Basque language

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Basque language, tongue of uncertain relationship spoken by close to a million people, most of whom live in NE Spain and some of whom reside in SW France. The language has eight dialects. Speakers of Basque are for the most part bilingual, and there are many Basques who do not speak the language. Basque is definitely not an Indo-European tongue. Some scholars believe it is descended from Aquitanian, which was spoken on the Iberian peninsula and in S Gaul in ancient times. Other linguists think Basque is akin to the Caucasian languages and suggest that its speakers came from Asia Minor to Spain and Gaul c.2000 BC However, no relationship between Basque and any other language has been established with certainty. The alphabet used for Basque employs Roman letters. The first printed book in Basque appeared in the 16th cent. Basque is both agglutinative and polysynthetic. In an agglutinative language, different linguistic elements, each of which exists separately and has a fixed meaning, are often joined to form one word. In a polysynthetic language, a number of word elements are joined together to form a composite word that functions like a sentence or phrase in Indo-European languages, but each element has meaning usually only as part of the sentence or phrase and not as a separate item.

See W. J. Entwistle, The Spanish Language, Together with Portuguese, Catalan, and Basque (2d ed. 1962).

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BasqueBasque, Monégasque •ask, bask, cask, flask, Krasnoyarsk, mask, masque, task •facemask •arabesque, burlesque, Dantesque, desk, grotesque, humoresque, Junoesque, Kafkaesque, Moresque, picaresque, picturesque, plateresque, Pythonesque, Romanesque, sculpturesque, statuesque •bisque, brisk, disc, disk, fisc, frisk, risk, whisk •laserdisc • obelisk • basilisk •odalisque • tamarisk • asterisk •mosque, Tosk •kiosk • Nynorsk • brusque •busk, dusk, husk, musk, rusk, tusk •subfusc • Novosibirsk •mollusc (US mollusk) • damask •Vitebsk •Aleksandrovsk, Sverdlovsk •Khabarovsk • Komsomolsk •Omsk, Tomsk •Gdansk, Murmansk, Saransk •Smolensk •Chelyabinsk, MinskDonetsk, Novokuznetsk •Irkutsk, Yakutsk

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Basque / bask/ • n. 1. a member of a people living in the Basque Country of France and Spain. Culturally one of the most distinct groups in Europe, the Basques were largely independent until the 19th century. 2. the language of this people, which has no known relation to any other language. • adj. of or relating to the Basques or their language.

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Basque a member of a people living in the Basque Country of France and Spain. Culturally one of the most distinct groups in Europe, the Basques were largely independent until the 19th century; the Basque separatist movement ETA is carrying on an armed struggle against the Spanish government. The Basque language is not known to be related to any other language.

The name comes via French from Latin Vasco, the same base as Gascon.