Speaking Basque: Part Three


Coming to Basque Country? Don't speak Basque? Makes sense. In this edition of learning the Basque language we will be focusing on some institutional words that will come in helpful when exploring. Enjoy!

The Basque language is unique and fascinating. Unlike English which is Germanic or Spanish which is Latin, Basque is a language unto its own. It is the oldest living language in Europe and is spoken by fewer than a million people worldwide. Although you do not need to be able to communicate in Basque to enjoy yourself in Basque Country, as 98% of people speak either Spanish or French the locals do appreciate you giving it a go. Plus it's fun!

If you haven't read our previous editions of Speaking Basque you can find them here. "Speaking Basque: Part Onw" focuses on common social words and phrases. "Speaking Bassue: Part Two" focuses on words related to food and beverage.

Note: The photos you are of the streets of Casco Antiguo, Pamplona, Navarre.

Euskadi - Basque Country  - The Spanish provinces of Bizkaia, Alava, & Gipuzkoa: The E makes an "A" sound, like when you say just the letter as in ABCD. The U-S makes an "ose" sound like if you say the word "lose" but drop the letter L and trail off a bit with the se. The K-A makes a hard K sound like in the word "karate." The D-I sounds like you're saying the letter D. In full it's A-ose-Ka-De

Iparraldea - Basque Country - The French provinces of Labourd, Lower Navarre and Soule: The I sounds like the letter "E." The P-A-R is like a par in golf but with a rolling of the R at the end. The R-A-L- sounds like the rawl. Think of the baseball company Rawlings. Try and say the P-A-R-R-A-L together relatively quickly. The D-E sounds like the letter D and the A ma kes an "ah" sound. In full it comes out "E-parrrawl-De-A."

Euskal Herria - Basque Country- All seven provinces: The E-U-S- is the same as in Euskadi. The E makes an "A" sound, like when you say just the letter as in ABCD. The U-S makes an "ose" sound like if you say the word "lose" but drop the letter L and trail off a bit with the se. The K-A-L is the same as the first syllable of the given name Kalvin.

The second word is kind of hard to describe. The H-E-R sounds like a soft "ah" gearring up into a rolled Rrr. The R-I sounds like the word "re" and the A makes an "ah" sound. In full in sounds like "A-ose-kal aRR-re-ah."

Jaurlaritza - government: The J-A-U-R sounds like the word "how" but you roll an "rrr" at the end. The L-A makes the la sound but says quickly. The R-E-T sounds like "retire" but you never get to the "tire". It's a "re" sound with a soft "t" ending. The Z-A sounds the same as the ending of "pizza." In total its "how-rr-la-ret-za

Udala - City hall: The U makes a oo sound, as in "oolala" The "da" like when a child calls for their father "dada" and the "la' sounds like you are sings "la la la." It's pronounced "oo-da-la."

Euskara - the Basque language: K-A-R-A is like if you were saying the word "car" but when you got to the "R" you immediately started saying "ra." Think of the Boney M song "Ra Ra Rasputin." So it sounds like ca-ra. In full its "A-ose-ca-ra."

Ertzaintza - provincial police: The E-R sounds like the word "air" but you rrrroll the Rrrr. The T-Z-A-I-N starts with a soft "t" and then into the word "China" but stops before you get to the "a." Then the Z-A makes a sa sound. Think of the first syllable of the word salivate. Put it together and it sounds like "airrt-chin-sa"

Udaltzaingoa - city police: The U makes a oo sound, as in "oolala" The D-A-L sounds like the first half of the city Dallas. Dal-las. The Z-A-I-N is said as one syllable but it's broken down into two sections. The Z-A makes a "ch" sound while the second half of the A and the I-N sounds like the ein in the surname Einstein. The G-O sounds like the word go. And the A makes an "ah" sound. In full it sounds "Oo-dal-chein-go-a."

Basque is a very interesting language that sounds really cool when you hear it. The way that it's structured and the flow of the sentences are special. Try out these few words for now and we will add more vocabulary in the next edition of Speaking Basque.

Keep Exploring...

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