Friday, December 29, 2006

My First Language by Bernardo Atxaga

A short text from Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga:

For a brief period during my childhood, euskara, or Basque, was, for me, simply the language I used every day. I had no views about it, and I had no concerns as to its future. I called my father and my mother atta and ama, just as I called the rain ebi and the sun eguzki, for that is what euskara was for—naming people and things with the usual words. In that sense, I was no different from any of the other children who had, in the past, been born in my house, Irazune: they too, regardless of whether it was the twentieth century or the nineteenth or the eighteenth, had said atta, ama, ebi, and eguzki when they wanted to refer to father, mother, rain, or sun. It was the same for other children in my village, Asteasu, and for many others throughout the length and breadth of the Basque Country: we were all euskaldunak, that is, "people who possess euskara."
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