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Basque and Proto-Basque

Language-Internal and Typological Approaches to Linguistic Reconstruction


Mikel Martinez Areta

This volume is an attempt to expound the current state of research into the past of the Basque language. This research has experienced two kinds of advance in recent years. First, more written records have been discovered, and the ones that we already knew have been more deeply studied. Second, since the 70s cross-linguistic typology has made huge progress in our knowledge of linguistic universals and grammaticalization paths. The purpose of this volume is precisely to provide an outline, comprehensible for Bascologists and diachronic typologists alike, of how these two aspects can help us to reconstruct, within the limits permitted by the principles of diachronic research, the main linguistic features of Common Basque (ca. 5th-6th cc. AD), Proto-Basque (ca. 3rd-1st cc. BC), and Pre-Proto-Basque.


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Authors, texts and other written sources Ag. = Juan Bautista Aguirre (1742 – 1823). Guipuscoan priest and writer born in Asteasu. He composed several religious works which display an unusual command of the lan- guage. His most relevant text is Confesioco eta Comunioco Sacramentuen gañean Eracusaldiac (1803). Amill. = J. B. Amilleta (1639 – 1700). He wrote a doctrine in the variety of Antzuola (ca. 1678), a Guipuscoan town located in the Biscayan-speaking area. Añ. = Pedro Antonio de Añibarro (1748 – 1830). Biscayan Franciscan born in Villaro- Areatza. He spent the last 40 years of his life in Zarautz (Guipuscoa). Añibarro wrote many works, among them Gueroco Guero (a translation into Biscayan of Axular’s Guero). Along with Moguel, he is considered to be the father of Biscayan literature. Arg. = Pierre Argaignarats (17th c.). Priest of Ziburu (Labourd) who wrote two works in Basque. Only one of them has been preserved: Devoten Breviarioa (1665). Ax. = Pedro de Aguerre y Azpilicueta “Axular” (1556 – 1644). Axular is the name of the house where he was born, in Urdazubi, to the north of the Baztan Valley (Navarre, but in the Labourdin-speaking area). He was the parish priest of Sara (Labourd) from 1600 until his death. He only wrote the Guero (‘After’), printed in 1643, an ascetic work which soon became a model of linguistic elegance. Even today, Basque is sometimes referred to as “Axular’s language”. Azk. = Resurrección María de Azkue (1864 – 1951). He was born in Lekeitio (Biscay) and died in Bilbao. In 1919,...

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