So, Not Enough Basque (Euskara) Understanding?

Spanish-related topics are always hot, and not just in Europe. Catalonian separation, economic turmoil, my eight-year old sporting a Barcelona football (soccer) shirt, it’s all happening.  Besides current events in the news, Spain itself is a country rich in history, culture, with a weighty past and present world influence, and a territory that offers language professionals and hobbyists plenty of scope for exploration and discussion.

One of the languages from that region, Basque (known as Euskara), just doesn’t seem to get enough coverage, in my opinion. Perhaps that’s because I worked briefly on a Basque localization project (for an early version of Microsoft Office as it happens) or because as an Irish person I feel some affinity for the Basque people, and how their culture and language fares as a coexistence project alongside with other, bigger European entities. Maybe it’s because the Basque language–Latin character-based and all as it is–just looks so intriguing when viewed beside other languages! Regardless, I think we’re missing out on something great by this omission of coverage.

So, let’s all explore the Basque language a little more, and see what lessons it holds for other language isolates or minor languages, their promotion, their adoption and usage, as well as how such languages play out on a bigger stage.

Thankfully, Moravia have done a fine job in helping us along the road to more understanding with their eye-catchingly titled blog post Did the aliens plant the Basque language? I learned a lot from that, and I know you will too, so check it out!

If you have other Basque language or culture-related sources, then add them to the comments.


Ultan Ó Broin
Ultan Ó Broin (@localization), is an independent UX consultant. With three decades of UX and L10n experience and outreach, he specializes in helping people ensure their global digital transformation makes sense culturally and also reflects how users behave locally. Any views expressed are his own. Especially the ones you agree with.

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