Euskara (berriro)

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Sep 02, 2020 9:45 am

I walked to several towns in Bizkaia yesterday.

Here is a bilingual ad in the inland town of Markina-Xemein looking for an apartment, written in the dialect of the town. I provide a standard Basque translation below.


Pisu bille gabiz

Alkilerreko pisu baten billa gabizen Markiñar bikote bat ga, ume nagusi bateaz. Interesatuak, deitu mesedez.

Alokatzeko pisu baten bila gabiltzan Markinar bikote bat gara, ume nagusi batekin. Interesatuak, deitu mesedez.

We are a couple from Markina looking for an apartment to rent, with a grown child. Those are interested, please call.

Also from Markina-Xemein, a poster stuck on a wall, written in Western Basque to encourage parents not to just talk to their children in Basque, but to make Basque their own language of social interaction between adults. It is a bizarre but common behaviour on the part of adults to talk to children in Basque but to switch to Spanish when talking to each other. This is of course a bad thing. I can't find any trace of this poster online so it might be just something created by the town hall.


Eneko (boy): ezetz gola sartu!

Girl on slide: beldur naz. Jausiko ete naz?

Enara's father: Enara, zatoz ogitartea hartzera!

Enara (girl): itxaron Eneko, aita deika daukat eta.

Eneko's mother (in Spanish, to Eneko's father): Eneko solo quiere comer duces y bollos

Enara's father (in Spanish to Eneko's mother): pues Enara come de todo.

Look of confusion from Eneko and Enara.

Euskaraz, zergatik ez?

Haurrakin bakarrik ez, zeuon artean be euskaraz!

Eneko (boy): I bet you can't score a goal!

Girl on slide: I'm afraid, what if I fall?

Enara's father: Enara, come and get your sandwich!

Enara (girl): wait Eneko, Dad's calling me.

Eneko's mother (in Spanish, to Eneko's father): Eneko only wants to eat sweets and cupcakes.

Enara's father (in Spanish to Eneko's mother): well Enara eats a bit of everything.

Look of confusion from Eneko and Enara.

Why not in Basque?

Speak Basque, not only with your children but with each other!

naz - naiz
ete - ote
be - ere
Haurrakin - haurrekin. In the dialects of east Bizkaia, -gaz is used for singular and -kin for the plural of the concomitative suffix.

With the child = haurragaz (in standard Basque, haurrarekin)
With the children = haurrakin (in standard Basque, haurrekin)

In the west part of Bizkaia however, in the plural -kaz is used instead of -kin.

With the child = haurragaz (in standard Basque, haurrarekin)
With the children = haurrakaz (in standard Basque, haurrekin)

The eastern dialects of western Basque are situated near the border with Gipuzkoa, places like Ondarroa, Lekeitio, Markina-Xemein. So you could call it a transitional feature.

By the way if you look at the advertisement in the first photo, you'll note that it's written:

Alkilerreko pisu baten billa gabizen Markiñar bikote bat ga, ume nagusi bateaz

Bateaz is not a new suffix. It still is -gaz. It is just bate(g)az, 'with one'. The dropping of this consonant in intervocalic position is frequent in spoken Basque dialects.

Here is a nice graffiti from the seaside town of Mutriku, written in standard Basque. It's the anti Serenity prayer. Next to it you have call for amnesty and freedom for Basque prisoners. In the picture a person helping another person escape from jail.


Ez nabil onartzen aldatu ezin ditudan gauzak
Onartzen ezin ditudan gauzak, aldatzen nabil

I don't go accepting the things that I can't change
The things I can't accept, I go around changing
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:24 pm

A poem by Mikel Ibarguren Errasti. Composed in 1996. He was a member of the terrorist organisation ETA and it was in prison where he studied Basque philology and started writing poetry.

Ispilurik gabe dihardut nire aurpegiaren bila
Neguaren katilu hotzean
Kanpoan elur malutak etengabean pilatzen doaz

Ezpainik gabeko musuen antzera
Postalik gabe dator gaurko gaua
Helbiderik gabeko kartazal hutsa dirudi
Eta argia itzaltzen dudanean
Ene ziega gau bilakatzen da
Eta bizitza isiltzera doala dirudienean
Nire gorputzak ez du zurean gordelekurik bilatzen
Eta zure gorputzaren ausentzia besarkatzen dut

I am looking for my face without a mirror
In winter's cold drinking cup
Outside, the snow flakes pile up continuously

Like kisses from a mouth with no lips
This night comes without a postage stamp
Like a bare envelope without an address
And when I turn off the light
My cell turns into night
And when it seems that life is becoming silent
My body does not look for its refuge in yours
It is the absence of your body that I embrace
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:57 pm

This is a recent song that has me entranced. It's by the Catalan group Marialluïsa. Marialluïsa is the name of the lemon verbena plant (Aloysia citrodora) and appropriately this song has a plant theme. The first video is the music video and the second is a nice 'from home' version with dancing.

Contemplo el cel, veig un ocell
No hi ha cap pi ni un bosc sencer
Al meu voltant ja no hi ha encant
On faré el niu no hi ha pas fang

Oh, oh
Un raig de sol et cou
Si no ets un gira-sol

Tu saps com fa l’olor d’un llamp
Escolta el tro del plor constant
Quan tots calleu ressorgirà
Un mar de flors ens cobrirà

Vius engabiat i capficat
Dins el teu món estàs plantat
El teu final te l’has buscat
Seràs adob pel que vindrà

I contemplate the sky, I see a bird
No pine trees nor whole forest
Around me, there's no longer any magic
Where I will make the nest, there's no mud

Oh, oh
A ray of sunshine can cook
If you're not a sunflower

You know what the smell of lightning is like
Listen to the thunder of constant weeping
When you all shut up, it'll rise again
And a sea of flowers will carpet us

You live imprisoned and downtrodden
You're planted in your own world
You've earned what's coming for you
You'll be the fertiliser for who comes next.

engabiat - can mean imprisonned but also the stakes or sticks that is used to ensure the correct growth of a plant. So the image of a trellis...
Last edited by nooj on Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:56 pm

An incident, not at all uncommon, taken from Twitter:

Un cafè amb llet de soja, si us plau
-En got, si us plau
-Si me hablas con tanto catalán no te entiendo.

Al mig de la Rambla del Poblenou

"A coffee with milk please"
"In a cup, please'
"If you speak to me in so much Catalan, I don't understand you."

In the middle of la Rambla of Poblenou

Many people just tell her to walk away and let the wallet speak, but I wonder if the best option is to teach the waiter what the word for cup is. However, the attitude of the waiter suggests that they don't care for learning Catalan "if you speak to me in so much Catalan, I don't understand you". Maybe the best option is to name and shame, like on Twitter, and then come in a group of twenty or thirty people and have all of them order in Catalan. Make a statement.

If they can't or refuse to take the order, you're legally in your right to put in an official complaint for linguistic discrimination.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:22 pm

The Marala Trio talks about a song of theirs, la Panaderina and some new Valencian friends they fortuitously made.

Moments abans del concert Binaural al Convent de Pontós. Acabàvem de conèixer Aupa Quartet al complet, que feien una residència artística a la casa. Els vam voler convidar a tocar en una cançó del nostre repertori i la música va sortir sola.

En aquest vídeo queda documentat el procés: anàvem descobrint una nova Panaderina al mateix temps que la teixíem. Érem set veus trobant-nos per primera vegada, amb la música abans que amb la paraula. Ens emportem un regal immens de la trobada que no s'acaba aquí. La família Marala creix a cada passa.

Just before the Binaural concert, at the Convent of Pontós. We had just met the entire Aupa Quartet who were staying in the house as part of an artist residency. We wanted to invite them to play in a song from our set and the music came out all on its own.

The process is recorded in this video: we were discovering a new 'Panaderina' at the same time as we were knitting it together. We were seven voices encountering each other for the first time, with music rather than with words. We take away with us from this meeting an enormous gift that doesn't end here. The Marala trio grows with every step.

The Panaderina is a traditional song from the Valle de Samario (Valdesamario), in the region of Omaña in León. The song name refers to a little sparrow (see the dictionary entry here). In Astur-Leonese, probably the most used diminutive suffix is -in/ina, and that has carried over into the Spanish spoken in these regions. The song is in Spanish. I think it's the female sparrow who is talking to another sparrow.

Marala Trio has taken the song from an obscure compilation of traditional songs from the Valle de Samario, and reworked it. I'm not sure how they even discovered the CD in the first place, to be honest. There's not exactly a big market for traditional Leonese music that comes from one small valley.

Dices que no hay más luna que la del cielo
y a la que veo tu cara, la luna veo.

Si quieres que te quiera, pájaro verde,
si quieres que te quiera, has de quererme.

Dices que no me quieres, déjalo y anda.
Que a la que tu no me quieras, otro me aguarda.

Dices que no hay más luna que la del cielo
y a la que veo tu cara, la luna veo.

You say that there's no Moon other than that in the sky
And yet as soon as I see your face, I see the Moon
If you want me to love you, green bird
If you want me to love you, you must love me.
You tell me that you don't love me, leave it be and go.
Because as soon as you no longer love me, another is waiting for me.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:29 pm

I heard this song pumped out of the speakers at the Donibane Lohizune (Saint-Jean-de-Luz) market.

The song says that the Basque Country is the only country for Basques: Basques are neither French nor Spanish. The song is beautiful but the lyrics are subversive. I wonder if the passers-by and the shoppers were conscious of this. I hope they agreed with the message of the song.

When I went home, I looked the song up. it is called Gazteri berria, originally written in 1963 by Piarres Lartzabel, a Basque writer from Lapurdi.

This version however is sung by Erramun Martikorena (Otsobi, I previously posted a poem of his in the log), a Basque shepherd first and a wonderful singer second, from Nafarroa Beherea (Baigorri). So both are Basques who have a French passport.

Aita, zer egin duzu gure lur maitea?
Kanpokoari saldu, oi dohakabea!
Arrotzez betea da Euzkadi guzia,
Eskualduna etxean ez dago nausia.

Father, what have you done to our beloved country?
Sold it to the outsider, ay, what a misfortune!
All of Euzkadi is full of foreigners
The Basque speaker in their own home is marginal

Euzkadi - The word Euzkadi is an invention by Sabin Arana. It was originally created to name the Basque nation that Basque nationalists were aspiring towards. The thing is that Basques already had another much older word, Euskal Herria, but by the 19th century they were using it to describe a cultural and linguistic area, not a political entity that no longer existed, as EH was under the political domination of other states.

Arana was not happy with this name, and so created Euzkadi from the root euzko, which he imaginatively derived from eguzkia (sun). Arana believed that the ancient Basques were sun worshippers, so he thought it appropriate that the Basques were really named after the sun.

Euzkadi became a popular neologism among Basque nationalists of all stripes, including in the north Basque Country, hence why it appears in this song. Today, Euzkadi is usually written Euskadi, and the way that people use it now, the word Euskadi generally refers to the Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa, the Basque autonomous community comprising Araba, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. People don't refer to Nafarroa or Lapurdi as part of Euskadi.

So what term is used to refer to all of the Basque provinces? Well, Euskal Herria has come back in a big way. It still retains its reference to the cultural/linguistic area common to all Basques, but it is the word most used by Basque nationalists today in their political project of creating a Basque nation.

Gu gira Euzkadiko gazteri berria,
Euzkadi bakarra da gure aberria.
Gu gira Euzkadiko gazteri berria,
Euzkadi bakarra da gure aberria.

We are the new youth of Euzkadi.
Euzkadi is our sole country.
We are the new youth of Euzkadi.
Euzkadi is our sole country.

Aita, zer egin duzu eskuara maitea?
Erderan hazi duzu oi zure semea.
Ontasun ederrena aita batek galtzea.
Biotzean sartua dugu ahalgea.

Father, what have you done to our beloved language?
You have raised your son, ay, in the foreign tongue.
The most precious possession, thrown away by a father.
We have shame driven into our hearts.

Kaskoin edo maketo ez dugu etsaia,
bainan eskual semea da gure anaia.
Hemen dela España, han dela Frantzia,
mugaren bi aldetan da Eskual-Herria.

We don't consider the kaskoin or the maketa to be our enemies
But our brother is the Basque son
Whether it's here in Spain, whether there in France.
On both sides of the border, it is the Basque Country.

Kaskoin, maketo - both these terms are used to describe non-Basque speakers in a despective way. Kaskoin is used in the north, maketo in the south. The neutral term is erdaldun.

Kaskoin obviously comes from gaskoin, the Gascons who have been neighbours to Basques for millenia, but whereas gaskoin is not an insult and is a neutral term to describe Gascons, kaskoin is an insult and has a wider meaning: French speakers can also be kaskoin.

Jaungoikoak emana hor dugu herria,
bere semek hiltzera zergatik utzia...
Bat egin behar dugu Euzkadi guzia,
bildu gaiten, anaiak, gure da bizia!

Here is the land that God gave us
Why has it been abandoned to die by its sons hand
We need to make one the whole of Euzkadi
Let's unite, brothers, it's our life!
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:21 am

A cracker of a song by the organisation Gure esku dago which means it's in our hands, we have the power, we have the responsibility etc., The song has the same name. It's about the people's right to self determination (to become independent). It's star studded, including the crystal clear voice of Erramun Martikorena in the opening. I don't like the English translation available in the subtitles so here's my version:

Kanta zaharrak dioen bezala
Ura bere bidean doa
Goi mendietako ur xirripa
Kanpo emariz ibaitu da
Mugarik ez jarri urei
Utzi libre beheratzen
Milaka urtez egin legez
Guk ez dugu aldarri egiteko
Heroi edo konkistarik
Borondateak elkartzen gaitu
Herri izan nahiak

Hormak eta harresiak ez ditugu maite
Elkarrekin bizi nahi dugu, soilik
Ez dugu beste inor mendean hartu nahi
Etorkizuna hautatu, ez besterik

Har dezagun bidea
Gure esku dago eta
Milaka lagun oinez
Eskutik oratuta
Jende zoriontsua, herri libre batean!
Herri libre batean!

(Rosa, Izaro, Omar, Arane, Carlos, Bittore, Maddi)

Hiritar desberdinak
Ametsak ditu biltzen:
Etorkin, arrantzale
Langabetu, ikasle
Nekazari, lagile
Musikari, idazle
Erretiratu, ume...

(Amaia, Javier, Antoine, Garazi, Gloria, Lur, Mamadu)

As the old song says
Water goes its own way
The little streamlet of the high mountains
Has become a river through the aid of foreign streams
Don't put borders on waters
Let them flow down freely
Like they have for thousand of years
We don't have any heroes or conquests
To reinvindicate
Will brings us together
The desire to be a country
We don't like walls and fences
We just want to live with one another
We don't want to dominate anyone
Just decide our future, nothing more

Let's take our path
As it's up to us
Thousands walking
Linked hand in hand
Happy people, in a free country


Different citizens
The dream brings them together:

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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Thu Sep 10, 2020 4:45 pm

Have I talked before about foreigner privilege? Today whilst hiking, I told off a Basque man I met who thanked me, yes thanked me, for speaking Basque.

He even gave me some figs he had been collecting. I told him flat out that after 11 months living in the Basque Country, it should be expected for a foreigner to have learned Basque.

There is nothing normal about treating foreigners who speak Basque as if they were special. And what is desperately needed is to normalise Basque.

To be fair, his response was contundent. Yes but what should be the case isn't so. He gave the example of natives of the Basque Country who don't speak Basque. Basques who don't speak Basque still constitute the majority of people living in the Basque Country. His mother understands Basque but doesn't speak it. So if even the majority of Basques don't speak Basque...

I still have not changed my position though. The only way to normalise Basque is to use it normally.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:04 pm

I believe that I've walked through hundreds of kilometres of the Basque Country, although I haven't been keeping count. Low hundreds, not high because I'm not very fit. Walking the tracks that criss cross my province (Gipuzkoa) and also sometimes venturing out into other Basque provinces.

And there's just so much to see and so many towns to visit. So many valleys, rivers, mountain tops, trikuharriak (menhirs), monuments etc to see. It would take years to see everything. Entire provinces I've barely touched. It makes me sad and regretful about my own time and how I've used it. Too long in front of the TV and computer.

So I'm hardly anyone to talk about 'knowing the Basque Country'. But for example, my French housemates have cars. They can go to places in 20 min, where it would take me two hours in public transport to even get near to, and another four hours to walk into from there. So they have it relatively easy.

And I can't recall any time this year they've taken the car to go have a look in any Basque city or town. I think the last time was when they went to Iruñea (Pamplona) last year. And that's a big, well known city.

They've taken the car to go home to Troyes, France four or five times this year. Which I would do too if I had my home so close, in this difficult year above all.

But, it's like...okay, you're not going to learn the language, you don't have Basque friends, you're not going to interest yourself in Basque music, literature, art, history, movies. You're not going to visit any Basque city or town...what is the Basque Country for you? A place to work and live in temporarily, a good place to go to the beach. If theirs is the average level of integration of foreigners who live and work in the Basque Country, even temporarily, I don't know...the Basques are kinda screwed.

In fact I think there are many tourists who would actually be more interested in the Basque Country than my housemates who've been living here for a year, almost the same time as I have.

I'm not saying that you need to become a Basque nationalist or a serial hiker to enjoy the Basque Country, everyone enjoys it in their own way, or at least I hope they enjoy it. But to not show any interest in the place they live in or the people they live among seems to me bizarre. And I've tried to invite them to bertsolaritza sessions with me translating, or go to Basque bars, or go to Basque concerts. I don't know. Maybe I'm the freak. Or maybe I shouldn't judge how people choose to live their lives. We're all after the same thing after all, to be happy before we skip into the grave.

One of them is a French teacher. I've always thought that the process of language teaching was a give and take, that you would also interest yourself in the culture where your students come from...if only for purely utilitarian reasons, to teach better.
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Re: Euskara (berriro)

Postby nooj » Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:07 pm

Taken from guyome's log so as to not interfere in their log.

How is that different from what French did to Occitan?
That's what the Gascophones I talk to say. That the Occitanists have learned well the manner of seeing the world from their oppressors. To be fair there are also Gascons who accept and work within the Occitanist discourse, so it's an internal fight even among Gascophones.

There's a big difference however between the activities of the French and the standard Lengadocian activists. Which is that the latter lack any meaningful power to impose their vision, which limits the damage they do to Occitan (or the Occitan languages, however you wish to call it). If Occitan was actually an official language in France, with the state backing standardisation and presumably only pushing one dialect in education and media, then the the other dialects would be in even more trouble than they already are. The very fact that Occitan speakers are having this debate, means that the standardisation debate is still not won. And so as not to stereotype, I've read and talked to quite a lot of Occitanists and there's a big diversity in their community as well, from extremely unpleasant extremists to extremely nice activists who accept and welcome all dialectical diversity.

The Aranese have officially accepted the Occitanist argument, and whilst standardising Aranese also try to place Aranese within a wider Occitan (Lengadocian) norm. It seems to me that the Aranese are pushing for bidialectalism. So within the Val d'Aran, Aranese, but with the outside world, in Occitan. If you look at the website for the Aranese academy that supervises the standardisation of Aranese, they have several works about referential Occitan where they express their goals.

Defensa e promocion des parlars e de totes es varietats eretades..., damb era maxima difusion e defensa der occitan aranés... e definicion e divulgacion der occitan estandard, coma llengua generau d’Occitània, que mos a de perméter ua lengua de comunicacion ampla en tot eth territori e coma referent.

Er occitan estandard ei ua varianta der occitan quemos junh es uns as auti. En paraules deth lingüista aleman Heinz Klossaguestes normes son es que corresponen a ua Dachsprache, ua“lengua teulada”, que servís entà dar-mos cobertura a toti. Ei uavarianta de besonh, que podem emplegar en foncion descirconstàncies.

I read one Gascon who wrote 'why do we even need a standard Occitan when we already have a common language, French?'. I deeply disagree with that. Any Occitan dialect, standardised Lengadocian or something else, is better than using French to communicate between Occitan speakers.

And the statement is wrong anyway, as the Aranese don't speak French and neither do all the Occitan speakers in Italy. Choosing French as your common language will divorce you from the Occitan community in other states. And however distasteful Lengadocian might be, that so called 'common language' of French has shown itself completely unsuited to maintaining dialectical or linguistic diversity. It's not a common language, it's the language that's killing Occitan.

If you're looking to culturally bring together Occitan speakers in France anything is better than French, Even English or German or Esperanto etc, as these languages lack the necessary statal power behind them to threaten Occitan dialectical diversity.

I believe the same about Italian in Italy or Spanish in Spain. In Spain, Spanish is not 'our common language', no matter how much some people try to convince us otherwise. Adopting Spanish in order to surmount dialectical differences in Basque, Aragonese etc is the very definition of failure.

As you know I'm in favour of normalisation of all languages in the Spanish state, but I don't think that normalisation necessarily entails standardisation on a big macro level, standardisation with an S. To be fair I'm unaware of any cases where there has been normalisation without standardisation, but is that because it's impossible or because no one's tried it?

I also think such a polycentric standardisation would require the right political and social context for it to be successful. Not all languages can (physically, politically, socially) pull it off. For example, if you're an endangered minoritised language split into half a dozen dialectical zones but the state you live in refuses to allow the teaching of many varieties, and demands only one, what can you do?
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