Euskara: (h)eldu

Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

Senior Member
English - U.S.
Kaixo! I am translating a Basque folk song I found in an old collection by R. M. de Azkue, and I'm not sure what to make of the word eldu in the opening phrase. The song is an epithalamium (wedding poem) and starts this way:

Emen eldu naiz, bainan beldur naiz
atsekabeak izain ditudala maiz.
Etše tšar bat inen dugu, iratzez eta maltzoz ...

I ???? here, but I am afraid
that I will often have sorrows.
We will make a little house, of ferns and (bundles of) rushes ...​

Dictionaries give at least two meanings for (h)eldu that seem to me plausible in this context.
  1. "Arrive", so that emen eldu naiz would mean "I (have) arrived here" (or "I am coming here", since some dialects treat heldu as a present participle). I don't know if it makes sense to arrive hemen, though, instead of hona (I've seen heldu "come" used with allative nouns, but I don't know if inessives are ruled out).
  2. "Mature", so that emen eldu naiz could mean "I grew up/have grown up here".
Are both of these in fact possible? Is either of them better than the other? (Are there other possibilities I haven't considered?)

Thanks for any help you can provide.

(P.S. I have a copy of Azkue's own Basque/Spanish/French dictionary, and one other definition of (h)eldu caught my eye: pertenecer, appartenir, i.e., "belong". But this is specifically cited as a Low Navarrese form and should be spelled heldu, unless Azkue has regularized his song texts to conform to a dialect without aspiration.)
  • jazyk

    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    I'm not sure, but I agree with you in point 1 that heldu as arrive should be followed by hona, which implies movement, like archaic English hither, not by hemen, which is static. On the other hand, I'm thinking whether hazi wouldn't be a better equivalent of the verb to grow up. Couldn't (h)eldu there be interpreted as an adjective (or even a noun) meaning ripe, adult, grownup or mature, or even sensible, prudent (look here) and naiz there be simply the verb to be in the first person singular? Anyway, this interpretation wouldn't be too far away from grow up as a verb.


    Senior Member
    Brazílie, portugalština
    You have a point there. Unfortunately I don't have anything else to say in this regard.