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Basque
Article 17 Article 21



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Native Name: Euskara

Usage by Country
Officially Recognized Language: The Basque Provinces (Álava, Guipúzcoa, and Vizcaya) and northern area of the Autonomous Region of Navarra, official recognition in France as a regional language.

Background
The Basque language (or Euskara) is a non-Indo-European language whose origins and relationships with other languages are uncertain. Structural similarities with certain languages in Asia have been noted, but attempts to link it to ancient Iberian, the Hamito-Semitic group, Caucasian, and other languages have not succeeded. Hence, it must be still considered a completely isolated and independent language. On the other hand, it is theorized that it is a very ancient (possibly Neolithic) language. It is spoken by nearly 1 million people, chiefly in the Basque area both of Spain and France. In the Basque-speaking regions, all ages speak Basque as first or second language. Batua is a created variety using a unified orthography, used as the literary standard. It is based on Guipuzcoan, the central and most widely known dialect. There is a fair amount of inherent intelligibility among all regional varieties. Regional varieties are sometimes preferred for oral use, but in Spain there is also a fairly strong desire for the Batua unified standard. 'Euzkadi' is the name of the Basque region, not for the language.

Reprinted from www.unhchr.ch/udhr/