The Basque Language Landscape – Speakers: 1,063,700 (first language: 665,700) in 2006
Population of Spain: 40,491,051 (July 2008 est.) (July 2008 est.)|
Languages (Spain): Castilian Basque (official) 74%, 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally
Internet country code (Spain): .es
Internet users (Spain): 18.578 million (2006)
Population of France: 64,057,790 including 60,876,136 in metropolitan France (July 2008 est.)
Languages (France): French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects and languages (Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish); overseas departments: French, Creole patois
Internet country code (France): .fr
Internet users (France): 31.295 million; 30.838 million (metropolitan France) (2007)
Basque (native name: euskara) is the language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain and the adjoining region of South-Western France.
It is spoken by approximately a quarter of the Basques, with its stronghold in the contiguous area from central Biscay through Guipuscoa, northern Navarre and parts of Labourd to sparsely populated Lower Navarre and Soule. Until reintroduced into the education system, it had not been spoken in most of Álava, in western Biscay, or in the southern half of Navarre in the recent past. Out of a total of nearly 2,800,000 Basques, it is estimated that some 632,000 are Basque language speakers, of which approximately 566,000 live in the Spanish Basque country, with the rest residing in the French part.
The Basque language has been standardized and updated by the end of the 20th century by means of its Batua version. This standard is mainly used in the Spanish Basque country, and to a lesser extent in the Northern Basque Country due to the limited availability of schools teaching in Basque or as a subject. Nevertheless, there are six main Basque dialects, comprising Bizkaian, Gipuzkoan, and Upper Navarrese (in Spain), and Lower Navarrese, Lapurdian, and Zuberoan (in France). However, the dialect boundaries are not congruent with political boundaries.
The Basques occupy a Spanish autonomous community known as the Basque Country (Euskadi), which has significant cultural and political autonomy, the Northern Basque Country in the French department of the Pyrennées Atlantiques, and the autonomous community of Navarre in Spain, which together make up the historical Basque Country (Euskal Herria). The Standard Basque name for the language is euskara. In dialectal forms it is known as euskara, euskera, eskuara, or üskara.
Sources: CIA World Factbook re France, CIA World Factbook re Spain and Wikipedia – Content available under GNU Free Documentation License
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