Basque language

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Basque language,

tongue of uncertain relationship spoken by close to a million people, most of whom live in NE Spain and some of whom reside in SW France. The language has eight dialects. Speakers of Basque are for the most part bilingual, and there are many Basques who do not speak the language. Basque is definitely not an Indo-European tongue. Some scholars believe it is descended from Aquitanian, which was spoken on the Iberian peninsula and in S Gaul in ancient times. Other linguists think Basque is akin to the Caucasian languagesCaucasian languages,
family of languages spoken by about 7 million people in the Caucasus region of SE European Russia. The Caucasian languages take their name from the Caucasus Mountains, on the slopes of which their original homeland is believed to have been located.
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 and suggest that its speakers came from Asia Minor to Spain and Gaul c.2000 B.C. However, no relationship between Basque and any other language has been established with certainty. The alphabet used for Basque employs Roman letters. The first printed book in Basque appeared in the 16th cent. Basque is both agglutinative and polysynthetic. In an agglutinative language, different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are often joined to form one word. In a polysynthetic language, a number of word elements are joined together to form a composite word that functions like a sentence or phrase in Indo-European languages, but each element has meaning usually only as part of the sentence or phrase and not as a separate item.


See W. J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan, and Basque (2d ed. 1962).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Each screen shot presented the word in Basque language, the keyword, and the Spanish language translation.
'Leku' in the Basque language loosely translates as 'place'.
Eta, whose initials stand for Basque Homeland And Freedom in the Basque language, killed more than 850 people during its decades-long violent campaign to create an independent state in northern Spain and southern France.
When the two do meet at the Al Maktoum Stadium for an exhibition match next week, San Jose Gil plans to speak to his counterpart in their official Basque language.
Marazzo, means "shark" in the Basque language. The company says that the shark was the design inspiration behind this car.
Julien Vinson (1843-1926) contributes an essay on the Basque language, and a substantial appendix discusses and samples Basque poetry.
One of the classic writers of seventeenth-century literature in Euskera (the Basque language) is Joannes Detcheberri from Ziburu (Ciboure in French), who in 1669 wrote prayers for sailors.
The militant group was formed following Spanish military dictator Francisco Franco's attempts to suppress the Basque language and its culture.
The situation underwent a remarkable turnaround in the second half of 2007, when the new head of the Department of Basque Language, Culture and Sport at the DFA sought to clear up the mysteries surrounding the Iruna-Veleia case.
Recent cross-border measures to officially recognise Basque culture--such as the Basque language's inclusion in the 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages--have also helped.
But different to the Galacian and Basque language, Catalan has for centuries been a prestigious and cultural language.