Ukan 1-1

33. Ukan/Edun 1-1

33.1 Ukan - Ergative case/NORK

  • There are two names for the auxiliary verb used for non-conjugated transitive verbs, Ukan and Edun.
  • You will see one or the other or both in literature, but they refer to the same set of words.
  • Transitive verbs are those that can answer the question “what”, and Ukan/Edun is used, throughout the region,
  • as the auxiliary verb for transitive verbs, in a similar manner to how IZAN is used with non-transitive verbs.
  • Ukan/Edun can also be used to mean “to have”, and is a synonym with Eduki, which is common in Spain, but seldom used in France.
  • Eduki will be covered later

Auxiliary verb Ukan/Edun conjugated

  • Ukan/Edun with a single object is du- with the endings -t, -zu, -. -gu, -zue, -te
  • (nik dut, zuk duzu, hark du, guk dugu, zuek duzue, haiek dute)
  • This is a pattern you will see with other conjugated transitive verbs.
  • Verbs used with Ukan/Edun follow the same form as with Izan.
  • For the near past, the dictionary form is combined with Ukan/Edun. For example Nik egin dut. I did it.
  • Word order in Basque can be very flexible, but normally for transitive verbs it is Subject-Object-Verb (SOV).
  • As with intransitive verbs, when adjectives are used, they follow the noun,
  • the noun doesn’t change and the grammar suffix is added to the last adjective in the noun phrase.
  • Gaur nik poltsa urdina ireki dut. Today I opened the blue purse.
  • Subject: Nik, Object: Noun: poltsa Adjective: urdina, Verb: Main Verb: ireki Auxiliary verb: dut.

Near past

  • As with intrasitive, the near past is an event that happened in the present time from, usually that day
  • for example: Guar nik euskaraz hitz egin dut.
  • Today I spoke Basque.
  • As with intransitive verbs, when used in the negative. Didn’t do something, ez goes with the noun.
  • Nik ez dut liburua irakurri. I didn’t read the book.

The NORK case:

  • The chart below shows the main parts of the NORK-NOR (ergative -absolutive) case in Basque.
  • The NORK (ergative) case is used with the subject of transitive verbs (verbs which have objects)
  • while the object of the verb is in the NOR (absolutive) case,
  • which is the case used for the subject of intransitive verbs, that was covered earlier.
  • Example: Txakurra gaztea da. The dog is young.(txakurra is the intransitive verb subject)
  • Mikelek txakurra dauka. Michael has the dog.(txakurra is the transitive verb object, while Mikelek is the subject)

Nork Case

  • Indefinite
  • -(e)k
  • mendik
  • Single definite
  • -ak
  • mendiak
  • Plural definite
  • -ek
  • mendiek
  • Proper names
  • -(e)k
  • Mikelek


  • As was covered in module 20, Because 1, the Basque word for any is the suffix -rik.
  • When using -rik, you just add -rik to the no article form. Ex: diru = money, dirurik. = any money.
  • As with English, -rik is normally used with negative sentences. The subject doesn’t have any of the object. Also note -rik makes the object single.

Ukan/Edun 1-1

  • Note that the following are translated as have/has, but remember they also can be used as auxiliary verbs
  • and that is how they will be used in this lesson for the sentences.
  • Nik dut: I have (single object)
  • Zuk duzu: You have (single object)
  • Hark du: He/she/it has (single object)
  • Guk dugu: We have (single object)
  • Zuek duzue: You (plural) have (single object)
  • Haiek dute: They have (single object)
  • ireki: opened
  • itxi: closed
  • jaso: received
  • garbitu: cleaned

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