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Today, William is gone, but we have Christophe Grandsire-Koevets on as a special guest to discuss one of his favorite natlang inspirations, Basque.

Top of Show Greeting: Palethian

Links and Resources:

14 Responses to “Conlangery #93: Basque/Euskara (natlang)”

  1. Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets

    Well, first, I’d like to thank George and Mike for having me on board for this podcast. It was a great experience. This said, I’d also like to have it on record that I hate both my recorded voice and my accent. Really, I had no idea it was that bad! 🙁 Hopefully you’ll be able to understand me. I’d like to apologise also for all the rambling and hesitating. Since I was properly prepared (despite appearances!), I’ll attribute those to stage fright :/. As a result, my explanations may have been less clear than they could have. If anything is unclear, feel free to ask questions here and I’ll do my best to answer them timely.

    Second, I’d like to say that during this podcast we’ve only skimmed through some interesting features of Basque, but there are many more interesting things we could have talked about (indeed, I had material for another hour at least :P. I’m as enthusiastic about Basque as William is about Ancient Greek 😉 ). Things like the absence of initial rhotics, the use of expressive patalisation to form diminutives, the fact that a lot of the verbal suffixes used to form subclauses (as well as those used to form non-finite verb forms) look like or are identical to case affixes etc. There’s just so much one could talk about.

    Anyway, I’m glad this episode was done, and I hope it will inspire people. As I wrote, don’t hesitate to ask questions here, and I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly and clearly as possible.

    • admin

      You were an excellent guest, Christophe. Don’t worry so much about how you sound — everyone hates their own recorded voice. I believe there have been psychological studies on the phenomenon. (I’ve heard explainations about how voices sound different when heard in the air rather than through bone conduction, or how we notice all our own hesitations that we weren’t aware of at the time.) And your accent is quite understandable.

      You clearly have a lot of knowledge about Basque, and I’m glad you were able to talk to us. I’m sorry we couldn’t continue to cover it, but I’ve tried to get away from two-hour episodes for the sake of consistency. I’m sure the info here will be an inspiration to conlangers as it is.

      • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets

        I’m sure the episode is fine as is. It’s just in my nature to worry about what could have been ;). As for my accent, although I know it’s understandable I just wish I didn’t have it :).

        Anyway, along with the links I hope it will inspire conlangers indeed. There are a lot of features in Basque that people would tend to think of as unrealistic in their first analysis, and yet are stable in the language :). We need more ANADEWs so people feel free to innovate in their conlanging! 😛

          • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets

            The version I know is “A Natlang’s Already Done it Except Worse” :P.

            The idea is that for whatever far-fetched feature you can think of for an artlang, there’s an actual natural language out there that has a near-identical feature, only even more far-fetched :P.

            ANADEWs are great because they help us think outside the box and challenge our ideas of what is possible in a naturalistic conlang :).

      • Vítor De Araújo

        Consistency is for the weak of mind. A two-hour episode every now and then would be more than welcome. 🙂

  2. Chickenduck

    Hey guys,

    Euskara meite dut!

    For anyone looking for self-teaching resources (and who can speak Spanish), for a while I was learning a little Basque via the following:

    It’s kind of fun, though it’s taught through a medium of Spanish (my 4th language), which started to make my brain hurt after a while 🙂

    Cheers, Aaron

  3. jw

    Stop abandoning the podcast William! Kidding (mostly). Actually thought Christophe was a fantastic addition, hope he comes back.

  4. Ossicone

    I’m super annoyed I had to miss this now that I got to listen to it.
    From a conlanging perspective, I always find something to steal from Basque any time I read about it.

    But thanks for the best explanation of zu/hi I’ve seen anywhere.

    • Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets

      It would have been great to have you on the podcast indeed, as I knew about your interest in Basque.
      Basically, you should try and read Rudolf de Rijk’s book: Standard Basque: a progressive grammar. It’s very accessible yet very complete. Most of the stuff I mentioned in the discussion of zu vs. hi comes from that book for instance.

      • Ossicone

        I actually have a PDF of that book that I jump around in when the mood strikes. But I guess I never looked at that section.


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