Seven places to learn a new language



New Year's resolutions can be pretty nebulous. How much weight, exactly, are you aiming to lose? How many mixed drinks are you willing to forgo? (And do Sazeracs count? Is that technically a mixed drink, or just a tradition/way of life?) But learning a new language challenges your brain, connects you with other cultures, introduces you to new people and is a pretty cool party trick to pull out among the monolingual. Here are seven places to learn a new tongue, some free, others pricey, all social:

The Spanish Conversation Circle at the Keller Library and Community Center offers participants a free way to pick up Spanish. It's open to beginners and experienced speakers every Wednesday.

For more advanced Spanish speakers, the New Orleans Spanish Language Meetup hosts events to practice the language. You just have to join Meetup and sign up on the group's page. There are also Meetups for French and Arabic.

Both the Alliance Francaise and L'Union Francaise host language schools for New Orleanians looking to delve into the tongue that haunts many a city street name. These are both pretty expensive, but they're intensive classes. The Alliance Francaise also hosts events and movie screenings, so if you want to immerse yourself in French for free without homework, those are some other options.

Classes at the NOLA Chinese Language School start Feb. 1 and are open to all levels of Chinese speaker. The American Italian Cultural Center also offers classes for the semester, and may teach you to say more than "pizza" and "spaghetti" in la lingua bella.

Deutsches Haus, the New Orleans German society, is offering beginning German in two classes for $20 Jan. 4 and 8. Sign up in advance.

If you know of more language opportunities, particularly ones on the cheap, post 'em below.

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