Basque is a language that does not belong to any known language family, i.e. it is a genetically isolated language. It is present in Euskal Herria, the European territory on both sides of the Pyrenees that uses the language.

It is one of the official languages of Spain and the Royal Academy of the Basque Language regulates it. This is an institution that researches, formulates grammatical laws and protects the rights of the language.

Its origin has always been a mystery that has given rise to various theories. The Etxepare Euskal Institutua argues that the only possible hypothesis is that it is related to Aquitanian, a language of south-western France.

However, the Complutense University of Madrid carried out a study on the language and reached several conclusions. One of the conclusions was that it the oldest language in Europe and that it came from the African country of Mali, where Dogon was spoken. They found more than 70% of coincidences making a lexical contrast between both languages.


Basque is an ergative and agglutinative language. The nominal syntagm has a different structure to the nominal syntagms of Indo-European languages. In these syntagms, certain articles, demonstratives and some quantifiers go after the noun. However, other determiners, quantifiers, interrogatives and numerals can go before or after the noun depending on the dialect.

Adjectives follow the noun while preceding any article, determiner or quantifier. In Basque there are 12 grammatical cases and pronouns can be declined in any of these cases.

Furthermore, as far as syntax is concerned,  the main information of the sentence immediately precedes the verb. Emphasis is placed on the topic by placing it at the beginning of the sentence.

There are 5 dialects: Western, Central, Navarrese, Navarrese-Labortian and Souletin. There used to be two other dialects, Alavic and Roncalese, but these have been extinct for years. Unlike other languages such as Estonian, its dialects have their own grammar, lexicon and phonetics, so they are not mutually intelligible.


Basque has more of a national than international importance due to its small size. However, it has influenced Castilian, especially in its phonology and vocabulary, and has therefore had an international impact.

Likewise, it plays a fundamental role in the cultural identity of the Basque people, especially in relation to nationalism. It emerged after the defeat of the Carlists in the Third Carlist War at the end of the 19th century. It is a set of political ideologies that defend the national character of the Basques of Euskal Herria as a political subject with the right to self-determination, sometimes independence from Spain and France.

One of the basic pillars of Basque nationalism is the language, Basque. Therefore, this element is not only a means of communication, but it is also a means of representation of a people that may or may not feel part of a larger one, such as the Spanish or the French.

Although the importance of Basque is above all national, the mystery of its origins means that interest in researching this language reaches all corners of the planet. According to UNESCO, although research on the language is progressing, it does not have an impact on its use, but it helps its promulgation.



In the past, the area of influence of the Basque language was wider than it is today, which today mainly covers the Basque Country, including the French Basque Country (Iparralde), and Navarre. It is easy to find toponyms of Basque origin in La Rioja, and other neighbouring areas. These place names date from times when the Basque language was more widespread.

It is a fundamental element of Basque culture, is the language of public administration, and is taught at all levels of compulsory education in the Basque Country. The uncertainty about its exact origin, added to the large number of emigrants, means that the interest in learning and researching this language reaches all corners of the planet. 


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Basque sworn translation

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