Q: I’m about to get married, and my bride’s family speaks mostly Spanish. Where can I take a crash course to impress them?
A: We’re sure they love you either way. But a little sucking-up to the in-laws is always a good idea, and a genuine effort to learn more than a token few words can be endearing. (Our advice from multilingual family gatherings: Food-related language will take you especially far.) While not a charm school, the Instituto Cervantes has the imprimatur of no less an authority than the government of Spain, and it offers some of the best and cheapest Spanish instruction in town (212-661-6011, ext. 6, or institutocervantes.org). Their day, weekend, and evening classes take 30 hours over ten weeks, range in price from $360 to $1,360, and cover everything from language basics (so you can teach your new nephew the alphabet) to advanced fiction and film (discuss pop culture with the father-in-law). If you need more specific lessons, say, on how to ask for your Latin lover’s hand, book one-on-one sessions with the Instituto’s private tutors ($70 per hour, minimum purchase of ten hours).