26 jun. 2008

I'm trying to get a reading knowledge of Basque. The case system doesn't seem too intimidating. It has an ergative case, which means that the subject of a transitive verb has a separate case, and there's a dative for indirect objects. Direct objects and subjects of intransitive verb are in an absolutive, unmarked case.

The verbs are a little more complex. Most of the time there are two verbs, a participle form + an auxiliary form of to be or to have. The usual morphological markings for tense, aspect, person. Euskara is agglutinative and attaches determiners the the end of the noun phrase.

The lexicon will be more of a challenge, the only help being loan words from Spanish and Latin derivatives. My goal is to be able to read with a dictionary, kind of like I could do with German. I know enough German grammar to know which words are verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc... but have to look up too many words.

Of the "four skills," reading is the easiest and also the most rewarding. For example, I can read Italian more or less, but couldn't speak it, write it, or understand very much orally. My goal is to have reading knowledge of all Romance languages. That covers all of the Iberian peninsula, except for Basque, so my new goal is to have knowledge of all Iberian + Romance languages. Romanian will be a bit of a challenge; I'll have to wait until I know Italian a bit better to make that jump.