Category Archives: Euskara

Basque Fact of the Week: Features of Basque Grammar

When I was trying to learn Basque, one shortcoming I had as an English speaker is that I simply didn’t know the grammatical lingo. There are a lot of terms thrown about – declination, ergative, auxiliary verb – that are used to describe the grammar that we simply don’t learn in English class. At least, […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Proto-Basque, the Basque of 2000 Years Ago

A few weeks ago, I introduced Koldo Mitxelena, who was the chief architect of the reconstruction of Proto-Basque, the Basque that was spoken some 2000 years ago. So, what is Proto-Basque, exactly, and how do people like Mitxelena reconstruct a form of a language that is 2000 years old when there are no, or at […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Korrika, The Race in Support of the Basque Language

Earlier this month, the Basque Country witnessed what has become an amazing spectacle in support of the Basque language. Starting on March 14 in Irun and ending in Baiona after 11 days and more than 2,700 kilometers, thousands upon thousands of people ran across the Basque Country in support of Euskara. It is an event […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Koldo Mitxelena, the Greatest Scholar of Basque

It is sometimes amazing that, despite the long history of the Basque language, we know so little about it. Since it wasn’t a written language for so long and other languages like French and Spanish dominated the regions, Basque didn’t receive much attention from scholars. At least, not until relatively recently. It was people like […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Sounds in Euskara

One day, we were all sitting around the table listening to stories from dad. I’m not quite sure how it came up, but he made a sound of a rooster. Instead of our cock-a-doodle-doo, his rooster said kee-keeree-kee-keeree-coo. His rooster spoke Euskara instead of English! I guess it should have been obvious that animal sounds […]

A Bit of Basque Miscellany

Today, I’m sharing a number of interesting items that have been sent to me over the last… well, I don’t dare say, as some of these have been sitting in my inbox for far too long. I hope you enjoy these!

Basque Fact of the Week: Good Birds to You!

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Hanukkah Sameach! However you celebrate, the holidays are upon us. In Basque, it is traditional to say Gabon Zoriontsua! or Eguberri On! Sometimes you’ll hear the ubiquitous Zorionak! But where does this word, used in so many situations, come from…? Primary source: Euskal Hiztegi Historiko-Etimologikoa, Euskaltzaindia

Making Basque Identity Cool: An Interview with John Ysursa

John Ysursa is near-omnipresent in the Basque community of the United States. He’s seemingly at every festival, he’s a central part of Boise State University’s Basque program, and he has authored a book on Basque dance. His enthusiasm for all things Basque – particularly how to get others excited about the Basque culture – is […]

Basque Fact of the Week: The Hand of Irulegi, the Oldest Text in Euskara

On Monday, my feeds blew up. A new discovery – a bronze relic dating back some 2100 years – shook the Basque world. This relic – of a hand, likely an amulet of good fortune – had words written on it in (an ancestor to) Basque in a unique runic script. This discovery – the […]

Basque Fact of the Week: Napoleon’s Nephew was a Linguist who Studied Basque

How does an aristocrat – a man born into privilege and titles, the nephew of one of the most powerful leaders of Europe – become one of the most important researchers of the Basque language? Louis Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, extensively studied the regional variations of Euskara, establishing a critical map of the dialects. While […]