Basque: Europe’s Oldest and Most Unique Language

Pyrenees Mountains

The Basque language, also known as Euskara, is still spoken in the Basque region of Europe. The Basque region is located near the Pyrenees Mountains and consists of areas of northern Spain and southwestern France. It is known for its rich culture. 

Though the Basque language went through many trials and faced near-extinction, it is common today in the region and can be heard spoken aloud as well as on television and newspapers. In today’s blog post,  Akorbi discusses the history and use of the Basque language. 

Possibly Europe’s Oldest Language

Basque seems to pre-date Latin, but its origins are relatively unknown. It is unique in that it does not seem to be related to any other language in the area. No one is really sure how it developed or where it came from, and it is cherished by the Basque culture for its uniqueness.

It has miraculously thrived despite attempts by the Spanish dictator Gen Francisco Franco to have the language banned during his rule in the 1960s. There was a time when Basque could only be spoken in the home because you could be arrested for speaking it in public. This attempt to eradicate the language failed, however, and it continued to be used and preserved.

Basque is Thriving Today

Despite a rough history, the Basque community has fought to keep the language alive. Today it has over 700,000 speakers, and the number is growing. The regional government encourages the use of Basque and has online resources available for speakers. The Basque language is considered a very important part of Basque culture, and there are active efforts to keep the language going, like teaching the language in schools.

Related Post: Akorbi Explains: The Isolation of the Basque Language

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