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33.1% of Basque youths aged 16 to 24 say Basque is their mother language

2018 February 20

 

  • February 21, International Mother Language Day
  • From 1991 to 2016, i.e. a period of 25 years, the percentage of young people whose mother language was Basque increased from 20.4% to 33.1%.

In the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, Basque is the mother language of 33.1% of young people aged 16 to 24. This percentage includes 20.0% that have only listened to Basque in their homes up to the age of three and the remaining 11.1% whose first language is both Basque and Spanish. If we compare the percentage of those whose mother language is Basque in several age groups, we will see that young people aged 16 to 24 have the highest percentage.

 In 1999, UNESCO declared February 21 the International Mother Language Day. The mother language is understood to be the language that children learn at home up to the age of three. The purpose of establishing an international mother language day is to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, i.e. preserve and protect all the languages that the peoples of the world use.

 The Basque Youth Observatory has studied data relating to the mother language of young people in the Basque Country. The basis of the study is the Indicator System of Basque (EAS), created by the Department of Culture and Language Policy of the Basque Government.

 From 1991 to 2016, i.e. a period of 25 years, the percentage of young people whose mother language was Basque increased from 20.4% to 33.1%.

 But these data refer to the general youth of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. If we analyze the data Territory by Territory, we can notice that in Araba/Álava 17.3% of young people under the age of 25 have Basque as mother tongue (only Basque or both Basque and Spanish), in Bizkaia this percentage increases to 22.5% but in Gipuzkoa more than half of youth (55.7%) say they had Basque as first language when they were kids.

 

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(XI term 2016 - 2020)