Local name: Euskara
Language family: Language isolate
Native speakers: ~720,000 (Gobierno Vasco, 2012)
Script: A modified version of the Latin alphabet
Official in: Basque Autonomous Community, Navarre (both in northern Spain)
Spoken mostly in: Northern Spain, south-western corner of France

Basque is a language isolate, i.e. it has no known relatives. Evidences suggest that Aquitanian, a language spoken in the Iberian peninsula before the Roman Conquest, is its ancestor. Many theories link Basque to other languages like Georgian or those from the Northeast Caucasian group, such as Chechen, but those have no credit among most linguists.

There are five main dialect regions, three in Spain (Bizkaian, Gipuzkoan and Upper Navarrese), and two in France (Navarrese-Lapurdian and Zuberoan), which don't correspond exactly to the historic provinces. Besides, the Basque Language Academy developed a standard form of the language, called Euskara Batua. While this standard is the most commonly used in education and the media, traditional dialects are still fully used in the countryside and among adult speakers, in informal situations. Basque is an official language in those Spanish territories, but it has no official status in France.

Basque grammar is very complex and presents features not found in the other European languages, notably the number and distribution of noun cases, and conjugation of verbs, which agree with both their subject and direct/indirect objects. Very few verbs are conjugated synthetically, and compound tenses are the norm among most verbs.

Standard Basque: “Ipar haizea eta Eguzkia ”
Speaker: Jon Ariza De Miguel Age at recording: 34 (2014) Geographical reference: Bilbao, ES (Google Map)

Ipar haizea eta Eguzkia indarrari buruz eztabaidatzen ari ziren.
Garaipena bidaiari bat biluzten zuenarentzat izango zela erabaki zuten.
Ipar haizea gogor hasi zen.
Gizakiak arropari eutsita luze iraun zuen.
Hotzak are gehiago minduta arropa gehiago janzten zuen, harik eta Ipar haizea nekatu eta txanda Eguzkiari eman zion arte.
Horrek hasieran leun jotzen zuen.
Gizakiak arropa gehiena erantzi eta gero, beroa areagotzen zuen harik eta beroari ezin eutsita biluztu eta bainu bat hartzeko errekara bota zen arte.
Alegiak erakusten du askotan indartsuagoa dela konbentzitzea indarkeria baino.