Dialectal classification

In general terms, it should be pointed out that there has been a great coincidence when establishing boundaries of the general varieties of the Basque language, even though different criteria have been followed. After having difficulties in setting up dialectal boundaries, a detailed classification of the language emerged in the XIX century.

The first and only complete dialectal classification of the Basque language was produced by the Prince Luis Luciano Bonaparte. The work culminated with a printed version of the first dialectal map of the language (1863) whose usage is reflected in the intensity of colours. This masterpiece was created thanks to the great effort of the Prince who learnt the language and also reached a good command of all dialects from the data he collected on his trips to the Basque Country: conversations with local people, printed documents, manuscripts and also the information and translation of certain texts that he obtained, as a request, from his collaborators.

... 8 dialects, 25 sub-dialects and, at the same time, were almost divided into 50 varieties.

This classification, with the exception of some small changes, of which Bonaparte was aware, has been used until now and it comprises 8 dialects, 25 sub-dialects and, at the same time, were almost divided into 50 varieties. All these dialects were also divided into three big groups according to the affinities the dialects show. Thus, Group A is exclusively devoted to Biscayan. Group B gathers all central dialects: Guipuzcoan, Labourdin, High Northern Navarresse and High Southern Navarrese. Finally, Group C compiles the eastern dialects: Souletin, Low Eastern Navarrese and Low Western Navarrese.

The classification of Bonaparte has been followed with slight differences, taking into account two main reasons: firstly, the impact of the "Euskara Batua" had on other dialects and the fluctuating changes in society made unfeasible to establish an accurate classification, as it would mean to establish boundaries between social and spatial linguistic continuities. Secondly, from the point of view of coherence and methodology, the principal aims of this web page are, on the one hand, to offer an analyser devoted to diachronic texts of Bonaparte's Archive, and on the other hand, to present the digitalised edition of all his texts, based on Extensive Markup Language (XML).

  • Biscayan
    • Eastern
    • Western
    • From Guipuzcoa
    • Literary
  • Guipuzcoan
    • Northern
    • Southern
    • From Navarra
    • Litterary
  • Labourdin
    • Local
    • Mixed
    • Litterary
  • High Northern Navarrese
    • From Ultzama
    • From Baztanese
    • From Cinco Villas
    • From Araquil
    • From Araiz
    • From Guipuzcoa
    • Litterary
  • High Southern Navarrese
    • Eastern-Pamplonese
  • Aezcoan
  • Salacen
  • Roncalese
  • Souletin
  • Low Eastern Navarrese
    • Cize-Mixanese
    • From Adour
  • Low Western Navarrese
    • From Baigorri
    • From Labourd
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