Basque Fact of the Week: Basque was only Standardized in the 1970s

The Basque language — Euskara — became standardized in the 1970s. The Basque Language Academy (the Euskaltzaindia) felt that a standard was needed to give the language a better chance of survival against the pressures of languages like French and Spanish. This unified Basque, Euskara Batua, was based on a dialect of Basque from Gipuzkoa.

The density of Basque speakers, from Wikipedia.
  • There are at least 5 dialects of Basque, subdivided into 11 subdialects and 24 minor variants. I’ve heard it said that every valley — indeed every baserri — has its own dialect. My dad, a Bizkaian, would say he couldn’t understand the Basque of the French side.
  • In comparison, the Royal Spanish Academy, founded in 1713 to ensure the stability of Spanish, published its first grammar in 1771, though the first Spanish grammar was published back in 1492.
  • Euskara Batua is now an official language in Spain, but not in France.

2 thoughts on “Basque Fact of the Week: Basque was only Standardized in the 1970s”

    1. Hi Max. No, not really, but you can put your email into the box on the right of the front page and you’ll get a notice whenever there is a new post. That is the best I have, at least right now.

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