Gabriel ArestiGizonaren ahoa (Harrizko Herri Hau, 1971)

Basque language, if not older or newer than its neighbors in absolute terms, it is indeed older in a relative sense: it’s older in situ, it’s a neighbor deep-rooted from a much earlier date in this part of Europe.

Koldo MitxelenaLa lengua vasca, 1969

The language gives us personality and its unknown origin and ancestors provoke no concern among us, rather curiosity. The Basque language is, for the time being, an orphan tongue in the heart of Europe.

Hasier EtxeberriaEuskararen jatorria dokumentala, 2011

“The true mystery of euskara is its survival rather than its origins”

(Koldo Mitxelena)Read the biography

Basque language emerged in prehistoric times in the territory it occupies at present, when human groups abandoned the ancient nomadic life and settled in a particular territory. The first reliable data we have of Basque language go back about 5,000 BC. Formerly it covered a geographical area wider than today: from the river Ebro to the river Garonne and along the Pyrenees to Catalonian lands.

Basque language is the only living witness of the ancient Indo-European languages. Basque is prior to the arrival in Europe of Indo-European languages (about 4400 BC). When Latin was imposed across Europe, the Basque language remained alive. Later, there was an expansion of Romance languages inheritors of Latin, but Basque-speaking people have preserved their language.