Basque language: come and discover the oldest living language in Europe
Euskara or Basque language is spoken by 800 000 people, within a region that comprises the Basque Autonomous Region, Navarre and the French Pyrénées Atlantiques area.
Leaving its unknown origin aside, the first written references date back to the 16th century, although there are terms and expressions that date from previous centuries.
Nowadays, citizens and public and private administrations work actively in ensuring the survival of the language.
This article will offer a series of tools to approach and get in touch with this European language.
Organisations like Euskaltzaindia, the Basque Language Academy (http://www.euskaltzaindia.com/index.php?lang=es) or Office Public de la Langue Basque (http://www.mintzaira.fr/) aim to protect the linguistic values of Basque language. Etxepare Basque Institute (http://www.etxepareinstitutua.net/) develops a very active role in sharing this heritage worldwide.
Many international centres and universities offer the opportunity to learn Basque. Many universities in Europe and Americas have professorships and lecturers on Basque culture and language. This map from Etxepare Institute’s website shows all the universities that offer some kind of training on Basque language:
For face-to-face learning, you can head to a wide network of training centres (euskaltegi—academies, or barnetegi—boarding schools). They offer face-to-face courses to students in the whole Basque Country. These courses have different durations, as you can choose among intensive programmes, summer programmes, or full-year courses. Besides, you can find courses in Basque Centres or Euskal Etxea, in a wide variety of countries around the world.
The following browser offers information on the location of these language schools:
You can also find recognised Official Language Schools, both inside and outside the Basque Country.
If you feel encouraged to learn the language by youself, new technologies can bring the possibility to plunge into Basque without moving from home. We can recommend these platforms, among others:
Written by Eurodesk Qualified Multiplier, Gobierno Vasco.