Basque is an ancient language, for some one of the oldest in Europe, and its origin is unknown because it has no apparent relation to any of the neighbouring languages.
In the Lea-Artibai region, the majority of the population speaks Basque. In fact, we are one of the most “Basque-speaking” regions in the whole of the Basque Country. The Basque language has its own dialects, such as Biscayan, but in addition, each municipality in the region has its own dialect and characteristics. Thus we have a rich dictionary of terminology, highlighting the terminology linked to the rural world in inland municipalities and in the same way the terminology linked to the world of the sea in coastal municipalities.
The Basque language has always been important in the region, proof of which are the local writers such as Miren Agur Meabe or Kirmen Uribe. They are known for works such as “Errepidea” by Miren Agur Meabe with which she won the Euskadi Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature (2011) or Kirmen Uribe Bilbao-New York-Bilbao, which was awarded the Critics’ Prize (Narrative in Basque) in 2009, among others.
It is said that learning Basque is not easy. However, there are a number of terms that are very useful for surprising the locals in their mother tongue and communicating with them.
Some terms that are useful on a daily basis:
Ongi etorri: Welcome
Eskerrik asko: Thank you
Egunon: Good morning
Gabon: Good evening
Turismo Bulegoa: Tourist Office
Udaletxea: Town Hall
Udaltzaingoa: Municipal Police