Check out the following video, from LangFocus, which offers a nice clear and concise introduction to the Basque language, and is generating a lot of online traffic, at least in our humble little world of Basque Studies!
Here at the Center we’ve published a number of books that will be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the various aspects of the Basque language (Euskara, Euskera, or Eskuara).
As its title suggests, Basque Sociolinguistics: Language, Society, and Culture by Estibaliz Amorrortu offers an introduction to the place of Euskara in contemporary Basque society. It discusses the history of Basque as well as current planning strategies to foment knowledge of the language. It also includes a brief introduction to its linguistic structure. The work is available free to download here.
The Challenge of a Bilingual Society in the Basque Country, meanwhile, edited by Pello Salaburu and Xabier Alberdi, is a multiple-authored work that includes among its many topics chapters on the legal implications of advocating a bilingual society, attempts to revive the language, and how Basque is viewed by both native and nonnative bilinguals.
In The Dialects of Basque, Koldo Zuazo takes on a fascinating journey into the history and current reality of Basque dialectal variation. This very informative and accessible study discusses not only the differences one might expect, but also connections running through the different dialects. The work is enhanced by numerous explanatory maps and figures.
As a complement to Zuazo’s study, Pello Salaburu’s Writing Words: The Unique Case of the Standardization of Basque charts in detail, from a first-hand perspective, the often dramatic story behind efforts to create a standard modern Basque; and the eventual success of implementing this new standard model in contemporary Basque society; all, somewhat remarkably, within the space of a generation.
In our Classic Series we also publish Koldo Mitxelena: Selected Writings of a Basque Scholar, compiled and introduced by Pello Salaburu. This is a comprehensive selection of articles by the premier Basque linguist discussing, among other things, the history of the language and the influence of contact with other tongues as well as the issue of standardization and the importance of dialects.
Why not check out the first ever work published in Basque? Bernard Etxepare’s Linguae Vasconum Primitiae (1545) includes a facsimile version of the original text, plus a bilingual Basque-English transcription of this classic and, despite its religious nature, often bawdy and funny poetic tome.
Finally, if you haven’t already got a copy, we would really encourage you to check out the practical and informative CBS-Morris English-Basque / Basque-English Dictionary. More than just a dictionary, this is a useful reference tool that includes an introduction to the Basque language, a concise grammar section (including a guide to pronunciation), and even a handy guide to writing letters in Basque (and English if you prefer). Now where else would you be able to find out that “lickety-split” is ziztu batean in Basque!?