Basque: Txakoli, Txakolina

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winenous

Senior Member
English - British
There are three protected wine names that contain the word Txakolina - DO Getariako Txakolina, DO Bizkaiko Txakolina and DO Arabako Txakolina - but usually these wines seem all to be referred to as either Txakoli or Txakolina. As far as I can tell, Txakoli and Txakolina seems to be used when ordering the wine for example, and the word Txakoli sometimes also appears on the label in a large font.

I am interested in learning more about these words. What does Txakoli mean, for example? What is the difference between Txakoli and Txakolina, and why do they sometimes seem to be used interchangeably? Quite possibly the interchangeability of the words only exists in ignorant English usage.

I ask because I am a wine-lover, which explains my chosen forum name. Many thanks in advance
 
  • winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Thank you very much @AndrasBP. Don't know why I didn't find that Wikipedia article when I Googled

    It seemed to answer all my questions, assuming the article is authoritative. I tried chasing the references, as I often do when I am particularly interested in a fact, but as the dictionary was Basque it didn't help me much
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    Just let me add that those three certificates of origin you mentioned (DO Getariako Txakolina, DO Bizkaiko Txakolina and DO Arabako Txakolina) are genitive constructions in Basque, literally meaning 'Getaria-from Txakolin-the, Biscay-from Txakolin-the, Álava-from Txakolin-the', which is why the -a article is sort of mandatory.
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Thank you for adding that, @Penyafort.

    So despite the origin of the word Txakolin being unknown, can I assume it is just the name given to that style of wine from the Basque Country? In other words, it is more specific than "wine", but it cannot be directly translated as something like "light sharp wine", and it is not a explicitly a geographical term?
     
    Last edited:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The Basque for 'wine' is ardo. The Basque for that particular kind of wine is txakolin. The ending -a is the article, which can usually be translated as "the". I don't know of any phonetic reason why the final /n/ should be lost in either Spanish or Basque, but somehow the Spanish for this is chacolí, without the final /n/. The Basque variant txakoli almost looks like a reborrowing from Spanish - there's no reason I know of within (modern) Basque or Spanish to lose an /n/.

    Digression: in ancient times /n/ was lost between vowels, and ardo is an example; it was once *ardano, but historical records show the loss of /n/ must have happened before about 1000, so this can't be the explanation for the variation txakolin ~ txakoli.

    I can't pretend to enough knowledge of Basque to read all the entries in the Euskaltzaindia Hiztegia (Basque Academy Dictionary), but under txakolin they call it a kind of itsasaldean "coastal" wine.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    So despite the origin of the word Txakolin being unknown, can I assume it is just the name given to that style of wine from the Basque Country? In other words, it is more specific than "wine", but it cannot be directly translated as something like "light sharp wine", and it is not a explicitly a geographical term?
    As Entangledbank said, the word for wine in Basque is ardo, an old Basque word which, according to Trask, probably was *ardano in Old Basque and was sometimes used for other fermented beverages too.

    Txakolin is always seen as a type of wine.

    I don't know of any phonetic reason why the final /n/ should be lost in either Spanish or Basque, but somehow the Spanish for this is chacolí, without the final /n/.
    The reason could be simply analogical. In Spanish, endings in -í are much more common, while -ín is often interpreted as a diminutive.
     

    Ballenero

    Senior Member
    Spaniard
    Hi @winenous
    formerly "chacolí" was an adjective.
    A low quality wine was called "chacolí wine".
    Later this word became a noun.
    The main txakolí is from Guetaria, a small fishing and whaling town (on its shield there is a whale), where there are many restaurants that cook fish (freshly caught fish) on the grill, delicious! This town is the birthplace of J.S. Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the globe (he took command of the expedition when Magellan died in the Moluccas).
    I am from San Sebastián, a nearby city, famous for its beauty and gastronomy.
    You need to come to enjoy all this. We are waiting for you!
     

    winenous

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Hi @winenous
    formerly "chacolí" was an adjective.
    A low quality wine was called "chacolí wine".
    Later this word became a noun.
    Thank you. All that is intersting but I am a bit confused by what you said
    a) From what was said above chacholí is Spanish, not Basque. Did you mean txaxoli?
    b) Are you saying txaxoli was an adjective meaning low quality, which then became the noun for the low quality wine of the region?
    c) How does all this relate to the noun originally being txaxolin, as mentioned above?

    I have already visited San Sebastián, and drunk Txaxoli there in a bar. I guess it was a cheap wine, but it was deliciously refreshing. Over in the UK it seems to be too expensive, probably because it is a rarity here. But my visit was very brief, and I would love to return
     

    Ballenero

    Senior Member
    Spaniard
    a) Neither chacholí nor txaxolin. It's chacolí (dle) (spa.) or txakolin (basq.).

    b) Formerly with the bad grapes that were not worth to make good wine, they made the chacolí wine that they sold at a cheap price.
    Currently, txakoli or txakolin is a quality wine made with modern technology and knowledge.

    c) It seems that some form of the word txakoli already existed in Basque.
    From there he went to Spanish as a chacolí.
    In 1895, with the spelling reform of the Basque language, Sabino Arana proposed the current name of txakoli.

    I read all this here (euskonews.eus).
    A toast!
     
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