The principal language of Spain is Castilian (otherwise known as Spanish) and it is the only native language in Madrid. However, Spain has five official languages. Although Castilian is the national and most widely spoken language, certain autonomous communities have two official languages. The traditional language of the Basque Country is Euskera, which is radically different from Castilian. Catalan and Valencian share the same linguistic Latin roots as Castilian, but they are separate languages spoken in Cataluña, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. The Autonomous Community of Galicia also has its own language, Galician, and it is very similar to Castilian, but it also shares strong linguistic roots with Portuguese.
While living in Madrid, you should study Castilian as it will be necessary in most formal situations, such as at the bank and at work. It will be a lot easier to socialize and establish yourself in the city if you speak Spanish.
The average time it takes to learn Spanish is determined on a number of factors, such as the time you can dedicate to studying it, how you study it (self-taught, language school, etc.) and your willingness to learn.
There are numerous language schools throughout Madrid, and the following list includes some of the best:
Don Quijote Madrid
Intensive and super intensive courses, Spanish for life and Spanish for business.
C/Duque de Liria 6
Tel: 913 604 133
This school has centers throughout Spain, teaching numerous foreign languages. For further information, order a brochure from the website below.
Mayor 18, 5 left
Tel: 34 913 64 24 54
Club de Espanol
A Spanish language school that offers intensive courses, business Spanish, one on one tuition, custom designed classes and cultural experiences.
Monte Esquinza 28
Tel: 902 884 054