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basque language

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Basque (Euskara)

Basque is a language with no known linguistic relatives spoken by about 660,000 people in Spain and France, mainly in the Basque country (Euskal Herria).

The earliest known examples of written in an ancestral form of Basque known as Aquitanian are found in Roman inscriptions in Aquitane. They consist of the names of people and gods plus a few other words and were inscribed during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The first published book in Basque was a collection of poems entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae, published by Bernard Detchepare in 1545.

For centuries there was no standard orthography, and Basque was written with Romance spelling conventions supplemented by various additional devices to represent sounds not present in Romance languages. During the early years of the 20th century, a bizarre and impractical orthography employing a blizzard of pointless diacritics was widely used; this largely disappeared after the Spanish Civil War. In 1964 the Royal Basque Language Academy (Euskaltzaindia) promulgated a new standard orthography; this met some resistance at first but is now almost universally used.

Basque alphabet & pronunciation

Basque alphabet & pronunciation

Sample text

Gizon-emakume guztiak aske jaiotzen dira, duintasun eta eskubide berberak dituztela; eta ezaguera eta kontzientzia dutenez gero, elkarren artean senide legez jokatu beharra dute.

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

books   Recommended books

Links

Online Basque lessons (en franšais)
http://asignoret.free.fr/eskuara.html

Online Basque <> Spanish dictionary
http://www1.euskadi.net/hizt_3000/indice_e.htm

Basque Grammar
http://www.ehu.es/grammar/

irratia.com - Online Basque Radio
http://www.irratia.com/sintonia

Online Basque newpapers
http://www.gara.net/
http://www.berria.info
http://www.zabalik.com

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