Basque: verb conjugations

utopia

Senior Member
Israel, Hebrew
In Baque you have usually periphrastic verbs i.e. you have one part of the verb that is the lexical part (the meaning) and one part with the inflected form - past, present, conditional etc.

Another thing you must remember - Basque language is an ergative language, putting it in a simpler way, it has no conventional (as in European languages and Semitic languages) passive. Thus - "The boy saw the dog" would be a little bit different - the dog would have the nominative (absolutive) case and the child the ergative case (involved).

An example from a basque learning site:

Mirenek Patxi ikus d-eza-ke
Miren-E Patxi-A see him-root-mod
'Miren can see Patxi'

Now, the verb is conjugated as I mentioned (the inflected part) in accordance with the ergative + absolutive + dative (if there is) + the verb root + plural (if there is) all in one package!!!!


The problem is the apparent inconsistancy that exists in the inflection: past and present have different roots and different prefexes and suffixes and infixes!!!


Nik liburuak irakurri d-it-u-t
I-E book-detpl read it-pl-have-me
'I have read (the) books'



Nik liburuak irakurri n-it-u-en
I-E book-detpl read me-pl-have-past
'I read (the) books'


zuk guri lore bat ekarri d-i-gu-zu
you-E we-D flower one brought it-have-us-you
'you have brought us one flower'



zuk guri lore bat ekarri z-en-i-gu-n
you-E we-D flower one brought you-have-us-past
'you brought us one flower'


It's very hard to remember this. How does a Basque speaker remembers it?

And of course I'd like an answer from a Basque apeaker please, if there is one in this forum. Thanks!
 
  • haujavi

    Member
    Spain, spanish
    Utopia, there is one Basque Speaker here. Me.

    I understand that it seem difficult but in the end is not so difficult. In fact there are only a few irregular verbs in Basque, so you only have to learn a few auxiliar forms. The main verb has only infinitive and four forms, for example:

    ikus (study) infinitive
    ikus-i (form for the past)
    ikus-ten (form for the continuous)
    ikus-iko (form for the future and some kind of conditionals and subjuntive)

    So it's not so hard!! Besides most of the grammar and the phonetic is basically regular. The declination of the verbs are the main topic in studying Basque. But each language has its complicated aspect, as phonetic(for me) of English or the prepositions of German.

    If you have more questions, ask. By the way, I've almost forgotten the grammar slang(for god sake what is an ergative?) in my own language. That's why I couldn't answer in explanations as good as yours.
     

    utopia

    Senior Member
    Israel, Hebrew
    Thanks to both of you.

    I do have another question in Basque, that is about pronounciation. I think I've heard on Euskal Irratia that (might be in one or more of the dialects spoken) tthey pronounce Z and J as in spanish (th, ch) can you confirm this to me?

    Thanks again in advance!
     

    Fernando

    Senior Member
    Spain, Spanish
    I think you are right, but I can not speak Basque. I am only based in hearing Basque-speaking people and the use of Basque toponyms (Zarautz).

    Please, note that J in Spanish (Basque?) is like a strongly inspired h (as in ham, but very strong). In English is used to be written as 'kh'.

    Await for haujavi or other Basque-speaking forum member.
     

    haujavi

    Member
    Spain, spanish
    Well, as you say it depends on the dialect. Most sounds are spoken as in spanish, but there are some that difer depending on the dialect and the words. The "J" is pronounced in two ways. As a J in spanish in some parts of the Basque country, in "Bizkaiera"(the dialect spoken in Bizkaia). However the pronunciation that is learnt at the school is the sound "Y" in Spanish, which I think is very similar in English.

    For example, I'd pronounce the J of "Joan(to go)" like a Y and the J of "Jarri(to put)" as a J.

    The "Z" is pronounced more or less as a spanish "S". Maybe with the toponims it difer but I think that, again, it depends on the zone and the influence of spanish. I've always called Zarautz with Z, but I'll say with a "S" the words Zorionak(congratulations) Zergatik(why) iZan(to be)...

    Another different sound from the spanish is the sound of the TZ or TS, which doen'st exist in spanish, and is more or less pronounced as a spanish "CH".

    By the way, on the radio(although I've not listen to it normally) they try to speak in "Euskera Batua", the way i'ts taught at the school. However, I've listen to speakers speaking in the dialects way.

    However a Basque speaker(form whichever dialect or Basque standard) can understand almost without problems the different dialects.

    I hope I've explained it well. If not, please tell me.
     

    AkErBeLtZ

    Member
    Euskara; Euskal Herria
    Well, as you say it depends on the dialect. Most sounds are spoken as in spanish, but there are some that difer depending on the dialect and the words. The "J" is pronounced in two ways. As a J in spanish in some parts of the Basque country, in "Bizkaiera"(the dialect spoken in Bizkaia). However the pronunciation that is learnt at the school is the sound "Y" in Spanish, which I think is very similar in English.

    For example, I'd pronounce the J of "Joan(to go)" like a Y and the J of "Jarri(to put)" as a J.

    The "Z" is pronounced more or less as a spanish "S". Maybe with the toponims it difer but I think that, again, it depends on the zone and the influence of spanish. I've always called Zarautz with Z, but I'll say with a "S" the words Zorionak(congratulations) Zergatik(why) iZan(to be)...

    Another different sound from the spanish is the sound of the TZ or TS, which doen'st exist in spanish, and is more or less pronounced as a spanish "CH".

    By the way, on the radio(although I've not listen to it normally) they try to speak in "Euskera Batua", the way i'ts taught at the school. However, I've listen to speakers speaking in the dialects way.

    However a Basque speaker(form whichever dialect or Basque standard) can understand almost without problems the different dialects.

    I hope I've explained it well. If not, please tell me.
    Oso azalpen ona ;)
    The pronunciation of the J depends on the region of the speaker; for instance, I'm from Bizkaia, I speak bizkaiera and I always pronounce it as a spanish Y. But I have some friends from Gipuzkoa that always pronounce it like a spanish J.
    With respect to the pronunciation of Z, S and X / TZ, TS and TX, there's to say that here in Bizkaia the difference between them has nearly desappeared. We do not pronounce them exactly the same, there's a small difference, but sure that in Gipuzkoa or Nafarroa they differentiate them much more.
     
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