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Family transmission of Basque language (Basque as initial language)
Percentage of students registered in Basque language schools (2000–2005).
Location of the Basque-language provinces within Spain and France

Basque (Basque: Euskara{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}, IPA: [eus̺ˈkaɾa]) is a language isolate<ref>Mughal, Muhammad Aurang Zeb. 2012. Spain. Steven L. Denver (ed.), Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues, Vol. 3. Armonk, NY: M .E. Sharpe, pp. 674–675.</ref> ancestral to the Basque people. The Basque are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country, a region that spans the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of northern Spain and southwestern France. The Basque language is spoken by 27% of Basques in all territories (714,136 out of 2,648,998).<ref name="VInkesta"/> Of these, 663,035 are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 51,100 are in the French portion.<ref name=VInkesta/>

Native speakers live in a contiguous area that includes parts of four Spanish territories and the three "ancient provinces" in France. Gipuzkoa, most of Biscay, a few municipalities of Álava, and the northern area of Navarre formed the core of the remaining Basque-speaking area before measures were introduced in the 1980s to strengthen the language. By contrast, most of Álava, the western part of Biscay and central and southern areas of Navarre are predominantly populated by native speakers of Spanish, either because Basque was replaced by Spanish over the centuries, in some areas (most of Álava and central Navarre), or because it was possibly never spoken there, in other areas (Encartaciones and southeastern Navarre).

Besides its standardised version, the five historic Basque dialects are Bizkaian, Gipuzkoan, and Upper Navarrese in Spain, and Navarrese–Lapurdian and Zuberoan in France.

Under Restorationist and Francoist Spain, public use of Basque was frowned upon, often regarded as a sign of separatism;<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> this applied especially to those regions that did not support Franco's uprising (such as Biscay or Guipuzcoa). However, in those Basque-speaking regions that supported the uprising (such as Navarre or Álava) the Basque language was more than merely tolerated. Overall, in the 1960s and later, the trend reversed and education and publishing in Basque began to flourish.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> As a part of this process, a standardized form of the Basque language, called Euskara Batua, was developed by the Basque Language Academy in the late 1960s.

They take their names from the historic Basque provinces, but the dialect boundaries are not congruent with province boundaries. Euskara Batua was created so that Basque language could be used—and easily understood by all Basque speakers—in formal situations (education, mass media, literature), and this is its main use today. In both Spain and France, the use of Basque for education varies from region to region and from school to school.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

A language isolate, Basque is believed one of the few surviving pre-Indo-European languages in Europe, and the only one in Western Europe. The language's origins are not conclusively known, though the most accepted current theory is that early forms of Basque developed prior to the arrival of Indo-European languages in the area, including the Romance languages that geographically surround the Basque-speaking region. Basque has adopted a good deal of its vocabulary from the Romance languages, and Basque speakers have in turn lent their own words to Romance speakers. The Basque alphabet uses the Latin script.


Basque language sections
Intro  Names of the language  History and classification  Geographic distribution  Grammar  Phonology  Vocabulary  Writing system  Examples  See also   Notes    Further reading   External links  

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