1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Duo goes to the Basque Countr…


Duo goes to the Basque Country!

After spending all day at the top-secret Duolingo labs in Pittsburgh putting the finishing touches on the Turkish course, Duo decided it was time for a holiday. But... where to go? duo
The word gaztelugatxe comes from the Basque words gaztelu (castle) and aitz (rock, crag), literally "Crag of the castle". Gaztelugatxe is connected to the mainland by a man-made bridge. There is a hermitage at the top of the island. Legend says that after climbing the 200+ steps you should ring the bell three times and make a wish. Duo, what do you wish for? duo
There are plenty of things to do in Bilbao, whether you're interested in the history of the Basque people (Euskal Museoa), want to visit some of the famous art museums (Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Art), feel like snapping some pictures of the ancient churches and cathedrals, some dating as far back as the 13th and 14th centuries (Santiago Cathedral, Church of San Antón, and Basilica of Begoña), want to visit the birthplace of Miguel de Unamuno, or just want to take a walk through the city's parks. There's also the big festival, Aste Nagusia (The Great Week, known as Semana Grande in Spanish), celebrated anually in the middle of August with lots of music, events, street theater, and fireworks. duo
Tradition puts the oldest "father" tree in the 14th century, possibly in 1334. The tree lived nearly 450 years until 1742. Since then three trees have replaced it, most recently in 2005, each grown from an acorn of its "father" tree. In 1937, Gernika was bombed by the German and Italian air forces. The Gernika Tree survived the attack and today remains a symbol of freedom and hope. duo
Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located in the Iparralde, the Northern ("French") part of the Basque Country. duo
Many supposed Basque witches met their demise under the Spanish inquisition's ruthless persecution of Basque witches.
So... Any final words, Duo?

If you'd like to see a Basque course here at Duolingo, please stop by our "Let's make Basque happen!" thread and show your support! And if you know anyone who might be interested in helping produce the course (most likely Basque-Spanish), please pass the word and have them get in touch with us.

Thanks for stopping by! Agur!

March 25, 2015



Thoroughly enjoyed it, thank you!


Have a look at these videos: some Basque words explained in 10 different languages (among other videos). http://www.euskaragara.net/orria/bideoak


Duo says, " I wish to be a Basque speaker!"

The interesting significance of this is that (according to wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basques ) the Basques traditionally defined themselves as a speech community, rather than an ethnicity formed by blood-lines.


Yeah, Basques have traditionally placed a lot of importance on their language. Even a foreigner who learns Basque can be considered an "euskalduna".


Euskalduna means "who has euskara"! :)


That was impressive! Bravo! :)


So cute <3 had to laugh when reading about Duo's sneaky second wish :D


Very beautiful! Thanks!


So beautiful! Thanks so much for this post! I enjoyed it!!! ^_^


Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Hopefully we can convince the Duo team to add Basque to the incubator.


I definitely enjoyed reading this story!


Thanks, it was a lot of fun to put together :)


Bai! Baii!

Euskal Herria bisi naiz!


Euskal Herrian bizi zara? Zein hiritan zaude? :)


Technically, I should have used the past tense but I've forgotten it.

And even then, it was a lie; I lived in Béarn just a few miles from the border ... but I had requested to be placed in the Basque Country as my first choice and I studied Basque back then at l'université des Pays de l'Adour, Pau campus.

And I spent so many weekends at the Basque coast; my girlfriend at the time lived in Donostia. I miss the gorgeous Basque Country a lot ... and I have fallen mostly into passive understanding ...

Where I DO live now though has a strong Basque connection. I live five hours drive from the ferry to St.-Pierre-et-Miquelon (which has the Basque flag as part of its flag) and when we leave Newfoundland (Ternua) to go to the rest of Canada, we depart from Port-aux-Basques and in Red Bay, Labrador, there is an ancient Basque whaling station.

Sorry for lying; I got over-exuberant in my excitement.

The true sentence is "Ternua bisi naiz"


Heh, i'm excited, too, though for the moment we're at a bit of a standstill until we find others willing to volunteer for the course. I hope one day you'll get the chance to pick your Basque back up, maybe you'll even be able to kick it off here at Duolingo :)

I'm hoping to be able to visit the Basque Country this summer or perhaps this fall, still making plans.


I was creating flashcards for myself at quizlet.com ... but I never got very far with it.


I've made some decks at Memrise for Basque, i've started one for the Ikasten course (though it's Spanish-Basque) and another for The Basque Language: A Practical Introduction (which i'd say is much more than an "introduction"). Check out Ikasten.net's Basque course in particular, it's really comprehensive and free, it has lots of audio and reading to go along with it, too. It's sort of like a less modern (less flashy) parla.cat, if you've checked that site out for Catalan. I think there's an English and French version of it, too. I've seen two people who've gone through the entire Ikasten course with no other study materials, and i'd say their Basque is pretty good, though i'm of course in no position to really judge... not yet at least! The course claims to take you through to B2, i'm currently working through the B1 part.


Great, very well-made! Also, it saves me a job with the photoshopping - you did it better than I would have. It has been added to the directory.


Ah, thanks! I didn't realize you had made the others, that's a lot of work! Also, if you're interested i can send you the trimmed owls (for Gimp) that i used with transparent background, though i guess by this time you've probably got your own arsenal of owls ;)


Actually I wouldn't mind if you could give me a link to those, thank you!


Alright, here you are:

I also included a vector graphics file that i found online, but i couldn't find a good way to handle them in Linux so i just converted them to a high resolution in GIMP. Hope it helps!


That's great, thank you. I think I have most of those, but there's a couple of new ones there.


Thanks, but I can't open it. Could you take a screenshot or something?


You mean the .7z file? Or the .xcf files inside? .xcf is the Gimp file format. I'll send you the .png files:


Aupa Athletic!


Thanks for this beautiful post, I have really enjoyed. :)


Not trying to blow my trumpet but didn't I suggest the idea of a Duo goes to in you let's make BAsque happen thread? BTW I love the unique style of the pictures


Heh, i originally got the idea from xavi_fr and anebz, but you suggesting it was just another push to get around to actually putting it together. Now i'm trying to figure out what the next step should be, i've sent a couple e-mails out and made a few posts in forums online, but apparently not in the right places ;)


Let's make Basque happen!


Buena iniciativa. Adelante!


Gràcies, Josep! (I moltes felicitacions pel streak de 1000 dies!)


Lovely story. Cute owl (So cute)


Me gustaria estudiar el Euskara en Duolingo!!


Ojalá un día muy pronto lo podrás hacer :)


Duolingon euskara ikasteko kurtso bat egitea zoragarria izango litzateke! Aupa euskaldunok eta gure hizkuntza! ;)


Bai, guztiz ados nago zurekin! Hemen euskara ikastea (eta irakastea) zoragarria izango litzateke.


Les presento a Jose Miguel Ramirez Giraldo es un poliglota colombiano que habla euskera fluido le he solicitado ayuda por youtube y correo electrónico. Es un campeón mirad pedazo de vídeo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TKPhTSkH88 :) Agur :)


Cada vez se van interesando más por el curso de DL esperemos que colaboren :)


Estoy de acuerdo en que enseñen este idioma en DL. Nos enriquecería aún más nuestro panorama lingüistico, cultural e intelectual.


Great post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for showing it to me, Jesus.


Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully Duo'll have a home in the Basque Country one of these days soon :)


wonderful story! thanks :)


Quiero aprender Euskara, donde aplico?


Acabo de ver que el Catalán ya está en la incubadora. Sabemos algo del Euskera? Quiero aprenderelo...


Todavía no hay noticias, hay gente que ha enviado una solicitud a la incubadora pero seguimos sin ninguna respuesta de Duolingo. Si te interesa aprenderlo, hay varios recursos en línea que te podrían interesar, no son tan divertidos como Duolingo pero también son gratis, como el curso de ikasten.net o el de Gorka.


De momento he empezado con este de Memrise http://www.memrise.com/course/973360/duolingo-euskera-espanol/ pero si... lo guay de Duolingo es que no se te hace un rollazo aprender un idioma. En fin, habrá que esperar.


Ah sí, es un curso que Alec737 está haciendo aquí en Duolingo. El curso de Ikasten.net es bastante bueno y te lo recomiendo (yo actualmente voy por la parte B1 del curso), pero sería genial tener un curso de euskara acá.

Aupa 'ta segi aurrera!


Me he descargado memrise y no veo el Euskera. Todavía está?


That was amazing! Awesome work! It must be hard...


Thanks. Basque has a pretty steep learning curve, especially at the beginning, but considering how long it's been around it's really quite logical and for the most part regular. It's really different from any other language i've studied and everyone i've met who's studied it seriously has said it's their favorite language. If you were talking about the little comics, it just took a bit of time to put together, that's all :)


Awesome work!!! Congratulations!!!


Gaztelugatxea ez zaitezte jun, Gu jun ginen ta tope nekau ginen jajaja


Ni nekatu nintzen Ganekogorta mendixan (999 metroko garaiera badauka), Bilboko erditik sartuta eta topera oinez juten banazen. Gora Bizkaie!


Excellent work! Very nice!


I'd help for the Basque course :) Let's make it happen!


That'd be amazing! Have you sent an application in to the Incubator yet? :D Mila esker!

EDIT: Ah, just saw in the other thread that you've already sent an application in.


Euskal ikastaroak prest egongo direnean? Pryd fydd y cwrs Basgeg yn barod? When will the Basque course be available? Eskerrik asko! Diolch! Thanks.


Ikastaroa noiz egongo den prest jakin nahi duzu? Zoritxarrez, oraindik ez dakigu berririk ez daukagulako...

Dyn ni ddim yn gwybod :/


Hori da! Guk euskaraz hitz egin dugu.Zuk, Duolingo, Zergatik ez? That' s it! We talks euskara .Why don't you, Duolingo?


Ez dakigu zergatik! Duok bai daki euskaraz hitz egin, beraz Duolingo, zuek zergatik ez?


Amets hau egin nuen orai dela bortz urte eta lortu dudana. Euskara munduari idekia da


Just saw your post, it's very nice ! I know the French part better, so I was like "Where is Biarritz ? St Jean de Luz ? Bayonne ??" but then I saw that you showed a bit of St Jean de Luz at the end. But I don't know the spanish side that well, except the cities very close to the border like Hondarrabia (which has maybe more french tourists than locals), and Donostia. So it was a very interesting post. I'm just surprised you didn't show more of the ferias :)

The fact that catalan just got added to the incubator gives me hope for an upcoming basque course, even though I'm afraid it will be basque from spanish (and I don't speak spanish !). Did you have any news from Duo on an eventual basque course ?


No news so far from Duo, a couple Basque sites picked up on it, though (eg here).

I wanted to spend more time in the Iparralde, too, unfortunately i don't know that side as well (and by the time i got there i was afraid it'd already gotten too long).

I'm also excited the Catalan course has finally been added, hopefully that means there's still hope for the other regional languages of the area :)


Nothing about Zesta ❤❤❤❤❤?


There were lots of things and places i wanted to add but which didn't make it in since it was already getting a bit long. I particularly wanted to spend more time in the Iparralde.


You could always do a part two:)


That's fantastic! I will do anything possible to contribute to the course


Euskalduna al zara? Eskaera bat bidali duzu euskara inkubatzailean gehitzeko?


Nik bai! Baina noiz aterako dute kurtsoa egiten laguntzekoa?


Beraz eskaera bidali duzu, ba? Milesker!! Zoritxarrez ez dakigu noiz aterako duten, baina laster espero dut :)


Kaixo amigo conozco una asociación en Derio (Bizkaia) que quizás nos podrían ayudar a crear el curso de Euskera se llama Baserri Antzokia son impulsores del euskera y de la euskal kultura. eskerrik asko eta arrakasta http://www.baserriantzokia.com/?l=es


Te has puesto en contacto con ellxs? Si no les enviaré un email cuando tenga tiempo para ver si estarían interesadxs o no. Ya he escrito a varias organizaciones, algunas se han mostrado interesadas y hasta han puesto algún anuncio en sus sitios web, pero hasta la fecha ninguna ha dicho que colaboraría con el proyecto directamente.


A wealth of information! Great article! Here is to hoping Basque becomes a course!


I would love to be able to learn Euskara via Duolingo. I hope this can become a reality, and considering the rising number of native speakers of Euskara, hopefully some will be willing to contribute material to make this happen. Listening to Hertzainak, Negu Gorriak or Kortatu albums isn't enough for me to pick up the language in the absence of local speakers...

Kreo tambien, ke el kurso sería mejor desde el linguaje español, solo por ke lxs ibéricxs hispanohablante tienen la opurtunidad para utilizarlo.

Mi bezonas lerni pli vortojn ol nur "Kalimotxo" kaj "Kale borroka" kaj "Pitxu" en la Eŭska ....


If you like hip-hop, some more recent artists are:
Norte Apache, with mostly political songs (about Basque/the Basque Country, immigrant rights, anti-TAV).
MAK (Musika Armatu Komando), another political group with a rather strong anarchist influence.

If you're into more punk/hardcore/screamo stuff there's Yaw, RIP also had a few songs in Basque.

I also really like a lot of Urko's songs, in particular "Gure lagunei" (To our friends, dedicated to two young members of ETA Txiki and Otaegi who were two of the last people executed during Franco's dictatorship).

If you're interested in courses, there's a free course at Ikasten.net which covers a lot of material, the lessons go up to B2 level. There are a few good books available as well, if you're interested...


Muchas gracias, Jesús :)


Les he escrito, todavía no han contestado, te mantendré informado.


Eskerrik asko, Jesús :)


Oui je vote pour les cours de Catalan. Merci !


Many languages: more knowledge, more culture, more consciousness, more friendship among people without frontiers


Oui, pour les langues Catalane et Basque.


Infinitas gracias a todos por vuestra ayuda y vuestro apoyo :)


J’appuie la démarche visant à développer un cours de langue basque (Euskara) sur DL.


Le Basque est une langue enseigné en France. Elle représente une culture importante et complète. Le Basque mérite de figurer en bonne place au sein de l'application DUOLINGO.


(^_^)/ run duo run!


I have family in the States & in Spain who speak at least one of the iterations of the Basque language, although I've only heard them call it Euskara. I would love to be able to communicate with family abroad. I'm surprised more people from Idaho (Boise, specifically) aren't contributing to this, although the Basque people are notoriously private & tend to exclude outsiders. But, if I'm not mistaken, Boise has the second or third highest concentration of Basque outside of Spain. There is a whole Basque Avenue with restaurants & a museum. Most of my family were herders & ranchers, so when they got to the States, the northwest was the most sensible place to settle. They're dispersed throughout Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon & Northern California. My great-grandmother & her daughters all spoke Euskara & my eldest tia understands & speaks a bit because Tia Talbot (her tia) taught her, but I only know a few words. Anyway, I would love for Duo to take this on. Perhaps contacting some of the people at the Basque Historical Society (I believe that's what it's called) in Boise would help? Thanks for trying! Best wishes!


Hey Julia! Thanks for sharing your story and also for recommending the Basque Museum and Culture House (that's what came up when searching for the "Basque Historical Society" in Idaho), i will definitely be getting in touch with them!


So is this still a thing or did we give up Basque on Duolingo?


Of course, we've been going at it for nearly five years now. There's a petition signing going on as well as a letter writing campaign (with over a hundred letters/e-mails having been written, many from folks in high standing in the Basque community). You're more than welcome to help out and come up with new ways to promote a Basque course on Duolingo :)


Please do Basque / Euskera


As showed, it's very fine there, so mesediz egin euskara ikastaroa. It is so nice learning it from Duo!


Euskara por favor. If duolingo has time for High Valerian it has time for Basque.


Kaixo :) We need positive votes "^" and comments thank you;) https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/7674974 Well in the first comment made by fellow Crush, the comment ends with "Come on, let's start now!": Below this comment there is a number "285" with a little triangle up "^" you must give it there and you will see that it becomes "286" for example. So you can do with each and every one of the comments you like. This is a positive vote "^" to more positive votes better to accept the course. To comment, say what you want, or "I support the course of Basque", that's worth it. Please, the collaboration is greatly appreciated :) Eskerrik asko


Ojalá pronto haya curso de Euskera


Kaixo denoi! Gure Discord zerbitzaria, The Language Café, hitzunak eta ikasleak bilatzen ditu! Gure zerbitzaria hizkuntza asko ditu praktikatzeko eta murgitzeko! https://discord.gg/AG4NMKJ


I love this series! Thanks for this one. It was most excellent! =D


Eskerrik asko for the post! I loved the comic design and it was incredibly long, but never long enough to show all the beauties of Euskal Herria. Please Duo staff add basque :D


There were quite a few other places that i wanted to include, i even wrote stories and pulled pictures for a couple of them, but i figured it was probably already too long. I'm glad you enjoyed it, i hope Duo's wishes come true and we'll be able to see some more Basque around here soon :)


This a very cool! I hope Duo's wish comes true :D


So do i, i hope they both come true!


Awesome work! Cheers for Basque language


Thanks! Hopefully we'll have both Catalan and Basque courses in the incubator soon :)


Yes please, here's hoping too :-D


Yes please! Català would be a dream come true in the most literal sense, but a Euskara course would make me insanely excited as well!


Duolingok euskaraz bizi nahi du !! Zer ikuskizun miragarria :D


Bai, euskaraz bizi nahi du eta euskaraz biziko da!


Zoragarria! Great work @crush! :)


Eskerrik asko, anebz!


Uhh... weren't you last in the waiting list?

Either way, nice post! :)


Yeah, but i think some of the other ones haven't really been started yet. I assume they just get posted when you finish them, so the position on the list doesn't really matter ;)

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!


Wonderful! I got to visit the Basque Country for a bit a few years ago, and was surprised by the extend to which Basque was still dominant over French and Spanish in many places. I always felt bad speaking French or Spanish with the people there. Since then, I think Basque would be great to learn! Plus, I bet having ES>EU and FR>EU courses would help a lot of people in France and Spain who are interested, and raise awareness for Basque.


I agree that having Euskara courses for Spanish and French would be great and would help a lot in the promotion and preservation of the language. It's also a big plus that practically all native speakers of Basque are bilingual which will help with the creation of the courses. With the introduction of ikastolak and bilingual schools, the number of Basque speakers is on the rise, especially among young people.

The situation seems a bit more stable in the Hegoalde (Southern Basque Country) than in the Iparralde (Northern Basque Country), but there's a lot of activity to preserve the Basque language in the French side as well including some bilingual schools and private Ikastolak. Azais recently posted that there was a motion last year to make Basque the second official language (alongside French) in Ustaritz, challenging French as being the only official language of France.

Anyway, hopefully we'll be able to get Basque courses from a variety of different base languages!


Aizu, etorri nahi baduzu Iparralderat, nik Akizen bizi naiz, beraz ez hain urrun. Uste dut ungi dakit bertako hizkerak, kultura eta bizitzia. Bertako gazteak ez dute Hegoaldeko "euskara batua" ikasten "eskuara nafar-lapurtarra" baino gehienetan. Hau da barnekaldian, kostaldian eskuaraz oso gutti badakitea. Ta frantsesa naiz!


Iparraldea bizitatzea oso gustatuko litzaidake! Orain Txinan bizi naiz beraz pixka bat zaila zait Euskal Herrira joatea, baina Espaina bisitatu dudan hurrengo aldian hara joateko asmoa dut (lehenago euskara hobeki ikasi behar dut!) :)


Everyone should visit Donosti (San Sebastian). What a great city.


Crush lan ederra egin duzu! Asko gustatu zait istorioa eta oso pozik nago Duok euskalduna izan nahi duelako :D


Eskerrik asko eta barkatu, ez nuen zure mezua lehenago ikusi!


Hey Crush, any new news yet, I see you posted yesterday right here. I'm living about 40 minutes or less from the Basque country right now, and I'm hoping...like really hoping duo gets cracking soon on a Basque language course.


I haven't heard any news, there have been a few posts in Basque media over the past couple months about Duolingo and the push for a Basque course, but as far as i know Duo hasn't said anything recently concerning Basque. Though seeing some of the other languages added recently i don't think it's out of the question, it's just a matter of time i suppose. Thanks for stopping by :)

EDIT: Yesterday, a Basque professor/philologist offered to help create the course, hopefully this will give Duolingo a bit of motivation to open up a Basque course!


YES! Wow! A Basque professor would certainly help. Thanks for the update.


I'm excited, as well! There have been many bilingual speakers offer to create the course, so hopefully now there'll be enough to convince Duolingo to add Basque to the incubator!


There's been a bit of activity pushing for a Basque course lately, hopefully we can get something out of it :)


Hey crush thanks for keeping strong and advocating for something. I thought the other day about mentioning a few more key reasons to have a basque course. Of course I would be stoked for an English basque course, but for those Spanish speakers, the more I'm here in northern Spain and I hear about a lot of people working to get jobs in the public sector in the Basque Country, I come to find out that they often are required to score a certain level in Basque. Not only that, but tied to that point, one of the more economically prosperous regions of Spain by far is the Basque Country. So if people want to argue it's not useful, well there are quite a few jobs out there that could be filled by individuals able to pass exams, with the aid of duolingo. Not to mention the university of pais vasco is one of the better universities in all of Europe, with duolingo as another resource, maybe it could pave the way for individuals to move there and attend some programs in euskara.


Tout à fait d'accord. Bonne chance !


Ok pour ces cours de Catalan


Excellente idée ! Vive la Catalogne.


Le basque a autant d'intérêt que le catalan en tant que langue. Bravo de le faire revivre !


Merci pour ton intérêt, fumerolle! Il y a déjà un cours de catalan pour les hispanophones si tu t'y intéresses, peut-être on aura plus tard des cours avec d'autres langues de base aussi. Mais pour le moment j'attends impatiemment l'annonce du cours de cette langue ancienne et mystérieuse, le basque!


Ojalá se decidan pronto a activar el curso de Euskera. Gora Euskera!!!


Ze presentazio polita, mil esker. What a beautiful presentation, thank you


Ejemplo de Estudiante de Euskera autodidacta :)

Euskaldun berri autodikatak EGA ateru du! - ¡Vasco-hablante autodidacta se ha sacado el EGA!



Verdaderamente un caso poco común. Seguro que ha trabajado mucho antes de venir para examinarse. Es un examen muy complicado y, ciertamente, tiene un mérito enorme. Egia esateko, oso kasu berezia da honako hau, inolaz ere egunerokoa. Ziur nago, azterketa egitera etorri baino lehenago lan itzela egin zuela. EGA oso azterketa zaila da eta, ezbairik gabe, meritu ikaragarria dauka. Zorionak!


Estoy intentando localizarle, para que nos ayude... Como esto siga así, van a salir muchos pollitos de la incubadora :)


Sí el lo ha logrado, es que si se puede :)


Una chica argentina y un uruguayo se sacaron el EGA en 2008 :)

Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.