Basics 1

Basics 1

The NOR/Absolutive case

  • These first lessons introduce the main parts of the first case in Basque, the NOR/Absolutive case.
  • The NOR case is used with the subject of intransitive verbs (verbs without objects) and the object of transitive verbs(verbs with objects), which will be discussed later.

Noun cases

  • Basque nouns have four forms (Indefinite, Single definite, Plural definite and Proper names).
  • In this lesson, the Indefinite and the Proper names forms will be introduced.

Nor Case

  • Indefinite (no article)

    • Ending: (nothing)
    • Example: Etxe (house)
  • Proper names

    • Ending: (nothing)
    • Example: Mikel (a male name)

Basque names

  • In this lesson, four Basque names will be introduced:

    • Aitor (male name)
    • Mikel (male name)
    • Terese (female name)
    • Miren (female name)

Single Pronouns and IZAN (to be)

Single Pronouns

  • Ni (I)
  • Zu (You)
  • Hura (He, She, It)


  • Be aware, that Basque pronouns, like in Spanish, are not normally used, as you know the subject from the verb form. This means you will normally hear "Mikel naiz" instead of "Ni Mikel naiz" (I am Mikel). Exceptions would be when the speaker wants to emphasize a point, for example: I am Mikel, not Tom.
  • There is another pronoun "hi", which is used for informal 2d person, but it is complex and you are not likely to be on such friendly terms with native Basque speakers until you learn a lot more of the language, so it is not covered here.

Izan (to be)

  • Sentences in these beginning lessons will use the verb "Izan" ("to be"), which can be thought of as meaning "equal to".

  • So in the sentences "He is Mixel." and "The house is big." the nouns "He, Mixel and house" and the adjective "big" are all in the NOR/Absolutive case case in Basque, since "he" isn't doing anything to/with/for "Mixel" ("He = Mixel") and big is just describing the house ("house = big").

  • Izan is used for facts or qualities that are fairly permanent, fixed attributes of the subject.

  • Examples:

    • Mutila naiz. I am a boy.
    • Hura handia da. He is big.
    • Ni Italiarra naiz. I am Italian.

Single Simple Prest Izan Declination

  • The forms of Izan are irregular, and need to be memorized.

    • Ni naiz: I am
    • Zu zara: You (single) are
    • Hura da: He, She, It is

Affirmative sentence word order

The normal word order for an affirmative statement is Pronoun + Subject + verb.

  • Ni Mikel naiz. I am Mikel. (I Mikel am.) Bat(one): The word "bat" (one) is used as an adjective, so the accompanying noun has the Indefinite form, introduced above ("gizon" not "gizona"). It is used to emphasis the meaning of “one” or “a” as opposed to “the”.
  • Gizon bat naiz. - I am a/one man.
  • Gizona naiz. - I am the man.

Vocabulary Basics 1

  • gizon: man
  • emakume: woman
  • mutil: boy
  • neska: a/the girl
  • ni naiz: I am
  • zu zara: you are
  • hura da: he/she/it is
  • bat: one
  • kaizo: hello

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