Going Local in Gran Canaria
How to Turn a Holiday Destination
into a Home

Language

This is a preview to the chapter Language from the book Going Local in Gran Canaria by Matthew Hirtes.
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Mind your language. While in the resorts, you’ll be able to speak English and be understood. But venture out of these artificial enclaves, to the capital Las Palmas for example, and you’ll find a potential barrier of misunderstanding.

The only fluent English speakers you can seek out with any certainty will be at the tourist information offices or kiosks peppered throughout the city. For those seeking their year-round place in the sun,
learning Spanish’s a must. You’ll discover a wealth of academies and private teachers to choose from. A cheaper opportunity’s the intercambio one. Here you meet up with a native in typically a bar/cafe. And over a café (coffee)/cerveza (beer), you’ll begin chatting in English for, say, 15
minutes, and then Spanish for the remainder of your drink or vice versa. Look out for the adverts on noticeboards in bookshops such as Canary Books (Calle Senador Castillo Olivares 51; 928 36 57 55; www.canarybooks.net). Alternatively, bilingual expat teacher Theresa Coe runs the Gran Canaria Language Exchange. Contact her on theresacoe@gmail.com – she’ll then try and match you up with a native Spanish speaker in your area. Theresa also organizes monthly meetings if you’re after more than one-on-one action.

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