New stats on how many Basque people actually speak Basque / Euskara

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last week an article came out on a new survey on the Basque language and how it's been faring over the past few years. And the news is good:

In this population group, a distinction is made in terms of their level of knowledge between: 775.000 Basque speakers –who understand and speak Basque well– and 459.000 almost-Basque-speakers, with a good or medium level of comprehension but with difficulties when speaking.
Basque speakers increased by 118,000 people with respect to 2001, whereas the number of almost-Basque speakers decreased by 11,000.
Then per territory:
If an analysis is made of Basque speakers per territory, Gipuzkoa maintains itself in 2006 as the first territory with a majority of the population speaking Basque, totalling 52.9%, followed by Bizkaia with 31,3% and Alava with 25.1%.
On the other hand, with respect to 2001, Alava turned out to be the territory with the biggest increase in Basque speakers, 8.9%, followed by Bizkaia with 6.4% and Gipuzkoa with 1.5%.
Here are there respective locations if you're curious. First Gipuzkoa:

Then Bizkaia:
And Alava:

This is very good news for me because I plan to learn Basque eventually and it's depressing when a language you want to learn (Blackfoot for example, the native language from the area where I grew up) is slowly dying. That doesn't seem to be the case with Basque. An extra 100,000+ speakers over five years is not too shabby. We IAL advocates would love an increase of that magnitude.

Sample of Basque:

Barack Hussein Obama Jr. (Honolulu, Hawai, AEB, 1961ko abuztuaren 4a - ) Hawain jaiotzako politikari estatubatuarra da. Gaur egun Illinois estatuko Senadorea da. AEBtako Senatuko bosgarren legelari beltza da eta hirugarrena berreraikuntzatik. Ameriketako Estatu Batuetako Alderdi Demokratak izan duen bigarren senatari beltza da. 2007an Ameriketako Estatu Batuetako presidente izateko hautagaitza aurkeztu zuen eta Hillary Clintonekin lehiatu zen Alderdi Demokrataren ordezkari izatea hauteskundetan. 2008ko ekainaren 5ean primariak irabazi zituen eta hautagaia izateko aukera guztiak irabazi zituen. John McCainen aurkako lehian aukeratua izatekotan AEBko lehenengo presidente afroamerikarra izango litzateke.


Unknown said...

Just last week, I borrowed Spanish learning materials from the local library. The author of "Colloquial Spanish" is Untza Otaola Alday, currently residing in UK. It turns out that she is Basque. Thus, I was introduced to a little information about the Basque country, and I at least learned the name of their language "euskera". I listen to the CD in my car during my commute to work.

Anonymous said...

Hey, although I'm a software developer, I love everything about languages too. Came here through reddit, your post on Norwegian, and the one on "misconceptions". I can't speak nearly as many languages as you (!), but I am a native basque Speaker (and I learned quite a bit of Esperanto too at some point), so drop me a line if you need any help or would like some comment about Basque. I'm leaving the URL of my blog below (about software, the vi editor, etc...) where you can find a contact email address (couldn't find one on your site).

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