Basque language

non-Indo-European language isolate spoken by the Basque people in parts of modern-day France and Spain

Basque is a language isolate ancestral to the Basque people, who are indigenous to and mainly inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in north-eastern Spain and south-western France.


  • Cést un langage estrange que le Basque... On dit qu’ils s’entendent, je n’en croy rien.
    • Translation: Basque is really a strange language... It is said that they understand one another, but I don't believe any of it.[1]
    • Joseph Justus Scaliger, talking in 1604–1606.[2]


  1. Translated by Guy Deutscher, The Unfolding of Language (2005), epigraph to chapter 1.
  2. Quoted in Scaligerana (1666), p. 36. Scaligerana contains Scaliger's own words as written down by his friends, probably after their conversations, but is generally considered reliable (see Scaligerana at the Warburg Institute).

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