Thursday, January 17, 2008

1,400 Generations Speaking Basque

We want to thank Javier for sharing this important information from National Geographic regarding Euskara, the Basque language.

Here you have it:

Basque Language

Dates about 35,000 years ago

Type Culture

The Basques live in the rugged Pyrenees Mountains of north central Spain and southwestern France. Their distinct language which they call Euskara is one of the world's oldest documented languages and one of the few non-Indo-European tongues spoken in Europe. Thought it is spoken by only 600,000-700,000 people, Euskara has been the subject of much linguistic study.

The language has a number of distinct dialects and a rather sparse written history. Some linguists have tried to link the tongue to languages of the Caucasus region of Georgia and Russia, or to ancient languages of Spain and/or Italy. But most experts consider Euskara to be a language isolate with no extant relatives. A related theory suggests that the Basque language is an ancient remnant of an ancient Cro-Magnon tongue which has subsequently evolved isolation over the ages.

The Basque language's realm has been steadily shrinking since the Middle Ages, but recent efforts have spurred hope of rejuvenation among younger generations.

Javier actually did the math and he came up with an amazing figure, there has been 1,400 generations of Basque speakers to date, that is a bit of data that Basque-phobes like Keith Johnson should consider before launching themselves into a self righteous crusade against a unique jewel in humankind's cultural heritage.

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