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Basque phonetics site

:: Genetics ::


Basque is at present one of the non-Indo-European languages of Europe, and thus, one of the oldest ones. This fact has always awakened the curiosity and interest of linguists all over the world who have studied it and tried to classify it. Despite numerous attempts, an adequate classification of this language has not yet been achieved, and nor has it been possible to include it in one of the established linguistic groups:

basque - iberian
hamitic - semitic

Therefore, it can be stated that both the origin of Basque and its possible genetic relations with other languages remain obscure.

basque - iberian

For centuries the hypothesis has been defended that another old and non-Indo-European peninsular language, the Iberian language, was related to Basque. The geographical closeness and the established similarities on all linguistic levels lead to that conclusion. However, the most rigorous interpretations of the Iberian semi-alphabet have demonstrated that erroneous readings had been made in the previous works. The defenders of this theory lost credibility when it is proved impossible to understand Iberian inscriptions using Basque as a medium.

hamitic - semitic

The theory which related Basque to Hamitic languages, and especially to the Berber dialect, also had many supporters. Some similarities in morphology, lexicon and the application of the chronological method to the lexicon, allowed researches to cherish some hope in this hypothesis. However, the most outstanding and pertinent features of the language are too different to include the Basque language in this group in any way.


Another theory that has been widely accepted is the Basque-Caucasian one. Numerous similarities came to be established between Basque and the languages of the Caucasus. Later on, it was demonstrated that the used methodology was not correct, because the Basque linguistic system was not compared with the concrete system of another language, but with a whole set of systems of the group. After that, the studies were oriented towards the comparison between Basque and the languages of the South-Caucasian group, and more specifically, with the Georgian language, but despite certain similarities or equivalences, not even this theory could demonstrate any kinship.

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