Euskara (berriro)

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:52 pm

In fact a recent study came out showing that more than half of the youth of the Basque Country are neolocutors, meaning they did not grow up speaking Basque at home but learned it in school or elsewhere.

The results of the report compiled from 2016 data can be read in this article.

A point of clarification. There's a difference between a native bilingual, who learned for example Basque and Spanish at home at the same time, and a Basque native speaker who only learned Basque at home and started learning Spanish or French outside the home. Eventually these Basque native speakers end up learning erdara (foreign language) and do become bilingual, but this survey differentiates between them based on their home language(s). So:

1) native Basque speakers
2) native bilingual speakers
3) new speakers who only grew up with erdara but became bilingual later in life (at school for example).

Let's see some figures.

Euskal Herriko euskaldunen %50,2 dira euskaldun zaharrak gaur egun; alegia, euskara etxean ikasi dutenak. Jatorrizko elebidunak —etxean euskara eta beste hizkuntza bat jaso dituztenak— %13,6 dira, eta euskaldun berriak, %36,2 —herenak baino gehiago—.

Datua are nabarmenagoa da gazteei erreparatuz gero: 2016an, 16 eta 24 urte bitarteko gazte euskaldunen artean %29,8 baino ez ziren euskaldun zaharrak, %15,9 jatorrizko elebidunak, eta %54,3 euskaldun berriak. Gazteen erdiak baino gehiago euskaldun berriak dira, beraz.

In the Basque Country, 50.2% of Basque speakers are native speakers. 13.6% are native bilinguals, having learned both Basque and another language at home. New speakers who learned no Basque at home but learned it later are 36.2% of the population.

It gets more interesting when you look at the youth between the ages of 16-24.

29.8% are native Basque speakers.
15.9% are native bilinguals.
54.3% are new speakers of Basque.

Most of the article however is not dedicated to the results per se but the categories used in the classification of Basque speakers, euskaldun berriak (new speakers, those who learned Basque outside the home and are not native speakers) and euskaldun zaharrak (literally old speakers, those who learned Basque at home and are native speakers). Many criticise this separation as essentialist, and even within the scientific context can come with ideological weight, like the idea that the native speakers are better speakers (solely for having learned it at home) than those who learned it in some other way.

I think it's questionable whether this classification is pertinent in all cases. I'm not saying it's not pertinent in some cases and a useful term, but there are situations in which you could group both a euskaldun berria and zaharra together if their language behaviours overlap.

For example does it matter who is a native speaker or a new learner, when you're interested in quantifying who uses the language more and it turns out some new learners use Basque much more than the native speaker?

That doesn't mean there aren't important differences to note between native speakers and new learners, but they have to do with the use of the language (the study doesn't concern itself with 'quality' of the language):

Erabilera handiagoa dute lehenengo hizkuntza euskara duten hiztunek, lehenengo hizkuntza euskara ez dutenek baino». Hori erakusten du inkesta soziolinguistikoak erabilerari begiratuta, adibidez: euskaldun zaharren %84,1ek egiten dute hizkuntzaren erabilera trinkoa —alegia, erdaraz adina edo gehiago egiten dute euskaraz—, eta euskaldun berrien artean, berriz, %22,9 dira euskara erabili ohi dutenak. Gaitasun erlatiboan ere badago aldea: euskaldun zaharren artean, %47,2k errazago egiten dute euskaraz, eta euskaldun berrien artean, %83,1ek errazago erdaraz. Erraztasuna eta erabilera loturik daude, dena den; baita lehen hizkuntza ere.

What this says is that 84.1% of native Basque speakers speak more Basque than erdara (Spanish/French) in their daily life, compared to 22.9% of new Basque speakers.

As for their self declared ease or capacity in the language, 47.2% of native speakers say that they find Basque easier to speak than erdara, whereas 83.1% of new speakers say that they feel erdara is easier for them than Basque.

You might be tempted to go at this point 'ahah! Native speakers feel that speaking Basque is easier for them, that proves there's an inherent difference' but I'm not so sure. A part of the ease of speech comes from native acquisition, sure. But a big part also comes from how frequently you use the language, which explains those cases of native attrition. We all know stories of people who go live in another country for 20 years without needing to speak the language and they lose much of their ease in their native language, and at that point, you could pit them up with a new speaker who uses the new language every day, and the new speaker could come out ahead on their self identified fluency.

At this point it's worth considering another factor that is too overlooked in favour of the abstract, all powerful 'native language' (as if your first language will determine your language skills and habits for your entire life!). And that is your environment:

Eta gune soziolinguistikoei erreparatuta, argi ikusten da: euskaldun zahar, berri zein jatorrizko elebidunen erabilera anitz igotzen da euskaldunak anitz diren herrietan. Amorrortuk uste du horri erreparatu behar zaiola gehiago, eta ez hainbertze lehen hizkuntzari: «Aldagai garrantzitsu bat, euskararen kasuan, testuinguruarena da».

Native speakers by definition have a space for use that new speakers don't, which is the family. So they immediately have a benefit there. But, there are other contexts in which the language is used. The key information in this quote is:

Whether you are a native Basque speaker, a native bilingual speaker or a new speaker, all of their usage of Basque goes up in towns where Basque is widely spoken.

There's nothing written in the laws of nature that says that new speakers, because they grew up with erdara, inherently must feel uncomfortable with Basque or make lesser use of it.

The 83.1% of new speakers who say that they feel they speak Spanish/French easier than Basque, feel that way at least in part because their context (including family but also school, friends, extracurricular activities etc) is so heavily biased towards erdara.

How big of a part context plays is a very important question. Even if it were true that your native language determines in a magical way your language skills and habits forever, it is little help in saving the Basque language. If we could immediately ensure everyone born in the Basque Country from the next five seconds onwards had committed parents who would speak to them at home in Basque, that would be fantastic! But it's hard to do. It's hard to create native speakers for a minoritised language.

Whereas knowing that the context of use determines your language skills and use of said language, can be targeted with concrete actions here and now. Such as promoting Basque in the public space, in administration, health care, education etc: all this not only helps new speakers so that their use and fluency rises to match that of native speakers, it helps native speakers too. After all what's the point of being a native speaker if you never use it or have an opportunity to use it?

Final thing. The journalist who wrote this article is
Maddi Ane Txoperena Iribarren, born in Hendaia, Lapurdi. She writes in a North Basque Batua in this article (bertze, -en suffix for future marking etc). These are all forms accepted in the umbrella of Batua, and the author depending on their providence can choose to write in them. Berria, the Basque newspaper allows for this variety, so from one article to the next you can literally read different forms of standard Basque.

It'd be like a pan-German newspaper allowing the use of forms and vocabulary from standard German German, standard Austrian German, standard Swiss German etc.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sat Oct 17, 2020 11:21 am

Up until 2:02 you have a variety of Western Basque dialects on offer (Lekeitio, Ondarroa, Ea, Legutio, Bergara, Gernika) from elderly native speakers. I think even if you don't know Basque, their accentual/intonational and phonological system is clearly different from the next speakers who come from Gipuzkoa.

From 2:02 you have a segment where Gipuzkoans comment on their impression of Western Basque. A recurring theme is that they don't understand anything, it's very hard. One people mentions having to switch to Spanish to communicate.

But how trustworthy are their impressions? Take Joxe Iraola, from Andoain, who says that:

Bizkaia aldera, berriz, zera, guk ez de(g)u erdia konprenitzen.

The Bizkaian variety, we don't understand half of it.

And from the same town, Delia Huizi says:

Han oso txip-txap-txop erdizka, ezer… ez euskeraz ez erderaz. Bai, egia, e!

Over there they speak txip-txap-txop, half of the time. It's not Basque nor Spanish. It's true!

But then later she says:

Han beste euskeraz hitz egiten da, Gernikan ta hola. Ezta… Hola, orain, mantso egiten badue, entenditzen zaizu.

Gernika and there abouts they speak a different kind of Basque. If you speak slowly, you can understand it

Here is an opinion from Kontxi Mendizabal from Hondarribia:

Bizkaitarrakin nik ez diotet deus e… zergatik iten dute hola bizkaitarrak?
*Laughter from interviewer*
Joba… Hoiki bai ez zaiotela entenditzen, e!

I don't understand anything with the Bizkaians... why do they speak like that?
*Laughter from interviewer*
Damn...with them there's no way to understand them!

But Joxe Gaztelumendi is from Errenteria, not far from Hondarribia and he says:

Gu soldaduskan gaudela, e, bizkaitarrak zian asko. Nik haien euskera segittun ikasi nun. Eta euskaldunakin era batea iten nun, ta haiekin bestera. Eta geo naparrak e bazian, ta ez zen horren berdina re, e! Baino arazoik ez zeon.

While we were in the army there were a lot of Bizkaians. I learned their Basque right away. And with the Basque speakers we would speak one way, and with those (Spanish speakers?) another way. And later there came the Navarrans, and their Basque wasn't so similar you know! But there weren't any problems.

From 3:50 onwards you have an extremely interesting segment with young native speakers of Western dialects, about their experience with their dialect and how it fits into the wider Basque speaking world. You could write an essay about each thing they say.

Here's a good story from Andere Arriolabengoa who comes from Aramaio, accompanied by Manex Agirre from the same town:


Kontauko dot anekdota bat, izenik ez noie esaten, baine Zarauzko euskal jai batzutan e… Gipuzkoako bertsolari batekin juntau nintzen, eta ez gitzen elkar ulertzen. Bueno, egixe da ordu txiki...

Manex: Bai, kalimotxo batzuk edanda!

Andere: Baina… ez, ez gitzen elkar ulertzen, eta orduen in geben trato bat eta zan: berak bizkaieraz ingo euela eta nik gipuzkeraz, holan elkar… ezagutze o ulertarazteko. Eta… eta bueno, txarto ez zan urten esperimentue.

Manex: Ondo? Orduan bai ulertu?

Andere: Bai!

Andere: I'll tell you a story, I'm not gonna say any names but one time at the Basque festivals in the town of Zarautz, I met up with a Gipuzkoan bertsolari, and we didn't understand each other. Well, it's true that after a few hours...

Manex: Yeah, after drinking a few kalimotxos!

Andere: But we didn't understand each other and so then we made a deal: he would try to speak in Bizkaian dialect and me in Gipuzkoan dialect in order to understand each other.
And well, the experiment worked pretty well.

Manex: Good? You could understand each other then?

Andere: Yes!

kalimotxos - alcoholic drink made from cheap wine and coca cola. Tastes surprisingly good and is a favourite of university students, but now that I work and have money I prefer good wine...

A little later Andere says:

Andere: Bueno, bizkaittarren artien be bai, e. Nik gogoratzen dot nire klaseko lehenengo egunien lekittar bat auen... bueno, hasi zan berbetan, eta iñok etzauen... osea, eta ni Bilbon... osea, etzauen iñok ulertzen! Kostau jakun... bera be bai, moldatu in bihar izan eban... berak be moldatu in biher ixen eban apur bat bere euskerie, bestiok ulertu ahal izeteko, ze bestelan ezinezkue zan!

Andere: well, the same thing happens between Bizkaians as well eh! I remember the first day of school and there was a kid from Lekeitio... well they started speaking and no one...I mean, I was in Bilbao and there wasn't anyone who understood anything! It was hard for us...the kid had to change how they spoke, a little bit, their Basque, so the others could understand because otherwise it was impossible!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sun Oct 18, 2020 12:21 am

I read this Master's thesis by Mathilde Cames, a graduate student now living in Canada, originally from the Pyrenees and self taught Gascon speaker:

L'enseignement de l'occitan gascon en Gascogne Pyrénéenne (Béarn, Bigorre, Comminges, Couserans) : un vecteur de reconquête linguistique ?

It's fascinating ethnographic research focusing on the teachers of Gascon. She paints a complicated picture of these people who literally are the standard bearers for the language.

As nearly all intergenerational transmission has stopped, she describes them as feeling the weight of responsibility of being perfect speakers, transmitters and teachers of their language and culture. Through hours of interviewing, she teases out their worries, their fears, their prognostications for the future, their view on the Occitanist movement vs the regionalist movement etc.

It's also just a damn compelling read, really excellently written, I felt like I was reading a novel even. I've read way too many research papers that bored me to tears. I'd like to say more about what I just read, but in this post I'd like to talk about something else that has been rolling around in my brain.

The author excluded the Val d'Aran even though culturally and linguistically it is one with the Couserans, but socially and politically of course it is vastly different. Almost none of what she studies here, the fragmentation of the teacher corps, the scarcity of jobs, the lack of specialised training for the Gascon variant, the paltry hours of education, the lack of teaching material etc is relevant in the Val d'Aran.

There's something that is very important about the Val d'Aran that perhaps has not been appreciated enough. The Val d'Aran isn't just the only place on earth where a form of the Occitan language is official. It's also the only place where intergenerational transmission of Occitan never broke down on a societal scale.

In the Occitan valleys of Italy that has already unfortunately happened, with Occitan relentlessly retroceding in favour of Italian. It happened a few decades later than in France, but it happened and is happening. And in France the transmission was broken in the 60s at the latest. But in the Val d'Aran, most Aranese kept speaking Aranese to their children, even (long) before they got their language protections legally enshrined into law. How did that happen? I don't know. I have to look into it.

The perilous situation of the Aranese language comes from a different source, namely the massive (relative to their tiny population) influx of immigration from other parts of the Spanish state. The risk being that even if the Aranese keep on transmitting their language, they will be progressively marginalised in numbers by speakers of other languages. And then sooner or later what happens elsewhere in the Spanish state, the breaking of intergenerational transmission, will happen too.

Luckily, it seems that the language protections came just in time, because the latest figures for Aranese from a 2018 survey, the Enquesta d’usos lingüístics de la població a Ponent, l’Alt Pirineu i l’Aran show reason to be cautiously optimistic. You can read the results of the survey specifically for the Val d'Aran here and in video format (in Catalan) if you have time and want to put on something to listen to while you are cooking :D :

The population of the Val d'Aran as of 2018 is 9983 people. Of that number 36.8% or 3 678 were born in the Val d'Aran. 20.9% or 2 090 are from Catalonia, 21.1% or 2 111 are from the rest of the Spanish state, and 21.1% or 2 104 are from overseas.

83.3% of the adult population understands Aranese, 73.5% can read it, 60% can speak it, 45.8% can write it. Compared to 2008, the ability to read and write Aranese have leaped 14 and 11 points respectively and a more modest increase of those who can speak and understand Aranese, 3.2% and 5.1% respectively.

Interestingly and most hopefully, the increase in knowledge of Aranese is most pronounced among young people between the ages of 15-29. 90.6% understanding Aranese, 75.2% can speak it, 87.4% can read it, 72.2% can write it. And it's in this age group that the percentages have increased the most since 2013 (between 11 and 20 points).

Following them, the second best group are the people over 65 years or more. For comparison, 86.7% understand Aranese, 67.9% speak it, 78% can read it...for these elderly people their biggest failing is their ability to write in Aranese, 34.8%. This is due to the absence of education in Aranese when they were young and the absolute preponderance of Spanish at the time of the dictatorship.

So you see a curve of knowledge in the demographic table. The youth know Aranese the best and then at the other end, the old people. This mirrors what is happening in the Basque Country where the kids and the elderly blow the adults out of the water when it comes to usage and knowledge of Basque. It's a strange curve, and something you'd see in a language where something went really wrong and the language transmission skipped generations but now there is a recuperation starting from the young people. Or in the case of Aranese, where the international transmission never stopped, but did not spread to the influx of immigrants who depressed the numbers of adult speakers for several decades.

Aranese is the first language of 21.4% of the population, 16.3% have Catalan, 37.7% have Spanish, 17% have other first languages and 6.9% have other combinations of languages. Given the prevalence of people who have other languages as their first, native languages it is interesting to hold it up to this finding: 24.7% say that for them Aranese is their language of identification, meaning that more people identify with Aranese as 'their' language than there are native speakers of Aranese! This means that the Aranese integration is working. You can be a Spanish speaking immigrant from Extremadura or a Catalan speaking immigrant from Barcelona and end up feeling that Aranese is your language.

Finally, the percentage of people who have Aranese as their habitual language has increased by 2 points since 2013, and the percentage of people who have Spanish as their habitual language has decreased 10 points. By contrast, people who have a combination of languages (including Aranese, Catalan and Spanish i.e. trilinguals) has shot up 11 points.

What this shows is that Aranese is gaining ground slowly, but we're never going back to the days of a Val d'Aran where it was pretty much monolingual in Aranese, and neither is it advancing towards the nightmare scenario of monolingual Spanish. The Val d'Aran is becoming progressively more multilingual, but with Aranese as the jewel in that multilingual crown.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Oct 22, 2020 11:00 pm


Three flags. The big one in the middle is the ikurrina, invented by Sabino Arana and his brother in the 19th century. It has become the general Basque flag, waved from the north to the south, west to the east by most Basques of most political persuasions.

The one on the left is the nationalist Navarran flag. It is the current flag of the Navarran autonomous community, but modified to remove the emerald boss, the Spanish crown and the chains, which nationalists like to think of as the chains of Spanish and French oppression.

The actual history of where these chains come from in heraldry doesn't interest me, what does interest me is what people interpret as their present day meaning. Nationalism is a construction based around common myth making.

Compare the nationalist Navarran flag with the current Navarran flag:


On the right is the Arrano Beltza flag, the Black Eagle. This was the symbol used in the personal seal and sigil of the Navarran king Antso VII (1154-1234).

Much later the influential Basque nationalist Telesforo Monzón recovered what was originally a dynastic symbol and created a national flag out of it with a black eagle on a golden background. You'll also see a variation of this flag with the background in red, which seems to have been the original colour.


To Monzón is attributed this quote which I haven't found the source for. But accurately attributed or not, it perfectly describes the ideology of a particular variant of Basque nationalism.

Nafarroa Kantauri itsasoko hondartzetan hasten da, hura baita Nafarroaren itsasoa. Gure hizkuntza nafar hizkuntza da: lingua navarrorum. Arrano beltzak itzala ematen die euskaldun guztiei.

Navarre begins in the beaches of the Cantabrian sea (i.e. in Bizkaia) because the Cantabrian sea is the Navarran sea. Our language is the Navarran language: lingua Navarrorum. The Black Eagle gives shade to all Basques.

And it's not a flight of fancy from Navarran chauvinists, as Monzón was himself born in Gipuzkoa. The idea that all Basques are actually Navarran, their language is Navarran, their true home as 'Navarra' has found a wide audience in Basque nationalists from all corners of the Basque Country, ready to subsume their identity as Bizkaians, Gipuzkoans, Lapurdins etc under the flag of a political entity that was created in the early Middle Ages and destroyed in the early modern age. But which could rise again. Not as a kingdom of course but as a Republic.

Here is a mural from the Gipuzkoan town of Azkoitia where this sentiment shown clearly. 'Gure estatua' means our state.


You'll often find the Arrano Beltza depicted outside or inside an herriko taberna, the local town bar for Basque nationalists of the far left variety.

Below you can see the arrano beltza symbology in the herriko taberna of Iruñea (Pamplona), capital of Navarre and for many Basque nationalists, the rightful capital of the unified Basque Country. It's the swankiest herriko taberna I've ever been in, all the rest are much more down to earth.

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:06 pm

Euskaraldia is about to start and this time I've signed up as a belarriprest. Literally it means a ready ear. That means my job is to advertise myself as a person who can understand Basque, in order to favour the use of Basque among ahobizis, literally a living mouth, people who are comfortable with speaking Basque. Technically I already act as an ahobizi in my daily life as I rarely speak Spanish, so I could have chosen to be an ahobizi as well, but I chose the bare minimum of responsability.

When I get the belarriprest badge, I'm hoping people will stop speaking to me in Spanish! If I count the number of times that Basque speakers have talked to me in Basque without me saying Basque first, it can be counted on one hand.

It's not okay that they switch languages with immigrants. But I really hope that they don't treat children of immigrants in the same way as they treat adult immigrants, that is, just because of the skin colour or physical appearance talk to them in Spanish, when they have gone through Basque immersion and are Basque speakers.

It's nothing less than racism and I'm really worried about the psychological impact that can have on immigrant children.

This is what happens in a diglossic speaker community. Don't ever be fooled by the idea that in the Basque Country there is bilingualism. There is no bilingualism. There is diglossia. And racist behaviour, however well meaning it is, is simply another product of the minoritised status of Basque.

Anyway, this year's Euskaraldia's song is an awesome one. The singers are from the awesome band Skabidean acommpanied by the Broken Brother's Brass Band. The word play is quite fantastic, but doesn't come across in my English translation.

Euskaraldia bertan da!
Euskaraldia bertan da!
Prest al zara?
Esan, esan... esan, esan
Prest al zara? Esan... bai!
Zaindu maite duzun hori... zaindu... zain gu... maite duzuna?
Armairutik atera armairua bera! Atera ba! Atera !
Bagera –Ezer ez da berdin ta segi aurrera
Bagare –Ez da erraza, baina halare...Bagira
–Ez geratu begira
Bagire –Ez esan ez dela posible
Zenbat gara? Ni bat
24 / 7
Zenbat gara?
Gu bat
Asko ta ez aski
Prest bazara esan esan...
Prest bazara esan...
jalgi hadi plazara, jalgi hadi

Han bat eta han bi, hainbat...
Eta handi !
Jalgi hadi plazera, adi, adi
Batera... bat bera...”
Bagera –mugetan preso inor ez dadila gera
Bagare –aspaldi belarriak ahoen zain daude
Bagira –ahoak belarrien bila dira
Bagire –gorputz txarrik ez da bizitzeko libre

Euskaraldia is here!
(Speak Basque) more...with more people...more often
Euskaraldia is here!
Are you ready?
Speak, speak...speak, speak
Are you ready? Say...yes!
Take care of what you love...take care of it... we're waiting
(Take care of) what you love!
Bring out of the closet the closet itself! Well come out! Come out!
We are - nothing's the same, but keep going
We are - it's not easy but still...we ARE
Don't stay there watching
We are - don't say it's not possible!
How many of us are there? I'm one
24 / 7
How many of us are there? We're one
We're a lot, but not enough yet
If you're ready, speak speak
If you're ready, say...
Come out to the plaza, come out
There's one there and there's two over there, so many...
And big!
Come out to the plaza, listen, listen
Together, the same one thing
We are - don't let anyone be a prisoner to the borders
We are - the ears have long been waiting for the mouths
We are - the mouths are searching for ears
We are - there's no such thing as a 'bad body' for living freely.

Bagera, Bagare, Bagira, Bagire - different ways of saying we are, according to different Basque dialects. This is a reference to a classic Basque song, which I've talked about here.

Jalgi hadi plazera - a phrase meaning 'you, come out to the plaza!'. A famous quote taken from the first book ever published in Basque by Bernart Etxepare, in his Linguae Vasconum Primitiae (1545). Towards the end of the book, Etxepare writes to the Basque language itself, calling it to take its rightful place in the world and in public space, among all the other languages. Actually Etxepare says that 'orain hura iganen da bertze ororen gainera', now it will rise above all the other languages!

Etxepare writes in his Low Navarran dialect and uses an orthography that is now superceded but the language itself is very understandable.



Here's a comparison between the original and a version written in a modernised orthography. I point out some things that could be said differently.

Heuscara ialgui adi campora
Garacico herria
Benedica dadila
Heuscarari eman dio
Behar duyen thornuya.
Ialgui adi plaçara
Berce gendec vste çuten
Ecin scriba çayteyen
Oray dute phorogatu
Enganatu cirela.

Ialgui adi mundura

Euskara jalgi hadi kanpora
Garaziko herria
Benedika dadila
Euskarari eman dio
Behar duen tornua
Jalgi hadi plazara
Bertze jendek uste zuten
Ezin eskriba zaitezen
Orain dute frogatu
Enganatu zirela

Euskara, jalgi hadi mundura

ialgui - jalgi is still said in the north, atera in the southern dialects.
thornuya - turnada in the north, txanda in the south.
çayteyen - in Etxepare's time they used the subjunctive, whereas at least in the south in the 21st century it would be said with an indicative mood like this: Beste jendek uste zuten ezin eskribatu (idatzi, eskribidu) zutela.

As for the meaning:

Basque, come outside!
May the town of Garazi be blessed
It has given to Basque the place that it deserves

Basque, come out to the plaza!

Other people thought that they couldn't write in Basque
But now they have experienced
That they were wrong

Basque, come out into the world!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Oct 23, 2020 12:45 pm

Here is the dialogue in the video. There's even a dirty joke!

Txora txora eginda naukazu...
Laztana esaten didazunetik!

Euskaraz beste kolore bat
Hartzen baitu maitasunak, bihotza.

You've got me crazy about you
Ever since you started calling me 'love'!
In Basque love takes
Another colour, honey.

Je suis trop vieux pour me mettre à apprendre ça mec.
Hain da zaila
Poliki poliki gizona. Hobe hitz egiten den gutxia, hitz egiten ez dena baino.

I'm too old to start learning that stuff man
It's so hard
Bit by bit mate. The little that you can say is better than that which you don't say.

Badakizu badakidala
Bai, badakit badakizula...
Prest nago bai. Garagardo bat!

You know that I know Basque
Yeah, I know that you know ..
Yes I'm ready! A beer please!

Gehiago, gehiagorekin, gehiagotan
Beti gauza bera daukazu buruan, gero!
Euskarari buruz ari nintzen, aizu!

More, with more people, more often!

You only have one thing on your mind don't you!

Haha, I was talking about BASQUE.

Segi jolastera!
Blah blah blah (erdaraz speaking)
Bada ba marka, euskaraz soilik gorputz txikiari mintzo
Bagara edo ez gara?

Keep on playing kids!
Parents turn back to speaking between themselves in erdara.
So, is there a border that means we speak Basque only to children?
Look of guilt from the parent
So are we or are we not (on board with speaking Basque)?
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:46 am

From the book Honetara ezkero by Arantxa Iturbe. It's a book of short stories, often quite weird, full of black humour.

Lau astez auzoko neska koxkor haren bila ibili eta azkenean hilda aurkitu zutela jakindakoan, alabari mikrotxipa jartzea erabaki zuen amak.

Segurtasun enpresakoek agindu diote bost minutu nahikoa izango dituztela alabaren gorpua aurkitzeko.

Aita haserre dago, zer irudituko ote litzaiokeen galderu ere egin gabe amak zortzi urteko umeari zilborrean piercinga jarri dionetik.

They had searched for that young girl, from the neighbourhood, for four weeks and when mother learned that they had finally found her body, she decided to install a microchip in her daughter.

The security company assured her that five minutes would be enough to locate her daughter's corpse.

(Some time later)

Father is angry since mother, without asking for his opinion, got the belly piercing for the 8 year old child.

gorpua - Basque distinguishes between gorputza, the body of a living being and gorpua, the body of a dead being, even though both terms come ultimately from the same Latin word corpus. So Jesus says, referring to the sacramental bread, hau nire gorputza da, and not hau nire gorpua da. The Romans had trouble enough with the idea of cannibal Christians, imagine the idea of necrophilic cannibals!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:52 pm

I want to talk about an attitude that I sometimes detect, more or less overt, when it comes to minoritised languages, and that links up with exoticisation.

Here is a video from the media company Brut, about endangered languages in far off lands...

But they could just have easily shown videos from Europe, with white people wearing jeans and t-shirts! The cherry on the top is the last phrase 'La France aussi tente de préserver son patrimoine, comme en Nouvelle Calédonie où plus d'une dizaine de langues kanaks sont enseignées dès l'école primaire'.

Knowing that the peoples of NC had to fight against the state for their right to teach their languages, literally with blood, and that even with the Noumea accords, that teaching is limited to something like 3 hours a week of education. Have a guess why these languages are all endangered.

It's amusing that they have to go all the way to NC when they could I donno just hop down to Strasbourg or Rennes to find the 'exotic' speakers they were looking for. Not brown enough I guess?

The other aspect of exoticisation, or should I just say plain linguistic prejudice is something that exists even among defenders of minoritised languages, and that is the reproduction of the hierarchy between 'real languages' and 'patois'.

This especially affects the Oïl languages which by virtue of their more or less close relationship to French, is thought of as not being different enough.

There are some Breton activists who still, stubbornly think of their language as the real Breton language and Gallo as a mere 'patois' that is an obstacle to their goal of re-Bretonising Brittany. Some say it explicitly, others still turn up their nose at the whiff of Gallo.

Here's something an Asturian speaker told me when I expressed my desolation at the presence of racists who use minoritised languages to transmit their ideas, or even use them as a weapon to attack others:

Defender una llingua nun te fae defenfer otres coses nin te fae meyor persona. Gais tránsfobos, inmigrantes xenófobos contra otros inmigrantes, muyeres machistes... Formar parte d'una minoría, mesmo de la minoría más machacada que te puedas imaxinar, nun te fae sensible pa con otres minoríes. Mui bien de veces ye al contrariu.

Defending a language doesn't make you defend other things nor does it make you a better person. Transphobic gays, immigrants who are xenophobes against other immigrants, sexist feminists...being part of a minority, even if it is the most oppressed minority you can imagine, doesn't make you sensitive to other minorities. Many times it's the opposite.

So oppression doesn't actually create solidarity, sadly.

From an objective point of view I don't believe Basque is more valuable than any Oïl language.

I have personal ties to the Basque language as I live in the Basque Country and have Basque friends, but if I lived in a place with Picard as the language, it's well possible that I'd have the same feelings towards Picard. If there was a button that would destroy one language but save the other one, I wouldn't begrudge the Picard speaker for choosing to save their language and not Basque.

I don't believe in the idea that Basques care more about their language than Picards do, I believe that socioeconomic and historical factors have favoured the revitalisation process of Basque, and it's pure historical accident that Picard doesn't have the same force behind it.

Who is to say that the love and feeling of a Poitevin-Santongeais speaker towards Poitevin-Santongeais is less strong or is less valuable than that of a Basque speaker with regard to Basque? Whose feelings are more valuable or truer? There's no one on earth who can say that.

Do we or do we not believe in the equality and equal value of all human life? That's what it comes down to for me, and that's why it doesn't matter if the speaker of a minoritised language is from next door and dresses similar to me, eats similar food to me, or is from the other side of the world and has vastly different habits. The problem with exotisation is that it objectifies the other, and also blinds us from seeing the otherness in our closest neighbours (and in ourselves, ultimately).
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:02 am

In the dialects that have been most in contact with Spanish for a long time, the use of the auxiliaries egon and izan match closely with the Spanish distinction between estar and ser, something that is not the case with the dialects further up north.

Non zaude? ¿dónde estás?
Nekatuta nago. Estoy cansado/a.

This is the case in Western and Gipuzkoan Basque, where egon is used for location, for statives...except for a couple of curious cases.

To express sensations, one uses izan.

Gose izan - to be hungry
Egarri izan - to be thirsty
Hotz izan - to be cold
Bero izan - to be hot
Beldur izan - to be afraid
Lotsa izan - to be scared

It is a crass erdarakada to say gose daukat. c.f. Spanish tengo hambre, French j'ai faim I have hunger. You have to say gose naiz. In this case, Basque works very much like English, you are hungry, thirsty, you don't have hunger or thirst.

There's also a weird construction that I only just figured out the explanation for.

Itxi leihoa, hotzak nago eta. Close the window, I'm cold.

Here, you have the use of egon (nago) BUT with the noun cold (hotzak)...with an ergative marker (-k). This is puzzling because the ergative marker marks the subject of transitive verbs in Basque normally, and egon is anything but a transitive verb, it's instransitive.

The answer probably comes from the lengthy form of the expression: hotzak hilda nago, I am dead because the cold killed me, i.e. I'm freezing cold. Something that is possible to say, where the ergative marker marks the agent of a past action marked by the past participle (hilda).


Beroak zaude? Are you hot?

Could be a shortened form of beroak jota zaude. Are you struck down (by the heat)? = are you boiling hot?

Goseak zaude? Etorri frankiziara. Are you hungry? = are you struck down by hunger? = are you famished? Come to our franchise...
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:54 am

A mural from Lekeitio


Gure kañobetia, zeuen erabakija - our knife, your choice.

Kañobetia is a word borrowed from Gascon, ultimately from a Germanic language, see this post I made here. It means knife, but limited to a seaman's vocabulary, the kind of long knife you use to gut and clean fish. In the neighbouring town of Ondarroa, it is kañueta.

Here the grapheme <j> is used to represent the sound [ʒ] that is characteristic of the Lekeitio dialect.

/ʒ/ is used in Lekeitio in onset position where in other Basque dialects you have [x] or [d͡ʒ] or other realisations:

For example joan 'to go' can be expressed like so:

(Biscayan) IPA(key): [d͡ʒ]
(Gipuzkoan) IPA(key): []
(Navarrese) IPA(key): []
(Navarro-Lapurdian) IPA(key): [ɟ]
(Souletin) IPA(key): [ʒ]

Like the Zuberoan dialect on the opposite side of the Basque world, Lekeitio dialect has [ʒ]. This is something that immediately distinguishes it from neighbouring Western dialects. But due to another phonological rule raising the /o/ immediately before another non high vowel, in Lekeitio you say [ʒuan] unlike in Zuberoa.

Because Lekeitio dialect has no standard orthography and standard Basque doesn't have [ʒ] in its phonology, [ʒ] can also be represented by the digraph <dz>. Such as in this word from Lekeitio, dzingua /ʒiŋgua/ that gives the name to the surf shop in the town.

Dzingua means the depth of water, e.g. kontuz, ez salto eiñ, ez dago dzingurik eta 'don't jump, it's not deep enough!'. I don't know the etymology because I haven't found it yet in any dictionary.

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