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EUSKARA - The Language of the Basque People

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Author Topic: EUSKARA - The Language of the Basque People  (Read 2518 times)
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« on: November 28, 2008, 09:01:20 am »


              Location of the Basque provinces
              within Spain and France

History and classification

Geographically surrounded by Indo-European languages, Basque is classified as a language isolate, the last remaining pre-Indo-European language in Europe.  Consequently its prehistory may not be reconstructible by
means of the comparative method except by applying it to language internal dialectal differences.

Little is known of its origins but it is likely that an early form of the Basque language was present in Western Europe before the arrival of the Indo-European languages to the area.

Latin inscriptions in Aquitania preserve a number of words with cognates in proto-Basque, for instance the personal names Nescato and Cison (neskato and gizon mean "young girl" and "man" respectively in modern Basque). This proposed language is called "Aquitanian" and was presumably spoken before the Romans brought Latin to the western Pyrenees. Roman neglect of this hinterland allowed Aquitanian Basque to survive while the Iberian and Tartessian languages died out. Basque did come to acquire some Latin vocabulary, both before and after the Latin of the area developed into Gascon (a branch of Occitan) in the northeast, Aragonese in the southeast, and Spanish in the southwest.

In June 2006, Montserrat Rius at the site of Iruņa-Veleia claimed to find an epigraphic set with a series of 270 Basque inscriptions and drawings from the third century.  Some of the words and phrases found were remarkably similar to modern Basque and, therefore, were hailed as the first written evidence of Basque. However the whole finding has come under serious question, even to the point of tarnishing Rius's scholarly pedigree. Recently, after an independent team assessed the so-called evidence and concluded that it was false, the suspicion of an archaeological forgery has widespread.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2008, 09:04:19 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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