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Basque Legends: An Essay on the Basque Language
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The dialect of these Alavese districts is included in the Biscayan. To resume, the Biscayan dialect. Of these arrondissements, of these provinces, none is entirely Basque in a linguistic point of view, except Guipuzcoa, Navarre is only half so, Alava only a tenth part.
Neither Bayonne, nor Pampeluna, nor Bilbao are Basque. This zone is most extensive in Navarre, but exists also in Alava and in Biscay. In France there is no analogous mixed zone; and, as M. A similar state of things is to be observed at Ochagavia in Salazar.
But this custom is not observed in the Roncalese villages of Uztarroz and Isaba, where the men among themselves speak indifferently Basque or Spanish. The preceding description justifies the opinion advanced at the beginning of this notice. The Basque is an agglutinative idiom, and must be placed, in a morphological point of view, between the Finnic family, which is simply incorporating, and the North American incorporating and polysynthetic families.
But we must not conclude thence that the Escuara, is a near relation either of the Finnic or of the Magyar, of the Algonquin or of the Irokese. The relationship of two or more languages cannot, in fact, be concluded merely from a resemblance of their external physiognomy. To prove a community of origin, it is indispensable that if compared at the same stage of development their principal grammatical elements should not only be analogous in their functions, but should also have a certain phonetic resemblance, in order to render the hypothesis of their original identity admissible.
It is better to abstain from asserting that such languages are derived from the same source, if the significant roots--which, after all, constitute the proper basis, the true originality of a language--should be found to be totally different. At present, no language has been discovered which presents any root-likeness to the Basque, analogous to that which exists. Nevertheless, there are in the world minds so devoted to the worship of their own fixed ideas, so smitten with their own metaphysical dreams, so full of faith in the necessity of the unity of language, that they have acquired the habit of torturing the radical elements of a language, and of making them flexible and variable to an inconceivable degree.