Thursday, June 12, 2008

Learning Euskara (Basque)

This interview comes to us thanks to EITb:

Basques around the world

Exclusive interview

Learning Basque is worth every hour of stress


John Cortabitarte, Annie and Alaina Gavica, three US students of Basque heritage, decided to come to the Basque Country for a few weeks to study the language of their ancestors. It is hard but it is worthy, they say.

"It is worth every hour of stress, learning Basque is worthy", says Annie Gavica, one of the three American students studying Basque at the Maizpide barnetegia, a school devoted to teaching Basque to adults in the Basque town of Lazkao.

John Cortabitarte, Annie and Alaina Gavica, the three of them from the US town of Boise, of Basque heritage and students at the Boise State University did not hesitate when given the chance to spend some weeks in the Basque Country. The following is the exclusive interview for the Basque news and information channel

Three Americans in Lazkao, in the Basque Country, studying Basque. How is it possible? Why does this happen?

Annie: We are currently studying Basque at the university in Boise, Boise State University, and we finished with the second year of Basque and so, we wanted it to continue and there wasn't any classes offered so were offered the chance to come to Lazkao for a short period of time, three weeks, two and half actually, and study Basque so we took it.

You are interested in Basque, because you are Basque-Americans?

John: Yes, of course.
Annie: Our families are all from here, at some point, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents.
John: My grandfather.

Is it your first time in the Basque Country? Are you having a good time?

John: It has been my first time, they have been here before but we are having a really good time.
Alaina: It's been a lot of fun and everybody has been super-nice and helps us with our Basque even though we struggle sometimes, but everyone has been great.

I read in the facebook that you didn't have any problem when you arrived to the airport, that everybody tried to help…

Annie: Yes, everyone spoke Spanish, or English, or whatever they could to try to help us because we had trouble with our bags at first, but it all got taken care of quickly, everyone has been very nice.

How is it being the learning of the Basque language? Is it difficult?

Alaina, Annie, John: Yes, it is very difficult
Annie: Very difficult but I think something we all really, really want to do so, we are trying extra hard.
Alaina: It's got a little easier since we've been here because everyone has kind of helped us out a little bit but it is difficult.

So, I imagine that when you go back to Boise, your level of Basque is going to be much better that the people's from your class.

Alaina: Yes, I hope so
Annie: We hope so

John: Yes, just like hearing it all the time helps a lot. Starting to understand words when people talk, getting used to like how fast everyone talks, because in Boise it is always slow and you can always ask questions, here you just kind of have to understand.

The fact that the dollar is so weak with respect to the euro, is it affecting you?

Annie: A little, it is more expensive to buy things here, just everyday things. However, a lot of things are cheaper here, like food, for example, is cheaper, so, it kind of evens out but other things, like souvenirs and things, are a little bit more expensive.

And now, just before we finish, if you want just to send a message to your friends from the university, from Boise…

John: We are having a really good time, if you get the chance to come you should, we're learning a lot of Basque and everybody is really nice and having a good time.
Annie: And it is worth every hour of stress, learning Basque is worthy, I'm enjoying it very much
Alaina: Definitely, come if you can.

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