The Basque Language

Basque is known as a non-Indo-European language with a home in Western Europe. Basque first appeared in writing in Latin religious text, the Glosas Emilianenses. This was around the 11th century. The first published book in Basque in poems entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae in 1545. Basque is a unique pre-Roman language. The Basque language is spoken in primarily 3 of the 7 cities within the Basque country that are more towards Spain rather than the remaining cities that are closer to France. The language is dying out sadly but thanks to politicians like Sabino Arana the language has been booming. After Franco basically made it illegal to speak the language now in the current day the Basque language is becoming more popular.  Today the Basque language is spoken by around 659,000 people in the Basque Country. aste-nagusia-marijaia-on-balcony

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3 Responses to The Basque Language

  1. kerstin58 says:

    I’m surprised that the earliest form of written Basque we have is from the 11th century! I thought it would be much earlier. I’m sure there likely was other texts written in Basque before that, but they were all destroyed. Hmmm Basque does have a very strong oral tradition though, so maybe writing didn’t occur that much earlier. I’m curious now. If only we had a time machine!

  2. cesndrs2 says:

    It’s truly amazing to me how the Basque language has survived despite a long history of persecution and fighting. From the Roman conquests, to Los Reyes Catolicos, and Franco’s regime, Basque has survived! I think that really speaks to the resilience of the people and the culture of the Basque Country.

  3. lrg4 says:

    Very interesting! The Basque alphabet we have now comes from the Latin alphabet, which is what I assume was used in the Glosas Emilianenses. I wonder if the Basques had developed their own alphabet prior to adopting the Latin one and it got lost. I agree with Kerstin, we need a time machine!

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