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Edukia • Basic basque dictionary

Basque is our language. Basque and Spanish are both official languages, but there are also many others spoken and shared more privately in Hernani, by people who have come from other towns.

60% of the population speaks Basque and another 20% can understand it but cannot speak it. Hernani is a member of the UEMA association, consisting of towns where most of the population can communicate in Basque Even so, Basque continues to be a minority language in Hernani, with the dominance of Spanish being evident.

The council and the people of the town, sensitive about the need to restore the position of the Basque language, are working actively so that Hernani can be a municipality where people can effortlessly live in Basque, go shopping in Basque, have fun and work in Basque.

It would be great if visitors coming to Hernani, to discover our history, heritage and culture, and enjoy all corners of the town, could appreciate our language, listen to it, experience it and savour it. So why not learn some words to use?

Here’s a little dictionary with words that appear on the website and a booklet made by euskaltzaleen topagunea with basic expressions that could be useful for you.

Thank you for visiting and for your interest.

  • Ongi etorri: an expression used to greet people who have just arrived. Welcome
  • Euskal Herria: a region formed by Araba, Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Lapurdi, Nafarroa Behera, Nafarroa Garaia and Zuberoa
  • Hego Euskal Herria: Hegoalde, the Basque Country to the south of the border
  • Ipar Euskal Herria: Iparralde, the Basque Country to the north of the border
  • Hiribildu: town. Name that throughout history has been given to some towns under special rules determined by those exercising authority
  • Kalea: street
  • Enparantza: square
  • Plaza: square
  • Pasealeku: avenue
  • Parke: park
  • Ibilbide: path, route
  • Leku: place, location, spot, space
  • Bidegorri: path specially for bicycles, cycle lane
  • Dorretxe: tower house
  • Gudari: soldier in the Basque Army, Eusko Gudarosteto, who fought in the Spanish Civil War
  • Baserritar: farmer. A person who lives and works in a farmhouse
  • Auzolan: neighbourhood work, community work
  • Txotx: stick or wedge to close the hole in the barrel. It gives its name to the annual cider tasting season and also to the cry emitted by the person in charge of opening the barrel
  • Barrika: barrel, cask
  • Kupel: vat, cask
  • Pintxo: especially in bars, a little snack whose ingredients are usually served on a slice of bread or a skewer
  • Jai: party
  • Festa: party
  • Euskal jaiak: literally, Basque festivals. Traditional and/or folklore festivals that are usually held at the end of summer in many Basque towns
  • Uda: summer
  • Kalejira: musical parade, a parade that takes place in festivals, playing music from street to street
  • Bertsolari: versifiers, who improvise or compose verses, bersolari
  • Bertso: stanza, group of verses or couplet. These are the stanzas sung by the bertsolaris
  • Bertsolaritza: profession of improvising verses, the art of improvising verses, bersolarism
  • Txistu: Basque wind instrument made up of a wooden tube with two holes in the front and one in the back, which is generally played accompanied by a drum or danbolin
  • Txistulari: person who plays the txistu
  • Txalaparta: an old Basque instrument made up of two boards that are played with some short sticks or makilas
  • Txalapartari: person who plays the txalaparta
  • Dantzari: person who dances, especially in a dance group
  • Maskuri: round bag filled with air and used as a toy, to hit or to provide decoration in parties. They are made out of animal bladders
  • Trikitixa: diatonic button accordion. Instrument strongly rooted in Basque popular music. It is normally played together with the tambourine
  • Ikastola: primary or secondary school that teaches classes in Basque


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