History and evolution

many factors contributed to form the Basque language as a pluri-dialectal language

The dialects of the Basque language have been classified since the first written account of Basque: ancient inscriptions found in Aquitania from Roman times, fragments from the first literary documents, texts that splash a great many personal names and toponyms in romance language and forms that the Basque language adopts in its unity - they all show a rich diversity which is linked to a certain geographic classification. The texts also exhibits the lexicon that foreign travellers compiled when they went past the Basque Country. Nonetheless, the most convincing testimony about the language can be found in Basque writers, who were aware of the limited communication their dialectal work pieces would lead to.

Despite the reduced territories the Romans left after their occupation, many factors contributed to form the Basque language as a pluri-dialectal language: the late development of written Basque literature, the lack of a prestigious variety which would have an influence on the rest of the dialects and the absence of educational, administrative and communicative institutions.

Since then, the development of the language and the pressure from the surrounding Romance languages have contributed into a bigger division of the language, specially during the last centuries. Nevertheless, regarding diatopic varieties, not many changes were found since the old tribal and subsequent ecclesiastic divisions correspond with the current dialectal classification.

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