; euskara [eus̺ˈkaɾa]
) is a language spoken in the Basque Country
, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees
in adjacent parts of northern Spain
and southwestern France
. Linguistically, Basque is unrelated to the other languages of Europe and is a language isolate
to any other known living language. The Basques are indigenous to, and primarily inhabit, the Basque Country. The Basque language is spoken by 28.4% (751,500) of Basques in all territories. Of these, 93.2% (700,300) are in the Spanish area of the Basque Country and the remaining 6.8% (51,200) are in the French portion.
Native speakers live in a contiguous area that includes parts of four Spanish provinces and the three "ancient provinces"
in France. Gipuzkoa
, most of Biscay
, a few municipalities of Álava
, and the northern area of Navarre
formed the core of the remaining Basque-speaking area before measures were introduced in the 1980s to strengthen the language. By contrast, most of Álava, the western part of Biscay and central and southern areas of Navarre are predominantly populated by native speakers of Spanish, either because Basque was replaced
by Spanish over the centuries, in some areas (most of Álava and central Navarre), or because it was possibly never spoken there, in other areas (parts of the Enkarterri
and southeastern Navarre). Read more...