Dialects

On this page you will find the dialects of the areas and locations as two types of classification: traditional classification of Louis Bonaparte Loucien Koldo Zuazo current classification. By clicking on each of them, may find the description of the dialect and the towns belonging to it.

Roncalese

This dialect was spoken in the seven hamlets of the Roncal valley (Roncal, Garde, Burgui, Isaba, Uztarróz, Vidángoz and Urzainqui. Nowadays it is a dead tongue (the last speaker, Fidela Bernat, deceased, 1991).

EIn the original classification made by prince Bonaparte the Roncal was considered as a variety of the Souletin dialect ("Spanish Souletin") but it was subsequently amended by Resurreción María de Azkue who cataloged it as an autonomous dialect. This line has also been followed by the Basque General Dictionary.

Roncal is, in fact the dialect which is most different from all the Basque dialects.
This is principally due to its geographical isolation and it is manifest in its unusual combination of archaic and innovative language, as generally occurs in marginal dialects.

Nevertheless, the dialect has been quite well-studied because, precisely because of its precarious existence, it was given more attention than other more vigorous dialects. There exists a lot of written material in Roncal: Biblical translations (Hualde Mayo, the parish priest from Vidángoz), collected letters (from Mariano Mendigacha, in Vidángoz), lots of transcribed material from the oral tradition (especially from Koldo Artola) vocabulary listing and grammatical works etc.

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Oddly enough, the first known text written in this form is an "reniego" - an apostasy formulae - which originated in Burgui and which was literally transcribed during a witchcraft proceeding held in 1596 (Florencio Idoate, Witchcraft in Navarra and its Documentation, 1978, p302.). Even at that time it seems that that Basque dialect was not easy to grasp.

Long before its demise, it seems that there existed a sort of uneven bilingualism in the Roncal area (a characteristic also shared by the other Pyrennes┤ valleys) due to the fact that the men shared a tendency to speak to one another in Spanish from habits acquired in their spending long periods with their flocks in the Bardenas area, while the women continued to remain much more Basque speaking.

Roncal belongs to the mixed zone.

We wish to acknowledge the inestimable help given by Koldo Artola in getting material (the first recording) as well as in interpreting and transcribing both recordings.

Outside of the general character of spoken Basque, Roncalese stands apart from the standard forms in the following features:

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Morphology (verbal, nominal) Phonetics, Lexical Items and Syntax.

MORPHOLOGY

VERBAL

1-The verbal nouns are made by -tan (the general norm -ten):erraitan, egitan xoaitan, etc. Also xoaitako, and xoaitara (>-tra):

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Xatan bitur anitx

Ekutan balin bazein ehin

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Eta gero gizonak egitan zeia aigaria...

Umiak Franziara ezpartiña egitra

Although -tzen appears in all the dialects, here is completely missing:

faltatan balin bazen zerbait, pues atziri! Atziri!

Eragutan balin banien... zomait gaiza

Pues gentan zeia karabineroak keben

2-In these verbal nouns the forms reappear in the Roncal dialect as -i- (xoaiten, emoitan) characteristics of Basque from Iparralde and in part of the Northern High Navarrese (but unknown to the Southern High Navarrese and to the Pyrennes speakers adjoining the Roncal):

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

3-The morpheme nork of the first personal singular (standard Basque -t: dut, dakit) presents an archaic form -d or - r (according to Bonaparte it was an intermediate sound between -d and -r whatever that may mean to say) :dur/dud, dakir/dakid:

Xatan bitur anitx

Nik ez dakiar nola erakasi al gunien

entelegatu duna zer erran duran?

Eztura erraitan?

4-A special type of allocution of respect exists in the Roncal dialect, the zuketz, which is also common to the Souletin and Lower Navarrese dialects, but unknown in the peninsular Basque country.

5--a- appears in the past tense form of the synthetics:

Baia ordian mitilak zaudia oletan

Tio korrek bizakin... bide

6-Just as in Salazar and Valcarlos, the morpheme of the third person plural transitive is -e (standard Basque -te): dei, zein (allocution zeia) `they have, they had´:

Ekutan balin bazein ehin

Ezi mitilek ez bizein nahi

banek egoixtan zeia kastaña, beste banek inzagur, beste bat... sagar! eta deiru ere bai

7-The morpheme of the second person plural of the transitives is -zei (standard Basque -zue):

Bordaureki eta guzietarik; zer ustezei?

8-The prefix causal relative bait- has the form bit- in the Roncal dialect:

Xatan bitur anitx

Ezi mitilek ez bizein nahi

Tio korrek bizakin... bide

9- As in the Salazar dialect, the past tense of izan "to be" has become regularized in -za- (<izan): nintzan, zintzan, gintzan:

Mendian! xoaitan ginzenian trabajatra

But sometimes we can doubt with the more common forms:

Xoaitan ginenian gaiaz zakuto bateki

10-In the conditionals, a root form -iro is used and this is unknown to the peninsular Basque country, being generally syncopated: droker etc.

11-The verbal morpheme -tu would seem to have a variant -tun (although, perhaps this could be simply a sporadic phenomenon):

Baratun gizia muga...

Eta eltun gizia punto batra

12- The future of the verb is made by the suffix -en even in those ending in a vowel:

Igarrien ginzela, que ya podríamos pasar

NOUNS

13-The additive is -ara (cf. Salazarese and Souletin dialect: ala) as against a -ra in all the other dialects. This suffix behaves the same as a locative -en; that is to say, as if it began with a consonant: mendiara, bordara (like mendian, bordan) butlurreara, with the union vowel -e- (like lurrean):

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Guziak mendiara

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Bat lurriaraino

Nevertheless in the demonstratives -at is used, like in the continental Basque:

"Esta ez´ztei xuan korrat! xi´ztei konat!

Korrat dun peligro andi!

14-The sociative is in -eki (standard -ekin):

Pues gero ni aziendareki mendiala

Aitatameki solo

Guazen aingurieki/arkanxalieki

15-The demonstratives show an initial k- just like in the Salazarese (aezkoan g-):

Orai artian bai, eztakiar, daudenak korietan.

Orai keben

Agian ehin, edo berrehin edo kolaxet, txiki

Enaguak eta bordauak korradraino

"Esta ez´ztei xuan korrat! xi´ztei konat!

ide kontarik

Kuek gisa! Kuen gisa ez

Eta kan emoitan zeia...

Tio korrek bizakin... bide

But in marginal cases, like the pronoun hori for the polite/formal, form ┤you┤ we can find forms without -k, perhaps influence of other dialects:

Onki ta horrek?

16-The possessive ene continues in normal use, having been taken out of its original function in most of the dialects:

Eta ni xoaitan zrenian ene aitatamak ordeñatra

17-In words such as artzai, arrai etc. the Roncal dialect always shows the form as -ai where it departs from the s and French-Basque (-ain) and coincides with all the other central peninsular dialects (except the Baztanese).

18-Like the Southern High Navarrese and the Salazarese and Lower Navarrese it distinguishes between nor and nork in the plural declination (-ak/-ek):

Ezi mitilek ez bizein nahi

banek egoixtan zeia kastaña, beste banek inzagur, beste bat... sagar! eta deiru ere bai

But sometimes we can see doubts, perhaps caused by linguistic erosion:

Eta gero gizonak egitan zeia aigaria...

Pues gentan zeia karabineroak keben

19-The Roncal dialect makes free use of syntagma in the indefinite, even in those cases where it would be impossible within most of the dialects (archaisms): oskireki, bordaureki, klaboreki:

Bordaureki eta guzietarik; zer ustezei?

banek egoixtan zeia kastaña, beste banek inzagur, beste bat... sagar! eta deiru ere bai

Eta xoaitan gitia oskireki eta klaboreki et´oro

Korrat dun peligro andi!

20-The nondik case in plural and indefinite is made by -tarik just as in Southern High Navarrese, in Baztan and Ultzama :

Bordaureki eta guzietarik; zer ustezei?

bide kontarik

21-Although in all other cases the suffix is -ti(k), in the place-names the -rik reappears (this is an archaism):

Bat gunia ta xin gizia Uruñarik

22-The noraino is made with a strange suffix -adraino, -aradraino (the first element is -ara without a doubt) The -d- is a leftover of the verbal flexion *daino (<*edin), without doubt, which, according to Michelena is present in this morpheme:

Enaguak eta bordauak korradraino

Eta Zaragozadraino

hasta mayo, pasábamos, maiatzaradraino

However the more general form -raino also appears:

Bat lurriaraino

PHONETICS

23-The most noticeable characteristic of the Roncal dialect is that the occlusive does not sound after an audible sound. This is also found in the Salazarese e.g.: hanti, kebenko, onki, etc:

Onki ta horrek?

Baso batentako

Eta eltun gizia punto batra

Eta amaborz urtetan oiltun zeia... Franziara, niri

Aber onki egitan dugunez ezpartiña

Eta bueltatu zeia atziri, bortia ganti, pa España

laguntu zeia neskaxo... gaxa

24-The diphthong au becomes at times ai as happens in Souletin: gai, gaiza, jeina:

Xoaitan ginenian gaiaz zakuto bateki

Eragutan balin banien... zomait gaiza

25-And in parallel also with eu to ei:

Ekutan balin bazein ehin

Ehin duro kajonian, z(r)ia abrats,

26-The loss of a vowel in the core of some words is very frequent (syncope ):

*En apelativos (abrats, obro, Erribra, abre etc):

Ehin duro kajonian, z(r)ia abrats,

Bizi nun ni hogeitalaur urte obro ezik ama

ene tenpran, urte batez, utzu guntia

*In the declination and conjugation cases: -tra (<-tera), -truk (-<turik) zren (<ziren), zra (<zara). But cf -tarik always without syncope:

Mendian! xoaitan ginzenian trabajatra

Umiak Franziara ezpartiña egitra

Eta ni xoaitan zrenian ene aitatamak ordeñatra

Etse guzietra

Ezpartiñaren egitra

"Esta ez´ztei xuan korrat! xi´ztei konat!

27- A characteristic of the Roncal dialect (and of Souletin dialect) are vocal the assimilations such as the uturri (< iturri), Uruña (<Iruña) type: i...u, e...u > u...u: Uturri, gaztulu, ainguru, bagunu (<baginu o bagenu):

Guazen aingurieki/arkanxalieki

Bat gunia ta xin gizia Uruñarik

ene tenpran, urte batez, utzu guntia

Though we can also find the opposite assimilation (in favour of i):

Baia ordian mitilak zaudia oletan

28-The hiatus -ea- is pronounced -ia- as in many other of the dialects.:

Orai artian bai, eztakiar, daudenak korietan.

Ehin duro kajonian, z(r)ia abrats,

Mendian! xoaitan ginzenian trabajatra

Umiak Franziara ezpartiña egitra

But sometimes there are hesitations:

Gore erregiaren/Xinko Semearen/adorazera

29-The hiatus -oa-, on the other hand, seems to maintain itself better:

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Although at times this is heard as -ua-:

Guazen aingurieki/arkanxalieki

30-The hiatus -ua- is pronounced -ia- just like in Souletin dialect and a part of the Lower Navarrese: buria, gunien (<*gunuen, cf. conditional bagunu), guntien (<*guntuen) guzia (<*guzua, main theme guzu, cf. -in the declension gutzutik etc. in the relative form dien…dien (<duen, cf free form du):

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Guziak mendiara

Baia ordian mitilak zaudia oletan

Nik ez dakiar nola erakasi al gunien

Etsokandria emoiten diena ogia

Eta bueltatu zeia atziri, bortia ganti, pa España

paper batan, dozena... guntienak

31-In words such as jan, joan, jautsi, etc. the initial sound is as also is the case with Lower Navarrese, Salazarese, and part of the Southern High Navarrese - x-: i.e. xan, xoan, etc:

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Xatan bitur anitx

Gore erregiaren/Xinko Semearen/adorazera

The Spanish "j" can only be heard in recent loanwords:

Ehin duro kajonian, z(r)ia abrats,

But not in ancient ones:

Guazen aingurieki/arkanxalieki

32-The Roncal dialect scarcely contracts in the declination. Words such as amaren, amareki, etc can be heard just as they are written:

Pues gero ni aziendareki mendiala

Lau pezetareki bueltatu Uztarrozera

33-Vocal harmony does not exist.

34-The romance suffix -ón, like in the Southern High Navarrese and like most of the Northern High Navarrese has been adapted as -on in contrast to the more common adaptation of oi(n): kajona, montona, millona... etc:

Ehin duro kajonian, z(r)ia abrats,

Orai millonak

35-The changes that the verbal prefix -bait- produces (Roncal: beit-/bit-) when an inflection is added, are found to be different to the standard form, and the same as in the Southern High Navarrese:

Xatan bitur anitx

Bitago anix lan mendian

Ezi mitilek ez bizein nahi

Tio korrek bizakin... bide

36-There is no automatic palatal after i:

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Bat lurriaraino

Xoaitan ginenian gaiaz zakuto bateki

Eta Zaragozadraino

Xoaitan gitun hidiara

Ezi mitilek ez bizein nahi

Palatal sounds (ll, tt, ñ) can only be heard in diminutive forms or loanwords:

Orai millonak

Eta fajoak eramaitan guntia burian llarrainiara

Umiak Franziara ezpartiña egitra

Eta ni xoaitan zrenian ene aitatamak ordeñatra

LEXICON

The Roncal dialect is one which is characterized by its lexicon, as in its other features.

37-On the one hand it uses many forms and terminations which are exclusively its own, or shared exclusively with Souletin dialect, as, for example, in: ekun " to have" (cf. continental Basque, ukhan, ukhen) erkin "to take out", txiki "little", hiror "three", ñotto `pequeño´, bana `someones´, borta `door´, aigari `dinner´, deiru `dinero´, intzagur `walnut´, etse `home´, emon `give´ (like in Biscayan dialect), ler `pine´, oiltu `send´, atziri `back´, izari ´put´, gentu `take off´, ganti `through´ (souletin, Low Navarrese gainti, gaindi):

38-It also shares many terminations with the other Pyrennes dialects of Navarre (Salazarese and Lower Navarrese) ele word, and ele erran `hablar´ (cf. aezcoano elekatu `conversar´), baia ´pero´, eur `nadie (salacenco ior), eragu ´traer´, igari `pasar´.

39-Other characteristic terminations from the Roncal dialect are in reality archaisms once extensive among Basque speakers and which continued to be used in this valley: kaur ┤east┤, laur `four´, ola `cabin´, solo `only´(cf. Leizarraga solament).

40-In addition, the Roncal dialect is characterized by its western leaning, that is to say, that it shares a large part of its lexicon and its variational lexicon with the continental Basque speakers: zomat `how much´, egotzi `to throw´, orai `now´, aitzin in front´, gibel `behind´, xin `comer´, artio `until´, baratu `to stay´, bortu `mountain, Pyrenees´.

SYNTAX

41-As well as the respectful treatment of the zuketz, there was also in use in the Roncal dialect, a form of respectfulness similar to the Spanish form, with a pronoun horrek (=formal you) and with a third person conjugation. The same form of pronoun (cf. the demonstrative korrek) would seem to indicate an importation from other dialects:

Onki ta horrek?

42-The object of the verbal nouns can go in the genitive form:

Gore erregiaren/Xinko Semearen/adorazera

Ezpartiñaren egitra

43-The verbal interrogative suffix -a exists as it does in Souletin dialect and Lower Navarrese:

entelegatu duna zer erran duran?

Eztura erraitan?

44-The comparatives are made from the particle ezik prefixed at the termination of comparison (cf. the Basque from the Barranca with its use of ze):

Bizi nun ni hogeitalaur urte obro ezik ama

45-In the absolute indirect interrogatives the suffix -nez is used as it also is in Salazarese and Lower Navarrese:

Aber onki egitan dugunez ezpartiña

46- The relatives have a tendency to make themselves subordinate. This could be due to a Spanish influence, but the same trait appears constantly in the letters of Mendigacha, and in fact, is like to be due to an archaism (cf. Leizarrage and others…. anhitz Saindu lo ceunçanen gorputzac iaiqui citecen. y similares):

Eta tio eramaitan guniena lagun

Etsokandria emoiten diena ogia

paper batan, dozena... guntienak

Town Maps Records
Roncal 0