Basque is the only pre-Indo-European language of western Europe. There are approximately 700. 000 speakers of Basque, almost all bilingual in Spanish or French. Dialectal diversity within Basque is not ancient, although virtually every valley or town has a recognizable local variety. Euskara batua (unified Basque) has been enormously successful. A remarkable aspect of the phonemic inventory is a contrast between two voiceless sibilants, lamino-alveolar z and apico-alveolar s, and two corresponding affricates. Marking of grammatical functions works on a strictly ergative basis. In its word order, Basque is basically a verb-final language.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language & Linguistics
EditorsKeith Brown
PublisherElsevier Science
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9780080448541
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aquitanian
  • Basque
  • Ergative
  • France
  • Iberian
  • Palatalization
  • Pitch accent
  • SOV
  • Spain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Basque'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this