each life




Each year on December 3rd, the people of the Basque Country come together to celebrate International Day of the Basque Language. 


Five facts about the Basque Language

  1. Basque, or Euskera is the oldest living language in Europe.
  2. It is spoken in Spain and in France, as the Basque region spreads across the border to both sides of the Pyrenees.
  3. Basque is a language isolate, meaning it has no known historical or linguistic relationship with any other language. Easy to learn, right?
  4. Speakers of Basque are Euskaldunak.
  5. All road signs and place names are written in Basque and Castilian Spanish. Often the Basque version is very different, for example: Donostia – San Sebastian. 

20 useful Basque phrases to impress the locals

  • Kaixo – Hello
  • Agur – Goodbye
  • Zer moduz? – How are you?
  • Ondo, eskerrik asko – Fine, thank you
  • Eskerrik asko – Thank you
  • Aspaldiko! – Long time no see
  • Ez horregatik – You’re welcome
  • Zein da zure izena? – What’s your name?
  • Nire izena (Alice) da – My name is (Alice)
  • Ingelesez hitzegiten al duzu? – Do you speak English?
  • Piska bat – Just a little
  • Barkatu! – Sorry!
  • Ez dut ulertzen -I don’t understand
  • Laguntza! – Help
  • Bai – Yes
  • Ez – No
  • Gabon – Good night
  • Gero arte – See you soon
  • Zorionak! – Happy Birthday! (This can also be used for Congratulations)
  • Gabon zoriontsua! – Merry Christmas!

On Friday my school took part in early celebrations, including speeches from the children, dance performances and traditional songs in Basque. As the school is a Basque primary school, Euskera is the go-to language for conversations around the school, lessons and breaktimes. Although for me it’s extremely difficult to pick up on conversations unless someone gives me a Spanish translation, it is great to see such an old language still so widely-spoken, and even cooler to see it being passed on with such passion to the next generation.

Eskerrik asko for reading!



3 thoughts on “Kaixo!”

  1. Fantastic read… I have lived in Gipuzkoa for 3 months now and Im in love with Basque culture. My partner speaks fluent Basque but Im only learning Spanish for the minute…. I hope you stay warm for the next week its going to get cold xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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