[Note: The following blog entry is a re-post, along with a few modifications, from EuskoCat. I will start this blog by transfering all old content first before uploading new entries, as I don’t want any new readers to miss out on earlier posts, especially this one, which will give you the resources to start learning Euskara!]
When I finally decided that I was serious about learning Euskara, I decided to search for a way to learn the language while at the same time not have to resort to eating ramen noodles for the rest of my life. I decided to do a little research into the methods people use to learn Euskara and here are some you can try out:
- Euskara in the Basque Country – This could very well be the most expensive option for people living outside of the the Basque Country, however if you choose this route you will have the benefit of a total immersion in the language as well as the culture. There are many euskaltegiak (Basque Language Centers) all over the Basque Country and you can choose between public and private adult schools.
- University courses – As far as I know, there are only two Universities in the United States that offer courses in Euskara. The first is Boise State University which offers a Basque Studies Minor and Certificate and the the second is the University of Nevada-Reno which offers a Basque Studies Minor both in-campus and online.
- BOGA program – BOGA is an online program designed to teach adults Euskara and to provide them with a knowledge base sufficient enough to pass the EGA (Euskararen Gaitasun Agiria)- which is a proficiency test and mandatory for anyone who wishes to work for the Basque Government. The BOGA program is, compared to the first two methods, quite affordable as the current tuition is $50 per semester and it comes with the support of a teacher whom you can email questions to as well as have Skype conferences with (to practise conversation and pronunciation).
- Self-study books – There are a few books out there designed to help students learn Euskara and they range from the simple: Beginner’s Basque by Wim Jansen, to the more complex: The Basque Language: A Practical Introduction by Alan R. King. When I first started learning about Euskara, a number of people told me it would be sheer madness to try and learn it by myself, however I don’t think it would be wise to discredit all of the self-study books. I think that some could be used an introduction to the language, especially if you are not completely sure if you want to seriously pursue it or not and it can also be used to supplement your current program.
I am currently making use of the BOGA program as my main resource for learning Euskara. I chose it as the $50 per semester fee along with the online access was a great fit for me because it wouldn’t burn a big hole in my wallet and it wouldn’t require me to have to lose time for work.
The program itself is entertaining as it is filled with interesting sketches, exercises and tests. However, it also has its flaws, the major one being its propensity for crashing for a few hours. I also find that the explanations in English sound quite unnatural at times, as if it were translated into English by a non-native speaker and although that can easily be ignored, it can sometimes cause a bit of confusion. But I firmly believe that even with those flaws, it can be a very useful tool.
I am also studying Euskara through a book called Bakarka I: Método de aprendizaje individual del euskera by J.A. Letamendia. This teaches Euskara (or Euskera as it is called in Spanish) through the medium of the Spanish language. I find that whenever there is any concept or grammatical rule that I cannot quite understand when explained in English, I need only read it in Spanish and it suddenly becomes clear.
That’s it for now! On the next post, I’ll be talking about how music can very beneficial to any language learner. Aio!