Gasteiz – On the occasion of tomorrow’s celebration of International Euskera Day, yesterday representatives of the Basque Government, the three provincial councils, the municipalities of the Basque capitals, Eudel and Uema read a joint statement at the Montehermoso de Gasteiz cultural center. It highlights the challenge for the Basque language to find its space in the new modes of communication through the Internet and social networks, as well as in informal relationships.
In an optimistic tone, the statement begins with the definition of Basque as a “tool for the new time”, and the “fresh breath also in the new informal areas of use”.
The text refers to the “cautious” exit from the pandemic, and the recovery of “face-to-face relationships, habits, occasions and meeting spaces; the inclination to meet those who complete us,” with the conviction that “nothing essential should be left behind, not Basque either “.
The statement recalls that “in the new era, after the serious experience that has made us aware of the vulnerability of our society and of our own, new forms, habits and ways of relationship and communication are emerging, and still others will emerge. more novel and surprising “. The pandemic, it is explained, has led society to internalize “the primordial character of communication, of relationships”, which “contains a challenge for Basque: to occupy, with complete naturalness, the space that corresponds to it in the new communication areas and activities “.
Basque in the networks New technologies are already an essential communicative tool and in this space, Basque, “thanks to the proactive attitude of the Basque-speaking community, is facing the great challenge that ICTs pose to the extension and strengthening of minority languages in the networks”. The signatories emphasize that the Basque language “has its place” in this digital sphere, which “is useful” and “truly difficult to achieve” in an immense ocean of languages.
The declaration envisions a hopeful future in this sense, because “we have been clearly demonstrating that we are capable, for example in the sphere of education, in the socio-economic sphere, in the media, in health, in the administration and so many others, to “take courageous steps in the real exercise of the rights of Basque-speaking people.”
The other area where walking remains is that of everyday life, that of the informal use of the language. “The Basque-speaking person must naturally exercise their option to live in Basque when, in their daily relationships, they move from the formal sphere to work, leisure, cultural or sports activities, because that is what makes sense, to a large extent , to the fact of living in Basque “, says the text. It emphasizes that “taking a leap in this area would transform the experience of Basque in a very positive way in a very positive way in a large part of the speakers, especially among young people”, because in “those areas informal areas for the Basque language, in addition to formal settings, its vitality is at stake to a large extent “.
It is emphasized that Basque society cannot “deny Basque those areas intimately linked to the recreation and enjoyment of the body and the spirit, and to advance in this, it will be essential, in addition to the commitment of the speaking people, the effort that the institutions must make , assigning the necessary means and showing an exemplary attitude “.
Leisure, sports and youth The declaration expresses how leisure and sport can contribute “to the transformation of the habits of linguistic use”, the “most suitable territory to reach the youth”. Thus, in the opinion of the signatory institutions, “we are given a unique opportunity to make Basque, in addition to being a travel companion, an effective tool for the new relationships and areas of use that we are recovering and will create on the threshold of the new normal”.
Reading. Miren Dobaran, Deputy Minister for Language Policy of the Basque Government; Lexuri Ugarte, director of Euskera and Open Government of the Alava County Council; Miren Elgarresta, director of the Body for Equality of Women and Men of the Guipuzcoan Provincial Council; Xabier Arauzo, general director of Euskera of the Diputación de Bizkaia; Estitxu Pereda, director of the Mayor’s Office and Institutional Relations of the Gasteiz City Council; Koldo Narbaiza, Councilor for Education and Basque of the Bilbao City Council; Iraitz Lazkano, president of Uema (Udalerri Euskaldunen Mankomunitatea) and mayor of Elgeta; and Anartz Gorrotxategi, representative of Eudel and mayor of Arraia-Maeztu.