Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

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zeme
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Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby zeme » 2011-09-30, 14:46

Every time I hear Basque, I am perplexed by its similarity to Spanish in pronunciation. Given the Isolate nature of Euskara, I would expect it to sound considerably different from neighboring languages. From its orthography, I thought it would sound a bit like Caucasian languages.

Did one get its influence from the other?
..or is it pure coincidence?
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby linguoboy » 2011-09-30, 15:01

zeme wrote:Every time I hear Basque, I am perplexed by its similarity to Spanish in pronunciation. Given the Isolate nature of Euskara, I would expect it to sound considerably different from neighboring languages. From its orthography, I thought it would sound a bit like Caucasian languages.

It's only an "isolate" in a genetic sense. Speakers of Basque have continuously been in contact with speakers of other languages; for over 2,000 years, Latin and its descendents have been among those languages. It's only to be expected that there would be some mutual influence.

There are a number of Spanish innovations ascribed to Basque influence (e.g. /f/ > /h/, merger of /v/ and /b/, etc.) but the evidence for these is rather weak. Nowadays there are virtually no Basque monoglots left, so the influence of Spanish on the varieties spoken in Spain is intense.
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Chekhov » 2011-09-30, 15:26

Why does Korean sound like Japanese? Why does Hungarian sound like Turkish? Why does Modern Hebrew sound like German? Areal influences can matter much more than genetic relation here. Look up "Sprachbund" for more examples of this phenomenon.
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby loqu » 2011-10-01, 11:21

linguoboy wrote:It's only an "isolate" in a genetic sense. Speakers of Basque have continuously been in contact with speakers of other languages; for over 2,000 years, Latin and its descendents have been among those languages. It's only to be expected that there would be some mutual influence.

There are a number of Spanish innovations ascribed to Basque influence (e.g. /f/ > /h/, merger of /v/ and /b/, etc.) but the evidence for these is rather weak. Nowadays there are virtually no Basque monoglots left, so the influence of Spanish on the varieties spoken in Spain is intense.

Plus, that the 'Standard' European pronunciation of Spanish is based on the pronunciation around the areas next to the Basque country. Southern peninsular and non-peninsular dialects don't sound like Basque at all, in my opinion.

And anyway Basque has a stress pattern that sounds rather alien to us.
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Prosper_Youplaboum » 2011-10-01, 18:56

Basque and Spanish have influenced each other. And I think nowadays, many Basque speakers' pronunciation is much influenced by Spanish. The Basque speakers from the French part don't have the same accent (and I'd say their Basque isn't as influenced by French as "Spain" Basque is by Spanish, at least for most of those I've heard).
For instance, in the Spanish part, they pronounce intervocalic d as [ð], as in Spanish, while I don't think they do that in the French part.
To make it short, I think the Basque of Spain often sounds like Spanish, while the Basque of France doesn't sound like French (most of the time - some young speakers' Basque, though, sounds like French but maybe these aren't native speakers).
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lex1988Spain » 2011-10-09, 14:05

The Basque of Spain sounds like Spanish and the Basque of France (called, "vasco-francés) sounds like French. Sometimes it's even hard to understand them. It's Basque with french pronunciation.

For more information: There are 6 dialects and more than 11 sub-dialects in the Basque Country. The "unified Basque" (euskara batua) it's the most modern of them and is influenced by Spanish (in the pronunciation). The rest of them don't sound like Spanish at all.

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby loqu » 2011-10-09, 14:09

Lex, I'm curious: does any of those dialects ever make it to appear on ETB or the radio? Or you can only hear batua on them?
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Prosper_Youplaboum » 2011-10-09, 16:07

The Basque of Spain sounds like Spanish and the Basque of France (called, "vasco-francés) sounds like French.


not those I heard, except some learners of course. The only thing that may make it sound French, is the French r, but most of the people I heard trill it, so it doesn't sound French. The pronunciation of the j changes according to the area (ʒ, dj, or j). Except for that, what did sound French in what you heard?

While the Spanish Basque speakers I heard pronounce z like English unvoiced th (as in Spanish), intervocalic g as gh (as in Spanish), intervocalic d as English voiced th (as in Spanish), j as in Spanish... They pronounce everything as in Spanish, like.
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lex1988Spain » 2011-10-09, 19:43

loqu wrote:Lex, I'm curious: does any of those dialects ever make it to appear on ETB or the radio? Or you can only hear batua on them?


They usually use "batua" on Tv and the Radio but if there's an interview and the interviewer speaks a dialect, he speaks in his dialect and the host in "batua". But as i said, Tv hosts and journalists usually use "batua".

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Prosper_Youplaboum » 2011-10-09, 19:52

They force themselves to speak batua, or are there people whose mothertongue is batua?
I'd love it if batua were only used in certain contexts and if the dialects survived for ever, even if only used in everyday life :)
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lex1988Spain » 2011-10-09, 20:03

Prosper_Youplaboum wrote:
The Basque of Spain sounds like Spanish and the Basque of France (called, "vasco-francés) sounds like French.


not those I heard, except some learners of course. The only thing that may make it sound French, is the French r, but most of the people I heard trill it, so it doesn't sound French. The pronunciation of the j changes according to the area (ʒ, dj, or j). Except for that, what did sound French in what you heard?

While the Spanish Basque speakers I heard pronounce z like English unvoiced th (as in Spanish), intervocalic g as gh (as in Spanish), intervocalic d as English voiced th (as in Spanish), j as in Spanish... They pronounce everything as in Spanish, like.


First of all, i'm not a Master in Linguistics but when i hear a Basque (from France) speaking Basque, i barely understand him. It's not just the French r but also the vowels, the accent, the intonation...everything makes you think he's french;) This dialect is very influenced by French.
For us, it's the most difficult dialect to understand.

As for the Spanish side: Excuse me but we do not pronounce z like English th (or like Spanish z or c). Our way to pronounce z doesn't exist neither in Spanish nor in English, but it's similar to an English s.
Until some years ago we pronounced the g like the Spanish g but Euskaltzaindia changed it, so now the Basque g is different comparing to the Spanish g, it's more similar to the German g. The Basque d...yes, it's like in Spanish. And to finish, there are two ways to pronounce the Basque j, one of them like in Spanish and the other one similar to the English or German j.

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lex1988Spain » 2011-10-09, 20:15

Prosper_Youplaboum wrote:They force themselves to speak batua, or are there people whose mothertongue is batua?
I'd love it if batua were only used in certain contexts and if the dialects survived for ever, even if only used in everyday life :)


Most of us learnt batua at school. If someone's mother tongue is Basque, it's not batua, it's some dialect (there can be exceptions). Batua is learnt at school. In my case, my mother tongues are Spanish and Basque. My father taught me Basque (Biscayan dialect). Then, at 3, i began learning batua at Primary school. I used it just in school, then at University and now just when i watch Tv. With my family i speak a dialect.

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Prosper_Youplaboum » 2011-10-09, 20:39

First of all, i'm not a Master in Linguistics but when i hear a Basque (from France) speaking Basque, i barely understand him. It's not just the French r but also the vowels,


the vowels are the same as in Southern Basque, a e i o u, except in Souletin where they have ü but it's a minority dialect. What differences have you heard?

the accent, the intonation...everything makes you think he's french;)


maybe it depends on the person too. When I hear French Basques speaking French, they have a strange accent to me, and I think they have the same accent in Basque. They have a Basque accent when speaking French. Maybe the Basque accent isn't the same in France and in Spain, but it's not sure it's because of French.

This dialect is very influenced by French.


there are several dialects in France, aren't there? Lower Navarrese, Labourdin and Souletin.

As for the Spanish side: Excuse me but we do not pronounce z like English th


maybe not you but I heard Spanish Basques doing it. But maybe they were non-native speakers, I don't know.

Most of us learnt batua at school. If someone's mother tongue is Basque, it's not batua, it's some dialect (there can be exceptions). Batua is learnt at school. In my case, my mother tongues are Spanish and Basque. My father taught me Basque (Biscayan dialect). Then, at 3, i began learning batua at Primary school. I used it just in school, then at University and now just when i watch Tv. With my family i speak a dialect.


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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lex1988Spain » 2011-10-10, 20:00

When i said the vowels, i meant the pronunciation of the vowels.
Spanish Basques pronounce z like the English th (when we speak Spanish). But i was talking about the Basque z. In Basque, the z is pronouced as an English s.
And yes, when i said the french dialect, i meant the 3 of them (the Basque dialect spoken in France). We call them just vasco-francés, knowing there are three different dialects in there.

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Prosper_Youplaboum » 2011-10-10, 21:43

When i said the vowels, i meant the pronunciation of the vowels.


Ok but what is different?

Spanish Basques pronounce z like the English th (when we speak Spanish). But i was talking about the Basque z. In Basque, the z is pronouced as an English s.


Yes but I said I heard Spanish Basques pronouncing the Basque z as English th. But again, these may be non-native speakers.

And yes, when i said the french dialect, i meant the 3 of them (the Basque dialect spoken in France).


Then you should say, the French dialects :)
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby TeneReef » 2011-11-21, 17:36

Basque and Galician sound like Spanish, even many people in Catalonia pronounce Catalan in the Spanish-speaking way (with only 5 vowels). It's called approximation, I guess. :?
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Lauren » 2012-04-21, 18:20

I think this woman has a very Basque accent. I don't think you'll think this sounds like Spanish. ;)

http://www.mp3upload.info/files/fDHkUY1335031888.html

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby Etxebunti » 2012-05-25, 14:21

Egun on deneri!
I live in Iparralde (French Basque Country), i'm a beginner in Euskara.
Regarding accents, for me the Basques from the north speak with an accent looking like french and the Southerners with an accent looking like spanish, it is always fun on the radio when the interviewer from Iparralde speaks to an interviewee from Hegoalde! You can spot the differences in pronounciation immediately.
If some of you want to listen to a basque radio : http://gureirratia.eu/
I don't know if the link was given in the forum already.

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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby TeneReef » 2012-05-25, 17:40

Most languages spoken in Spain sound like Spanish, except for Catalan and Mallorquín.
But Galician and Valencian sound very Spanish (Castillian that is)...
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Re: Why does Basque sound like Spanish?

Postby johnklepac » 2012-12-28, 23:21

My understanding is that Batua is a sort of Swahili amongst Basque dialect speakers, though East Africa obviously has many more people than Basque Spain and France. Nevertheless, Batua, like Swahili, appears to be used disproportionately widely considering how few native speakers it boasts.


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