The use of Basque in public space has been steadily declining in northern Basque countries Uskal Herria

Members of the Sociolinguistic Cluster presented the results of a road survey on the use of language in Donostia. (Jon URBE | FOKU)

The sociolinguistic cluster presented the results of a road survey on the use of language. Olatz Altuna, Research Director, and Field Survey Manager Mayalen Inara, presented the main results of the survey conducted between September and October 2021. The study was conducted through observations of more than 600,000 people on the streets of Basque and 200,000 interviews. -Language region.

Basque Across the country, the use of Basque in public space has been the same for six years, at 12.6%. Taking the 1989 reference, this number increased by 1.8 points, but it should be noted that in 2006 it was 13.7%. The following graph shows the current percentage of language use in public places.

Depending on the province

It is the most widely spoken Basque language in the province of Gipuzkoa (31%). This is followed by Bizkaia with 9% usage, while the percentage is between 5% and 6% in Arab, Navarre and North Basque countries.

On the other hand, the use of Basque in Labor, Lower Navarre and Soule has been declining since 1997. Although it was 8.3% that year, Basque usage fell to 4.7% in the 2021 survey (3.6 points lower). , While French predominates 86.1% and Spanish 7.2%.

In terms of geographical area, comparisons of measurements taken since 2011 reveal a worrying fact in the northern Basque country: the decline observed in the lower Navarre and the Seoul. The utilization rate was 14.6% six years ago, compared to 10.5% in 2021. Note that Basque’s knowledge in the two regions is about 50%.

With almost the same results, the use of Basque language in urban areas of Beyonc অ্যা-Anglet-Bearetz, where Basque is rarely mastered, is 1.9%, 0.3 percentage points higher than in 2016. This small change also happened inside Labourd, the latest measure showing a rate of 5.7%.

Among the capitals, it is in Donostia that the use of Basque in public places is the highest, with 15.3%. Among others, the rates are between 2.5% and 4%. With 4.1%, Gasteiz ranks second, noting that the province of Araba is one of the least used in the Basque Country. The percentage is 3.5% in Bilbo and 2.7% in Irunia. Finally, it is Bayonne that has the lowest use of Basque in public places, with 2.5%.

Especially in children

On the other hand, in the last five years, the use of Basque among children has increased, if we consider the whole Basque-speaking region. The rate is 19.3% among 2-14 year olds, 12.5% ​​among 15-24 year olds, 11.5% among 25-64 year olds and 8.1% among 64 year olds.

In northern Basque, 9.3% of children and adolescents speak Basque, 4.2% adults and 2.9% adults. Thus, in the last five years, this habit has increased among the youth, while it has decreased among the adults.

As a result, children and young people use the Basque language the most, and adults and adults use the least. When children and adults are together, they use baskets more than being apart. In some areas, the use of Basque language by adults with children as conversationalists doubles or triples.

After all, the younger the Basque-speaking person, the more feminine the use of Basque in public spaces. In the elderly, males consume more bask than females.

Conference in June

The Basque Sociolinguistics Conference, organized by the Sociolinguistic Cluster on 22 June, will be an opportunity to analyze the results of the latest street survey on language use. Researchers, technologists, students, politicians and active Basque speakers will take advantage of the meeting to share knowledge and ideas. The event will be held in Bilbo, Bizkaiya Room, University of Basque Country UPV / EHU.

Also, this summer, the results of a street survey on language use will be presented on several international sites.

* Article published in and translated from Basque by editorial staff.

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