The Basque language, or Euskera , is a language that is spoken throughout the Basque Country and regions in Northern Spain and Southwestern France – what the Basque people refer to as Euskal Herria. Linguistically, and this is amazing, Euskera is a language isolate. This means that it does not descend from an ancestor common with any other language in the world! Indeed, some locals have boasted that Adam and Eve spoke Euskera in the Garden of Eden!
However, and for different reasons, the use of of Euskera gradually diminished over the modern era and it wasn’t until the late 19th century and early 20th century with the rise of Basque nationalism when this trend was reversed. This rediscovered interest in Euskera as a sign of Basque cultural identity would continue all the way up to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
After more than 35 years of repressive policies during the fascist regime in Spain (1939 – 1975), Euskera has had an impressive resurgence and is now actively taught, promoted and spoken throughout the Basque regions in Spain and France. Indeed, around 40% of all the Basque speak fluent Euskera and around 25% use it over other languages.
Euskera is now one of the four official languages in Spain. The Basque alphabet uses the Latin script.
To see the drastic difference between Spanish and English, here’s the translation of the above phrases:
Kaixo = Hola / Hello
Zer moduz? = Como estás? / How are you?
Egon ona pasa! = Qué tengas un buen día! / Have a good day!
Eskerrik Asko = Muchas gracias / Thank you
Ondo Ibili! = Buen Camino! / Have a Good Walk!
The Fresco Tours main office is in Bilbao, the Basque Country’s largest city and we hope to see you soon – Agur (adios)!