Kaixo! I'm not sure if someone has already asked you this, but I've been studying Basque for about a year and I've noticed (and been told) that there are a lot of different dialects with their own unique features. I'm really interested in them, and I was wondering if you could explain what the main dialects are and some features of them (how things are pronounced/differences in spelling/different words). Eskerrik asko!
As you can see there are 5 big dialects in Euskal Herria - which is awesome considering how small this country is:
- Blue: western dialect
- Green: eastern dialect
- Red: Navarrese dialect
- Purple: Navarrese-labourtan dialect
- Orange: Souletin dialect
Standard Euskara (batua, the one new learners study) is almost 90% taken from the eastern dialect.
The main differences are mostly pronunciation wise, let’s see 3 easy examples.
Eastern dialect: Alaitz eta Maider (Oiartzun, Gipuzkoa)
Examples in this song: nun instead of nuEn, S sounds almost like X, artEAN becomes artIAN, any T after I instantly becomes TT, clear difference between “ts”, “tz” and “tx”, etc.
Western dialect: Gatibu (Gernika, Bizkaia)
Western dialect - also called Biscayan - REALLY changes, not only pronunciation wise, but also verbs and vocabulary. In this song we can see some examples: dekogu instead of daukagu, naz instead of naiz, final As become Es, almost no hiatus (begiXek instead of begiek, bixotz instead of bihotz), korri instead of gorri, kuatrolatasIEN instead of kuatrolatasEAN, difference between “ts”, “tx” & “tz” not so clear, etc.
Souletin dialect: Maddi Oihenart (Barkoxe, Zuberoa)
Very French sounding, sound “ü” is non-existant in the Southern dialects (dütüt instead of ditut, etc), no difference between R and RR, no palatalization of L after I, ondUan instead of ondOan, etc.
We hope you can notice some of the differences ^_^