Introduction to Basque:
Lesson 2

By Linas

Let’s carry on with our Basque and learn how to express the concept of having this time. It might not seem like we can use this right away but actually this knowledge is going to help us tremendously. Let’s start.

First of all, you don’t need to use the word for it in these sentences: it is inferred. Second:

Basque for has is dauka.

Since we do not even need to mention the word for it, we could now say he has it which would be simply he has but before that it is necessary for us to learn about a concept that I will call the-have-transformation (in grammatical terms this is called the ergative case but the-have-transformation will work just as well with us).

In phrases where we use the word have, we have to change our subject (ni, zu, hura) a bit so that it is good enough for the word have. That’s why this change is called the-have-transformation.

Well, how does the-have-transformation work in Basque? Simple!

To make the-have-transformation we simply add a k to the end of the word.

So ni becomes nik and zu becomes zuk after the have transformation. Then hura should become hurak but there is a small exception with hura and it becomes hark instead. Perhaps hurak was just too long to pronounce and hark sounded better.

Now we can say (do not forget that we have to do the-have-transformation for he):

He has it.

Answer: Hark dauka.
Not correct. Please try again.

Fair enough. Let’s learn the word for you have:

Basque for have (in you have) is daukazu.

This is pretty easy to remember because it’s simply dauka + zu (and zu is the word for you).

Then the Basque word for have (in I have) is daukat.

If it followed the same pattern it should be daukani and it is daukat instead but that’s still pretty close.

Thus we have daukat for I, daukazu for you and dauka for he/she/it. Let’s use this:

You have it.

Answer: Zuk daukazu.
Not correct. Please try again.

Did you remember to perform the-have-transformation on zu? Good. Let’s also do:

I don’t have it.

Answer: Nik ez daukat.
Not correct. Please try again.

Okay, we could actually even talk about something instead of just it.

Basque for time is asti.

Pure word for time is asti. However, if you still remember, you have to use the article in Basque. Just as a reminder:

Basque word for the is a and it goes in the end of the word instead of the beginning.

That means you have to say the time instead.

How would you say:

the time

Answer: astia
Not correct. Please try again.

Alright now we have a word to operate with. Whenever you talk about time, you always talk about the time so you will keep using the word astia instead of asti.

How would you say this (remember you are using the non-English word order so you are saying you the time have?):

Do you have the time?

Answer: Zuk astia daukazu?
Not correct. Please try again.

Answer that:

I have the time.

Answer: Nik astia daukat.
Not correct. Please try again.

There is another thing you need to know:

The Basque word for any is rik.

This rik is usually used in negative sentences. Negative sentences means that you are denying something (so you most likely have ez for not in the sentence). So if the sentence is negative you don’t add that a to the end of astia but add rik instead. Remember that in negative sentences the word order also changes and becomes English-like.

For example, if you want to say I don’t have time you add rik instead of a to the word asti so that the meaning is something like I don’t have any time. How would you say that:

I don’t have time.

Answer: Nik ez daukat astirik.
Not correct. Please try again.

Basque for house is etxe.

If you want to ask if somebody has a house, you also use that rik so that the meaning is roughly do you have any house?.

Do you have a house?

Answer: Zuk etxerik daukazu?
Not correct. Please try again.

What would, on the other hand, be:

Do you have the house?

Answer: Zuk etxea daukazu?
Not correct. Please try again.


You don’t have a house.

Answer: Zuk ez daukazu etxerik.
Not correct. Please try again.

We will not be needing this for now but since we are learning the word have, we might as well do it properly:

If you are referring to more than one thing that you are having (them instead of it) then dau changes to dauz in all cases.

Leave out the word for them (it’s understood from the change) and say:

I have them.

Answer: Nik dauzkat.
Not correct. Please try again.

She doesn’t have them.

Answer: Hark ez dauzka.
Not correct. Please try again.

Cool. We have learned the three main forms of the word have and we have learned about the-have-transformation.

Do you see the pattern though? Hark dauka then we add zu to dauka and we have zuk daukazu or alternatively we add t and we have nik daukat.

Well, the thing is: we have another word for have. Don’t worry, though: this word uses exactly the same pattern. Its infinitive form is ukan so we will be calling it the ukan-have.

This ukan-word means have too so it does not only have the same forms but it also requires the-have-transformation.

What is the difference between our first have and ukan-have? Well, it’s regional mostly. You usually use our first have but the ukan-have has another function: it can be a gate (you will learn all of this in the next lesson so don’t worry).

The form of ukan-have for hura (hark in the-have-transformation) is du.

Can you say the other forms:

ukan form for zuk is...

Answer: duzu
Not correct. Please try again.

ukan form for nik is...

Answer: dut
Not correct. Please try again.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand this line yet but just to say it: like dauka changed to dauzka if you are refering to many things, du changes in the same way to ditu.

Thus in the case of have we have nik daukat, zuk daukazu and hark dauka and in the case of ukan-have we have nik dut, zuk duzu and hark du."

If you can understand that, you have understood this lesson.

I am also aware that this might be getting a little bit confusing... You might be wondering "what does this mysterious ukan-have do?" and "why have we learned this?". Well, these are questions that we will be answering in the next lesson!