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Gipuzkoan (Gipuzkera in Basque,Guipuzcoano in Spanish) is a dialect of the Basque language spoken mainly in the province of Gipuzkoamarker in Basque Countrymarker but also in a small part of Navarremarker. It is as central dialect, spoken in the central and eastern part of Gipuzkoa. In the traditional dialectal classification of the language based on research carried out by Lucien Bonaparte in the XIXth century, the varieties of the valleys Sakana and Burunda are also included in Gipuzkoan, while this approach has been disputed by modern Basque linguists.


Gipuzkoan is not spoken all over Gipuzkoa, roughly comprising the area between the Deva River and the River Oiartzun. The strip of Gipuzkoamarker stretching from Leintz-Gatzaga to Elgoibarmarker is part of the Biscayan (Western) dialect area, while the River Oiartzun flowing past Errenteriamarker outlines the border with the Upper Navarrese dialect. However, borders between Gipuzkoan and High Navarrese are gradually disappearing as standard Basque is beginning to blur the differences among traditional dialects, especially among younger Basques.

Comparative traits

Some features of Gipuzkoan as perceived by other dialect speakers may be summed up as follows:
  • The grapheme j, which is highly variable amongst Basque dialects, is generally [x] (e.g. [xa'kin] vs [ja'kin], jakin).
  • Verb 'to go' pronounced jun ([xun]), as opposed to general joan ('[joan]).
  • Auxiliary verb forms "det - dek - dezu", etc., as opposed to general Basque "dut" (Biscayan "dot").
  • Verb infinitives with ending -tu (bizitu, bialdu, etc.), frequent in central dialects.
  • In nouns, root final -a is often interpreted as an article and dropped in indefinite phrases, e.g. gauz bat "one thing" vs gauza bat.

Variants of Gipuzkoan

Within Gipuzkoan, there are four main sub-dialects:

Historical role

Gipuzkoan is one of the four dialects known as the literary dialects of Basque (Biscayan, Lapurdian, Souletin and Gipuzkoan). It was used in Basque literature from the 17th century onwards but, as were the two other literary dialects, it only enjoyed a minor role during the period of dominance of the Lapurdian dialect. This was due to the fact that the centre of Basque literary production was in Labourd during the 16th, 17th and most of the 18th century.

Gipuzkoan and Standard Basque

Gipuzkoan vocabulary was used as the main source for in Standard Basque, a standardised dialect of the Basque language used in teaching and the media.

See also

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