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Note 13: The Word Farmhouse
by Larry Trask
|Larry Trask, a world expert on Basque linguistics and the history of the Basque language, passed away on March 28, 2004. Larry contributed extensively to several online communities, including Basque-L and the Indoeuropean list. This collection of his postings is dedicated in his memory.|
To learn about Larry, see this article.
In the south, the usual word for 'farmhouse' is <baserri>, which
is of course a compound of <baso> 'woods, wilderness' and <herri>
'inhabited place'. But the northerners use a different word:
Well, the original sense of <borda> was merely 'hut'. This word
was borrowed from Gascon <borde> 'hut', and applied by the
northerners to the shepherd's hut occupied by a shepherd during
the summer months in the high pastures -- what many southerners call
But, during the 17th and 18th centuries, there was something of
a population boom in the north. A shortage of farms therefore
developed, and the solution the northerners found was to convert
some of the high pastures into new farms. When this was done,
the existing <bordak> served as the nuclei of new farmhouses,
and the sense of <borda> accordingly shifted from 'shepherd's hut'
to 'farmhouse'. This is the reason for the frequency of the
surname <Bordaberri> in the north.
In some places, <borda> is used in the different sense of a kind
of shelter or enclosure for animals.
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