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Euskara ikastaroa: Bigarren ikasgaia / Basque: Lesson 2

(Hona hemen ikastaroaren aurkibidea. / Here's the course's table of contents.)

Euskara ikastaroa: 2ren ikasgaia / Basque: Lesson 2




A basic question has the following format:


  1. The galdegaia tells you what kind of question we are asking, ie. who, what, where, when, why, how, etc. Some examples are nor (who), zer (what), zergatik (why), non (where), nondik (from where), and nongoa (from where/of which place). These words also double as case names for Basque's cases.
  2. The verb generally follows the galdegaia in a question. Thus, we have "Nor da hura?" (Who is she/he?) but "Hura Mikel da."
  3. The subject is optional.


Let's look at our first case. Nor is used as the subject of intransitive verbs and for objects. It is also known as the nominative case. Nor by itself asks the question "who?", zer asks the questions "what?" Nor doesn't really have any special case endings, unless you count the -a and -ak endings for the article.



I also snuck in a second case in there. Nongo is used to talk about where something is from. It's generally translated as "of" or "from". To talk about motion from some place, we use another case (nondik). The ending for this case is normally -ko, but after -n it turns into -go.

If you are asking about one person, you will use nongoa (do you remember the article from last lesson?), to ask about more than one person, you will use nongoak (remember how we added -k to form the plural?).

There are four main forms for each case in Basque, these are:

  1. Singular - for singular nouns/adjectives (the house, the cat, the river)
  2. Plural - for plural nouns/adjectives (the houses, the cats, the rivers)
  3. Mugagabe / Indefinite - this is used after numbers and certain words like zer (what) and zein (which)
  4. Proper Nouns - for names of people, places, etc.

First let's look at the chart, then we'll look at some examples:


Demonstrative Pronouns

Lastly, let's look at the demonstrative pronouns. They are:

The difference between hori/horiek and hura/haiek is pretty similar to the difference between ese/aquel in Spanish. Also note that hura/haiek are the same as he/she/it. And don't forget to use the plural ending if you have a plural subject: -Hauek nere lagunak dira. / Hau nere laguna da. -Haiek ibaiak dira. / Hura ibaia da. -Horiek Koldo eta Arantxa dira. / Hori nere familia da.

If you have any questions, corrections, suggestions, etc. just leave a comment and i'll do my best to answer. Thanks for stopping by :)

June 7, 2015



Hello crush, Thank you for the great course. At the moment I’m taking some extra notes to explain the meaning of various suffixes to myself. I have some doubts in one point. There are two sentences: 1. Nere familia DonostiaKOAK dira. - My family is from Donostia. 2. IrunGO gara. - We’re from Irun. Could you explain what the suffixes mean? My guess: 1. Nere familia DonostiaKOAK dira. -ko (proper noun, ends with a vowel - table), -ak (subject in plural “my family” - they - is considered as plural since it’s more people, just like in English) 2. IrunGO gara. -go (proper noun, ends with -n, thus -go) Why not “IrungoAK”? Isn’t the sentence about “us” - plural?

Thank you for your explanation! By the way, do you know any good pages with exercises for Basque? It's be great to practise this grammar/vocabulary.


Ah... you're right, i wrote that sentence incorrectly, it should indeed be "Irungoak"!


Eskerrik asko!


If you want a course of Basque friends, you better post it on this, please www.duolingo.com/comment/7674974$comment_id=24435652


"Zergatik" ez esan nahi du "why"? "How" ez da "nola"? Eskerrik asko Crush, per dedicar-hi el teu temps ;)


Gaizki idatzi nuen, eskerrik asko ;)


Eta ni ere, el mateix que a l'altre XD


Just stumbled on you course today. First off, thanks for making the course. I am going to Northern Spain this summer, so would like to pick up a bit of Basque, especially some practical vocabulary. Second is a question on the possessive my. In other courses, such as old duolingo on memrise, also posted here https://www.duolingo.com/comment/13664626, Nire is used as my, while you use Nere. Are both correct or is there a difference?


Btw, in the other Basque thread i just posted a list of resources for learning Basque, so i'll crosspost that here in case anyone reading this thread is interested (these are all resources available in English):

For books:
The Basque Language: A Practical Introduction - Alan R. King (very comprehensive and good resource for going from zero to intermediate, probably best book for English speakers)

The Basque Language: Second Draft - an early manuscript of the other book available online for free. The contents are completely different but it covers a similar amount of the language.

Gorka's course - there's also an English translation ("Course of English", link in the upper right). I started updating it, fixing typos and grammatical mistakes in the English and adding some explanations, but only got through the first 6 or 7 chapters. I could be convinced to continue on with it though ;) It throws a lot of information at you at once though, but is a nice quick overview of the language as a whole.

"Standard Basque: A Progressive Grammar" from MIT press - a pretty huge book but the explanations are much easier to understand than most grammar books. It covers a ton of topics, probably more stuff than most native Basque speakers know.

Elhuyar online dictionary - this is my favorite dictionary. The English translations are good, but i generally use the Spanish dictionary which is more complete and has more example sentences.

Online course:
Ikasten.net - the #1 resource for learning Basque. The technology is a bit old but the content is great, tons of audio, graded texts, grammar explanations, etc. The course goes from A1-B2, and it's 100% free. You have to create an account and they'll ask for a bunch of information, just make it up.

I also started putting up a list of resources and a sampling of a lot of Basque music here:

(Feel free to sign up there as well if you'd like!)

Ah, and i recently published a book on Basque Mythology ( Euskal Mitologia ) for students of Basque. If you'd like a PDF of it, feel free to get in touch with me, i'd be happy to send a copy your way (or to anyone else interested) :) We're working on getting more books for learning Basque published, we've found another set of classic Basque stories that we've begun translating and have also gotten in touch with contemporary Basque authors to start using their works for creating Basque language learning materials. Hopefully we can make it easier for students to start reading genuine, contemporary Basque literature.


Hi Crush! Yes, I would love to receive the pdf...! I am just beginning to research basque mythology and am looking for resources. I would also love to learn the language!


I'm glad to see someone studying Basque! Nire is Batua, nere is dialect and also pretty common. So you can use either. But if you want to go for standard Basque, you can just use "nire".

If you have any other questions or are looking for more resources to learn Basque, i'd be more than happy to help out!

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