Basque Class Update

I’ve been an official Basque learner for four months now so I figured it was time for a little update.  Months ago when I first started Basque classes I gave you all some insight into the Basque learning world:

Since that post, nothing about my routine has changed.  I still go to class Monday and Wednesday morning but I’ve began to feel more confident.  You see, I’m the only non-native Spanish speaker in the class and learning Basque through Spanish adds a whole other element to the learning process.  I went to class the first day not knowing a single person but slowly have made a few friends which has helped me so much also.  Every morning I meet up with my classmate M on the bus and I treasure our short 15 minute conversations.  She’s repeating the course and always offers to help with any doubts or questions I have.  We also take the bus after class and get to chat about what we understood and the homework we have for next class.  Then there’s S.  She’s been my savior and (along with the hubby) the person who has pushed me along and given me words of encouragement when I didn’t think I could continue.  She recently moved here from Madrid, married a Basque man and is learning the language for love too.  We like to talk about the craziness of living here in Basquelandia and being married to euskaldunas. And then of course there is Txoltxan, my professor.  He pushes me to try a little harder on the days that my brain doesn’t want to work and lets me slide with bad pronunciation and a mistake or two when he sees that I am truly making an effort.

As for the actual learning process it is slow and tedious.  I’ve come to realize that Basque is a language that needs a lot of time and even more patience.  There are so many details and verb conjugations that I have a hard time wrapping my head around it all.  I have a new found respect for my two Idahoan Basque sisters K & K who have learned the language better than I ever will.

We have now learned 4 aspektua (tenses): the present simple, present perfect, present continuous and future simple.  Trying to keep all of them straight and remember the structure for each one is enough to make me want to tear all my hair out.  AND THEN….in Basque we have something that  doesn’t exist in either Latin based languages or Anglo-Saxon based ones.  All verbs need both an auxiliary and main verb but the auxiliary verb can change depending on the elements of the sentence.  Here is a very basic example:

Ni garbitu naiz

Literally translates to: I clean am

but really means: I have cleaned myself  or I have washed up

This sentence uses the main verb garbitu (clean) and the auxiliary verb izan conjugated in the first person (naiz).

However, if you want to add an object to this sentence, let’s say for example your hands, the entire sentence structure has to change.

Nik eskuak garbitu ditut.

Literally translates to: I hands clean have.

but really means: I have washed my hands.

This sentence uses a different subject (Nik as opposed to Ni) and a different auxiliary verb ukan conjugated in the first person with a plural object (hands).

So, as you can see depending on if you add in an object or not the entire structure of the sentence can change.  And this is only one example in one tense!!  It’s enough to make my head swirl.

But I have already seen a huge improvement from four months ago.  I definitely understand more than before and being surrounded by the language every day helps without a doubt.  I know that when I started learning Spanish 15 years ago (!!!!) I didn’t understand even half of this within the first four months so I do have to pat myself on the back every once in a while.

Are you currently learning a foreign language?  Have you ever tried to learn a foreign language?  Would you consider learning a language for love?


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