I first learned in. Indonesians can still tell that I first learned Bahasa in Aceh.

This was awesome information - thanks!
Michael C

Tortuga_traveller

Extra Pages in Passport
 
Posts: 3454
Joined: November 19th, 2004

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: April 16th, 2008
Oh one more thing...

I also hear that the arabic in Syria is quite good, and they teach it fairly cheaply. Especially if you go to the school of Koranic Arabic.

Still, some people may not be comfortable in Syria...

BTW... there is no french in syria!!!! VBG

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: October 7th, 2008
grr! I had to delay my RTW, but for good reasons - I just need to wait a bit more ...

I'm still researching the best cities to study languages in. Anyone have any experiences in these cities, or know better alternatives? And I'm somewhat good at languages, but have never actually taken an intensive course overseas. How much progress can one expect in a month or two?

Spanish (current CEFR level A1: Breakthrough Basic User)
Jan: Mexico City or Habana?
Feb: Cadiz or Sevilla?
Mar: Madrid
Apr: Barcelona

French (currently level B1: Threshold Independent User)
May: Montpelier or Aix-en-Provence?
Jun: Paris

Turkish (currently level A2: Waystage Basic User)
Jul: Aegean Coast
Aug: Anatolia, Black Sea
Sep: Istanbul

Levantine Arabic (currently, barely, level A1: Breakthrough Basic User)
Oct: Damascus
Nov: Beirut
(Jordan if either of these don't work out)

Moroccan Arabic (no experience)
Dec: Fez

(and I'm in my 40's, and want to avoid the study-abroad party scene at all costs. I'll study on my own if the schools are all geared in that direction)
Michael C

jv

User avatar
Mod Squad
 
Posts: 1445
Joined: December 23rd, 2004
Location: Phnom Penh

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: October 8th, 2008
Not sure how far along you are in your plans, but you could also consider Tunis for French (and Arabic).

The classes are cheap here, and many of the teachers are native French. A 40-hour class runs 145 TD, or about US$116. Your cost of living will be reasonable, though maybe not as cheap as in Morocco.

Michael C

User avatar
Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 282
Joined: October 25th, 2006

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: October 8th, 2008
ah cool, thanks, I'll have to look into Tunis. For both French and Arabic. I'm still sketchy on Beirut. I have great friends from Beirut, but none there & it seems a lot of travelers don't care for it.

I still have plenty of time, and though I will plan the f*** out of things I almost always deviate once I'm on the road.
Michael C

EMH

Street Food Connoisseur
 
Posts: 609
Joined: May 24th, 2007

Share on Orkut

  • Added on: October 13th, 2008
quote:
Originally posted by Michael C:
grr! I had to delay my RTW, but for good reasons - I just need to wait a bit more ...

I'm still researching the best cities to study languages in. Anyone have any experiences in these cities, or know better alternatives? And I'm somewhat good at languages, but have never actually taken an intensive course overseas. How much progress can one expect in a month or two?


(and I'm in my 40's, and want to avoid the study-abroad party scene at all costs. I'll study on my own if the schools are all geared in that direction)


In my experience, I was able to go from complete beginner to advanced beginner in 4-5 weeks of studying Spanish in Mexico. That's with taking 4-5 hours of classes a day, 5 days a week.

As for a party scene, there were young college students who went out and hit the bars but there were also lots of retired folks who weren't into that. I'm 39 so I was a bit in between the two groups so I mostly did my own thing after classes. Or hung out with people who weren't into partying.
Follow my travels through Central and South America: www.talesofagringo.com


Next

Return to In Other Words

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

PLEASE NOTE: Your original BootsnAll Boards Member login still works by logging in below on the Boards.
We have a new BootsnAll Account that you will start seeing around the BootsnAll Travel Network. This new login is not yet linked to your current Boards Account. In the meantime, you will need to sign up (for a BootsnAll Account) to use Account features like Indie ™ , Traveler Profiles etc.

Quick Links

Community Activity

Statistics for the last 7 days

New posts:
0
Newest Member:
Seni Tours


Indie - Multi Country Flight Finder
Round the World Travelers


Join BootsnAll on Facebook

1 (503) 528-1005

© 2018 BootsnAll Travel Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.