euskaldun berri

studying the Basque language, learning about Basque culture


Word of the Week

Word of the Week: bakardade

Bakardade: solitude; isolation / soledad; aislamiento

Does mid-winter make you long for some alone time, too? Time to think, daydream, recharge, or just be? Bakardade means “solitude”, but in certain contexts it can lean more towards meaning “isolation”, which for some might have a slightly negative connotation. A synonym is bakartasun.


Word of the Week: irakurri

irakurri: to read / leer

This is one of my favorite words and favorite activities. What better way to spend a few hours of a rainy February day than with a good book? Really, what better way to spend some time every day? It’s exercise for your brain and also a great way to relax.

Word of the Week: bihotz

bihotz: heart / corazón

Voted one of the most beautiful words in Euskara in a 2010 survey by Eusko Ikaskuntza, it can also be a girl’s name. It’s the organ associated with emotions, especially love, and also with character (having a good heart).

There are many sayings in Basque with this word and one I like is bihotza eta begiak beti gazte. Translated literally it means “The heart and eyes always young.” An equivalent in English could be “the heart never grows old.” (source) It’s a lovely thought and I hope is true for me in the future.

Word of the Week: maitasun

maitasun: love / amor

Yes, it’s February, so I’m going with a word associated with this month’s holiday. Maitasuna is the love you feel, while maitea is what you would call your loved one to say “love”, “dear”, “darling”. Is it just me, or do lots of the words that end in -tasun sound lovely?

Word of the Week: putzu

putzu: puddle / charco

With how much it’s been raining here, I’ve seen a lot of these recently. A saying in Euskara is putzu txikitik atera ta aundiagoan sartu, which means “to come out of a small puddle and enter a bigger one”. This could have several interpretations. One that comes to my mind is telling a lie to get out of a situation and ending up in an even worse jam. An equivalent in Spanish could be “Salir de Guatemala y entrar en Guatepeor”. (source)

Word of the Week: zintzur

zintzur: throat / garganta

This is a body part to take good care of this winter, especially if it’s cold where you are. I came across this word while reading Xolak badu lehoien berri. When I looked it up, I found that zintzur-korapilo (literally “throat knot”) and zintzur-sagar (literally “throat apple”) both mean “Adam’s apple”. I like it.

Word of the Week: hotz

hotz: cold / frío

It hasn’t snowed yet this winter where I live, but the temperature’s been dipping to near freezing. I’ve been wearing jackets inside and reading and studying under blankets in bed. To say “I’m cold”, there are two options: hotzak nago or hotz naiz. An appropriate winter saying in Euskara is Gaur hotza, bihar izotza, etzi elurra, banuen beldurra, which means “Today cold, tomorrow ice, day after tomorrow snow, I’m already scared” / “Hoy frío, mañana hielo, pasado nieve, ya tenía miedo”.

Word of the Week: urte

urte: year / año

The very first Word of the Week of this new year (and of this blog) is urte. A small word, but full of promise for all that the new year might bring and all the adventures, experiences, and learning that can fit into a year. To wish someone a happy new year, the phrase is Urte berri on!, literallyYear new good!” Happy 2016!

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