Interesting Facts About the Basque Language

Interesting Facts About the Basque Language

Some languages have very strong roots in history and are easy to learn more about, but others a bit more mysterious in nature. The Basque language is a language isolate and is tied to the Basque people living in northeast Spain or southwest France.

This location was termed Basque County and is where the name for this language derived. About 27% of Basques speak this language and the majority are living within the Spanish side of Basque County.


Eight Dialects of Basque

This language is known to have 8 different dialects and many people that speak this language are actually bilingual. Some Basques do not even speak this language currently and it should not be confused for a type of Indo-European tongue. The actual history of where this language began is a bit hard to define, but many historians can trace its existence to Aquitanian during ancient times. However, another theory of this language is that it is closely related to Caucasian languages and that the first speakers were actually from Spain. However, the confusion exists in the fact that no relevant relationship has ever been proven between the Basque language and any other language.


The Basque Alphabet and Roman Ties

It is an interesting fact theta the Basque alphabet does include many Roman letters. The first ever book written in Basque can be dated to the 16th century and is described as an agglutinative language. This means that different elements of language are put together to form one word. However, each element can be separated to have its own distinct meaning. The locations of Spain and France are the two where the Basque language has the most history and influence. The Closeness to Basque County is what can be linked to this spread of language.


Euskara Batua

In the 1960s, a new standardised form of this language was introduced and it became referred to as Euskara Batua. This was created by the Language Academy to help this language to be understood by all Basque speakers and to remove some of the confusion that existed among the different dialects. When Basque is used today, it is likely used in Euskara Batua form and this is done in educational and print use mainly. Both Spanish and French schools currently teach this language and many subjects are taught in Basque today in these French and Spanish locations.


Photography: “Ascain Stèle discoïdale”
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

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