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By William F. Haddican.

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Extra info for Aspects of language variation and change in contemporary Basque

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Specifically, in these works, Larramendi sought to show that every Latin lexical item and case had a correlate in Basque, and that Basque was therefore equally suited to abstract expression (Urla 1987:62). Some of the specific claims made by the Apologists seem fanciful from a contemporary perspective. Larramendi, for example, proposed that Basque was one of the languages of Babel and moreover was the language spoken by the angels in Paradise (Urla 1987:64). I am not aware of any evidence that the efforts of the Apologists changed perceptions of Basque or stemmed language shift in that era.

A principal instrument of this policy was public schools, which were developed especially following the advent of the monarchy of Charles III in 1759. In public schools throughout the monarchy, Spanish was designated as the official language of instruction, and use of Basque was apparently frequently prohibited (Jimeno Jurío 1998:64, 148-171). As the eighteenth century Jesuit priest and Basque Apologist Kardaberaz noticed, this policy had important consequences for speakers of Basque. There has never been a less fortunate language among mankind than Basque, since, as if it were not our native and original language, as if speaking Basque was the worst of sins, they want to remove it from society, prohibiting it in schools with rings and marks, with beatings and punishments.

In particular, the importance of traditional economic activities such as agriculture and fishing in which Basque had predominated were gradually eclipsed by industry and trade, in which Spanish was more frequently used (Euskaltzaindia 1977:290). 22 renaissance following the end of the second Carlist war in Spain in 1876. One of the most prominent organizations in this renaissance was the Asociación Euskara de Navarra (Basque Association of Navarre) led by Arturo Campión. Campión and his followers raised public awareness of Basque’s decline and were among the first to articulate an understanding of the cause of language shift: The Basque [speaker] is losing ground.

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