buber.net > Basque > Euskara > Basque Language
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Basque, or Euskara, is a language spoken by about a
people in northern Spain and southwestern France. Although attempts
have been made to link it to ancient Iberian, the Hamito-Semitic
group, and Caucasian, its origins remain uncertain.
The sound pattern resembles that of Spanish, with its five pure
vowels and such peculiarities as a trilled r and palatal n and l.
In spite of this, and the presence of numerous Latinate loanwords,
Basque has maintained its distinctiveness throughout two
millennia of external contacts. For example, it still places a
unique emphasis on suffixes to denote case and number and to form
Basque is the only language remaining of those spoken in
southwestern Europe before the Roman conquest. Since the 10th
century, it has gradually been supplanted by Castilian Spanish, and
under the Franco regime its use in Spain was outlawed altogether.
The ethnic insularity of the Basques, however, has fostered
revivals. Attempts are now being made to standardize the
Biblio: Bibliography: Russell, H., et al., Basque Essay (1974);
Tovar, Antonio, The Basque Language (1957); Vallie, F.,
Literature of the Basques (1974).
Copyright notice: Copyright by Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc.
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