A Basque in Boise

Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there

Learning Basque is a challenging process, but then again, learning a new  language always is. It takes time, effort, dedication and passion, especially at the beginning, when you come face to face with new words and new structures that seem, basically, impossible. However, the rewards that come with improving your skills and expanding your vocabulary as you continue to study far exceed the pain.

Since I started learning Basque this second time around in Boise, I’ve come across many useful websites and tools that have made learning, speaking, and writing in Basque much easier. Some of you might already be familiar with a few, but I thought a list with the links would be helpful. Although some websites are in English, other resources are written in Basque or Spanish. Fortunately, we have Google Translate, which might not be perfect but it will help you understand the main ideas.


Basque<>Spanish online dictionary. This is the one I use the most. You get the translation of the word as well as the word used in a sentence, which makes it easier to understand it in context.

Morris Student Plus
Basque<>English Dictionary. I think it is a bit harder to read the results, and sometimes it won’t find the word I need, but overall it is a very good resource for English speakers with no knowledge of Spanish.

Labayru Hiztegia
Basque<>Spanish Dictionary, also available as an app from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Lexicography has long been a major activity at Labayru Fundazioa. They study words and phraseological units taking into account their semantic, syntactic and paradigmatic relationships within the lexicon.

Labayru Hiztegia is a totally rooted project in Labayru Fundazioa. This bilingual Basque-Spanish, Spanish-Basque dictionary is normative with regard to Bizkaia Basque. It comprises an enormous western dialect lexicon and its Unified Basque correspondences. Their lexicography department team has compiled and exhaustively analysed the oral register of the language together with the repertoire of classical sources from written texts. The dictionary offers a rich, practical corpus to anyone requiring access to natural, expressive Basque.

The phraseological dictionary Labayru Hiztegi Fraseologikoa is another project underway. Phrases are fixed expressions that take on a meaning more specific than or otherwise not predictable from the sum of the meanings of its component parts when used independently. They are also expressive linguistic resources often used in the common language. The correspondences between languages tend to differ, as each language opts for a representative image of the idea to be expressed.

Their team of lexicographers makes detailed studies of every word or phrase, and each entry includes variants, different meanings, linguistic contexts, examples, stylistic and grammatical observations, synonyms, and so on.

UZEI dictionary of synonyms
Type in a Basque word inside the box and the click on the magnifiying glass to get a list of synonyms.

List of Spanish <> Basque dictionaries

Euskara dictionary for cellphones
I haven’t tried them yet, but they seem interesting. I just started using the Euskeraz ikasi app for the iPhone, an Spanish<>English dictionary. It is great for emergencies, although a little bit picky, as you have to include the accent marks on Spanish words that require them.


This is my favorite way to find the verb form I need. However, you need to know what you are looking for (tense, mood, person…). If you are not sure what you need, go to the next items on this list and check out conjugation tables for virtually every verb in Basque.

Verb Tables
Organized by mood (indicative, hypothetical, subjunctive, potential, imperative).

Logos conjugator
It will conjugate for you any of 2516 verbs in all the tenses, including synthetic verbs.

Synthetic verbs (present tense)
A basic list of conjugated synthetic verbs (be, come, go, walk…). Buber’s page has a whole section dedicated to the Basque language, where you can find additional information and resources.

Synthetic verbs (only past tense)
Another basic list of conjugated synthetic verbs, this time in past tense.

Verb Tables (Batua, Bizakaian, Zuberoa)
A link to verb tables in Batua, Bizkaian, and Zuberoa Basque.


Basque case
Enter the word you wish to decline. They must be lexical entries, as the script can’t analyze nouns which already are declined.


Question words



Itzultzaile automatikoa
Similar to Google Translate, this tool is useful to translate non-specialized texts and webpages, but it’s only a “help tool”, so don’t expect linguistic  correction at 100%. Always have your translation checked by a human translator. For more information, click here. For a news video on the EITB website (in Spanish), click here. For an update on the new Basque<>Spanish/English translator, click here.

Google Translate


BOGA (Designed with English and Spanish speakers in mind)
was developed by HABE to learn Basque online.  It is used in Euskaltegis in the Basque Country as well as in Basque clubs in the Diaspora, for whom the system is free.  It is available in Spanish and English.

Online Basque and culture courses from Euskaltzaleak in Argentina

Online Basque course coordinated by AEK euskaltegis


Basic online course by El Correo and the University of Deusto (Designed with Spanish speakers in mind)
The course features an introductory module to the language and a basic module divided in two parts. It’s intended for people with basic or no knowledge of Basque and, although it has links to audio for each lesson, I wasn’t able to make it work, even after downloading the latest version of Real Player. Nevertheless, the worksheets should be more than enough to get you started and there is a section with the answers so you can check your progress.

By HABE. It was originally designed for to help immigrants to learn Basque, now it’s open to anyone. You can either register (so the sistem remembers your scores at exercises) or use it without registering.

Basque course, vocabulary, history, maps and general information.

Online Basque radio and Basque course (in French).


Boise State University Basque Classes
The Basque Studies Program at Boise State University is a multi-disciplinary course of advanced study that involves all aspects of the language, culture and history of the Basque people. The creation of a program specifically geared to the understanding of the Basque culture, history and political challenges compliments the ongoing programs for study in the Basque Country offered by the Boise State International Studies Program.

Center for Basque Studies Course Offerings
University of Nevada, Reno (in English).


Practice Basque with other speakers using Skype.

Mintzanet is a fresh proposal for anyone who wants to practise Basque wherever they may be in the world. Over the Internet you’ll get to meet people who want to speak in Basque. It’s really simple! You choose the time or what you want to talk about.
And what about you? Do you fancy speaking to people who are improving their Basque? Get involved in our project and you’ll be giving those who don’t get to speak Basque in their usual environment a fantastic opportunity. You’ll be helping them to practice and take their learning process further.

Bidelaria: he/she is learning Basque and wants to improve his/her level, so he/she needs someone else’s help. To take part, a minimum level is required. They must be able to maintain a conversation. To show this, they will have to do a small test (B1 level).


Bidelaguna: someone who knows the language well offers his/her help to someone else so the latter can practise the language (no title needed). He/she is a helper.

Conversations take place in pairs.

EuskalPlay, 9 games in Basque from the Azkue Foundation.

On the Euskaljakintza blog.

Basic Basque
Check your basic Basque (in English).


Once again, Irontec has shown support for the Basque language. They are convinced that the best way for people to practice the language is by playing, they have developed a game to learn and improve our level: Auskalo.

Auskalo is a multiple-choice type of game. Based on how many questions we get right and how fast we do it, our ranking will get better against the scoring of all the application users. This way, they promote healthy competition with the goal of speaking the language better and better every day.

So everybody can participate, the questions are presented in varying difficulty levels. Besides, we can choose among different areas: syntax, verbs, declinations, lexicon, sayings and geography/culture.

uTalk Euskara
Organized by mood (indicative, hypothetical, subjunctive, potential, imperative).

Euskeraz Ikasi
Euskeraz ikasi is a set of tools to use the basque language. There is an offline basque dictionary, a game to learn basque and many other features.

Basque Language Suite
Basque Language Suite is a high quality application which was developed to help you both learn, translate and understand the Basque language, which is widely used by the native Basque people in both Spain and France. Basque Language Suite includes reference modes with hundreds of words including a learning mode, translation mode, and vocabulary mode. There are also more advanced modes including a flash card mode with hundreds of flash cards and the quiz center mode, which will quiz you on hundreds of words among different categories. Basque Language Suite is the perfect app for learning and understanding the Basque language.

hitzApp vocabulary contains more than 3000 words with their translation and pronunciation audio. Currently, they offer the iPad and iPhone versions of our Basque vocabulary for Spanish-speaking users.

The games and activities will help you learn more than 3000 Basque words. It will easily help you prepare your university access exams, get the EGA certificate (Euskararen Gaitasun Agiria) or simply learn the vocabulary if you are interested in the Basque language and culture.

“Euskal Gabon kantak” app for Android phones
Developed by Arrasate-based company, the app includes songs like Alaken, Din dan don, Dringilin dron, Elurra teilatuan, Erregeak, Gaueko izar, Gau ixila, Hator hator, Haur eder baten bila, Haurtxo maite, Horra Mari Domigi, Kanta alleluia, Mesias sarritan, Olentzero and Trakatan.

“Kantari app” (for iOS and Android)
Developed by Bilbao native Galder Segurola (www.galder.net), this app has the lyrics for more than 300 songs in Basque and Spanish, with their corresponding YouTube video. I’m specially fond of this app because it includes song books about Athletic Club, and even one from my hometown of Ortuella!

Euskalbar, adds a navigation bar with Basque, Spanish, English and French dictionaries.

A website that gathers a variety of applications in Basque for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets (in Basque).

Labayru Hiztegia
Basque<>Spanish Dictionary, also available as an app from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Esaera Zaharrak
Free educational game to learn proverbs in Basque, available as an app from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Free educational app to learn and practice connector words in Basque, available as an app from the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Free educational app to practice auxiliary verbs in Basque, available as an app from the iTunes, Google Play, and Chrome web stores.



Gara Newspaper

Berria newspaper

Topagunea, Federation of Basque Language Associations.


A wealth of resources here (readings, videos, exercises, news…).

Santurtziko Euskaltegia Help System

A website by Euskaljakintza to listen and read in Basque.

Movies in Basque – kulturklik
Dramas, comedies and thrillers.

Movies in Basque – EITB
Dramas, comedies and thrillers.

Here you will find encyclopedias, Basque language information by town, and software resources.

Etxepare Institute
News, culture, additional resources.

Euskera for dummies
The Publishers of the For Dummies series belongs to the powerful Planeta group and has just published Euskera for Dummies, within its series of practical guides on various themes. The book will allow readers that speak Spanish to obtain basic notions and learn phrases and useful words in order to get along in Basque. The book is the translation of the French version, Le Basque pour les Nuls that was written by Jean Baptiste Coyos and Jasone Salaberria. This book was published in 2009 in France and has been very well received.

Thanks for passing by: ↓

NeskaBaska Maria Jesusl Pedro J. Oiarzabal Mark Bieter Steven Roosevelt Kathy Amaya Oxarango-Ingram Patty Mary Araquistain Christopher Ellis Anne Marie

9 thoughts on “Writing in Basque: Tools to get you there

  1. Christopher Ellis

    I learnt some Basque online through French and English sites, and found that my four weeks in Bilbao and Donostia I could read magazines and much else. heading back for more this year. And I am well over sixty. ..

  2. Henar Chico Post author

    You go, Christopher! I don’t think there is ever a time too late for learning!

  3. Christopher Ellis

    Hi: it’s a sunny day here at Gorliz in Bizkaia, I noticed that in Iparraldea the signs say Hiri Barnea (or Hiri Bihotza) whereas in Hegoalde it’s Herri Ertialde. Either side, the beaches and mountains are just so. Yesterday I found a copy of Asterix, Euskaliz, I understood about two thirds of it. North Side also has signs in Gasconha. Còr de la Vila.

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