Basic Basque Dictionary

Euskara language  book cover

Learning Euskara
One Word at a Time

Euskaraz badakizu?

Do you speak Basque?

The Basic Basque Dicionary is perfect for beginners just starting to learn the language. Simply stated, it is an introduction to Euskara. Suffice it to say, this is a good pocket beginners guide you handily can carry on your travels in your back pocket or backpack.

For English Speakers New to the Basque Language

Intended for English speakers, this English/Euskara dictionary shares common slang words and phrases that will help you communicate in everyday situations like ordering dinner in a restaurant, shopping at the mercado for bacalao or fresh produce, flirting, getting street directions, or hiring a taxi. No matter whether traveling to the Basque Country as a tourist, or with the intention of moving there as an expatriate, this guide will serve you well. That said, be advised this little book is neither a complete course in learning the Basque or Spanish Languages. Neither is it a textbook.

Pintxos is the Euskara word for Tapas

In Part One, from A to Z, this handy, little dictionary lists words in English along with their Basque translation. Then in part two, vocabulary is listed in groups to make them easy to find, ie: Colours, animals, places, food, flavours, days of the week, weather and people and so on. Modern Basque is spoken by about a half million people in Euskal Herria, a region spanning the Spanish/French border, that encompasses four provinces in Spain and three in France. In Bilbao, because of the city’s size and diversity, one mainly hears Spanish. That said, some Basque words and phrases like, Kaixo, Agur and Eskerrik asko, are more frequently spoken than their Spanish counterparts. But mere miles away in smaller villages, Basque/Euskara is the first language.

The Basque word for seafood: Itsaski
The Basque word for fish: Arrainak

Basque, the language of the Basques is the only remnant of the languages spoken in southwestern Europe before the region was Romanized in the 2nd through 1st century BCE. Linguistically Basque is unrelated any other languages in Europe, or elsewhere in the world. It is also important to note that Basque is not a Spanish dialect. In fact, it's a completely different language with no ties to Spanish besides a handful of loan words.

One reason for the continued revival of the Basque language is its widening use in media, including television and radio. Which means you can watch Basque language TV and read Euskara language newspapers online. Which further means, when you hear or read an unfamiliar Basque word you can look it up in this dictionary. Learning at least some of the language provides a glimpse into Basque social and family life.

A Sampling of Basque Vocabulary Basics

Agur – Goodbye
Aita – Dad
Ama - Mom
Arratsalde on - Good afternoon
Aupa – Howdy/hey
Bai – Yes
Bai ote? - Really?
Barkatu – Excuse me
Egun on – Good morning
Erdera - Any language other than Basque
Eskerrik asko – Thank you
Euskara - Basque
Ez – No
Gabon – Good evening/Good night
Geldi! - Stop
Hementxe! - Over / right here!
Kaixo – Hello
Lasai - Take it easy
Mesedez – Please
Ongi etorri – Welcome
Osaba - Uncle
Topa! - Cheers!
Zorte on! - Good luck

Besides a basic, Get-You-Started dictionary, in this book you will also find categories of word groups including but not limited to:

The Days of the Week
Telling the Time of Day
The Animal World

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Basque Vocabulary: Seafood
Basque Vocabulary: Basque words for kids
Basque Vocabulary: The Basque ABCs
Basque Vocabulary: Counting from 1 to 20 in Basque
Basque Vocabulary: Colours of the rainbow in Basque

About the Author

timothy p banse portrait

Travel writer Tim Banse was introduced to El Pais Vasco/Euskaldun, during a pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago. During the first days of this trek in the Basque Country, he came to know the people, places, food and culture. Smitten, he has come back numerous times to immerse himself in the language and lifestyle.

Book Details

Trade Paperback: 30 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0934523-45-5
Language: English/Euskara/Spanish
Book Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.4 ounces
Price $7.99

Intended for travelers, as opposed to academicians, this beginners guide can be stuffed in a back pocket or backpack. Finally, we use a large font to make the text eminently more readable.