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Euskara ikastaroa: Hirugarren ikasgaia / Basque: Lesson 3

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

Euskara ikastaroa: Hirugarren ikasgaia / Basque: Lesson 3




Today we look at another case, the nork case. This case is used with transitive verbs. In Basque, rather than mark the object (the accusative), you mark the subject of the action. This is called the ergative case. To form the nork case, you add a -k to the end of the noun/pronoun/adjective. Here's a chart showing the basic rules:

Here are some examples:

Note that nouns ending in -a will drop the -a in the plural form. This happens in many cases. The 'a' in taberna isn't the article, it's a part of the word. So instead of saying tabernaek, the 'a' gets dropped and we get tabernek. There aren't many words that end in 'a', just try to keep it in mind.

Now let's look at the personal pronouns in the ergative:

Zuek and haiek already end in a -k, so they don't change. The others add a k. The he/she/it form hark seems a bit odd, but it's actually a demonstrative pronoun (this, that, that over there) and those have some slight changes to the stem when they get declined. Here's a chart with the demonstrative pronouns:

As you can see, the plural forms are the same as the nor case since they all end in a -k.


In Basque, there are different types of verbs. They are classified by what cases the verb represents. Most verbs in Basque are not conjugated, they have a participle and an auxiliary verb. So far we've looked at two kinds of verbs: nor and in this lesson nor-nork.


Nor verbs only have a subject, no object. The subject is in the nor case. What is the nor verb? It's the verb izan we saw in the first lesson:

The dictionary form of the verb is the near past tense, used to talk about things that happened to do or for talking about things where it's not important when it happened, similar to the present perfect in English (I have spoken, we have eaten). Here are some examples:


Nor-nork verbs have two parts. The nor part tells you the object of the verb, and the nork part tells you the subject of the verb. Both of these are built into the verb, hence the name nor-nork. Similar to English, the nor-nork verb by itself means 'to have'. Let's look at the conjugation for a single object:

These forms can only be used for a third person singular object, so the nor part of these forms is hura. Soon we'll look at how to express other objects. Just know that for now you can't say something like 'I love you' (maite zaitut) because the nor part of that verb is different (notice that the 't' added to 'du' remains the same!). Ok, we'll come back to this later. For now, let's look at some examples:


The word for 'no'/'not' in Basque is ez. Negating sentences in Euskara isn't too complicated, you just put the conjugated verb immediately after ez and leave the dictionary verb (if there is one) where it is. So:

Future tense

Heh.. we've covered a lot of things today, but let's go over one more. To form the future tense of a verb, you simply add -ko (or -go after an 'n') to the dictionary form. Thus:

It can also be used to make a suggestion, similar to "Shall we...?" or "Will you..., please?" in English. Now let's look at some more sentences:

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, corrections, etc. please let me know. Maybe we can add some exercises to the lessons as well?

June 11, 2015



hello crush, I stumbled upon this thread yesterday and find it amazing! I really like the way you explain the grammar and new vocabulary. It's great that at the very beginning of learning process I'm already able to understand some things, getting the meaning from the context. The last lesson was posted one year ago. Are you planning to post any further lessons? Thank you for doing the great job!


Hey ewelinalucy, thanks for the feedback! I've put together a sort of table of contents of grammar points that i want to cover, so i could continue with these lessons as well.

I'm actually working on a few other ideas for a Basque course, namely a series of interlinear texts with linked grammar explanations (with the creator of this site) as well as an audio course. You can get an idea of some of the sentences that will build up the course here, they'll gradually introduce new words and grammar points following the list of grammar points i mentioned above, altogether there should be around 4,000 sentences, split into two levels of 2,000 sentences each. We're aiming to cover around 5,000 of the most common words pulled from subtitles (focusing more on colloquial speech).


Thank you for this information! I'm looking forward to seeing more on the pages you mentioned. English/Spanish translation would help a lot (even if it already gives a lot of satisfaction to be able to get the meaning of parts of sentences :) )


Shouldn't "Film hori ikusi duzu." be "You (singular) have seen that movie"? (instead of "We've seen that movie.")


You're right again, sorry about that! It is indeed "You have seen that movie" and not "We have..."

Maybe i shouldn't have used pictures as it's a lot more of a pain to change things around, unfortunately there's just no other way to really present things in a way that looks nice (no support for tables).

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