Armenians and Basques – Similarities Between the Basque and Armenian Languages

Armenians and Basques – Similarities Between the BasqueIn the late 19th century, English scientist Edward Spencer Dodgson, a well-known scholar of the Spanish Basque history, determined to learn the Armenian language in order to improve his expertise.

After two months of language courses, Dodgson noticed that many Armenian words match words from the Basque language both in spelling and meaning. In 1884, Dodgson published the article “Basque words in the Armenian language” in the magazine “The Basque language.” The list composed by Dodgson included more than 50 identical words: for example, Basque and Armenian “char” (evil), Basque “zati” (verb: separate) and Armenian “zat” (adjective: separate), and many others.

Several decades later, Basque philologist Bernardo Estornés Lasa visited the village (now town) of Isaba, where he would record a local tradition stating that the village had been established by Armenians. In fact, those Armenians had been the first inhabitants of Navarre and the ancestors of the modern Basques.

The tradition specifies that the leader of the Basque people was a man named Aytor who arrived from Armenia along with his 7 sons. In their honor, Aytor founded seven settlements in Navarre. Those Armenians are also believed to have been masters of processing metals.

The archives of the village of Isaba also held an ancient manuscript confirming the verbal traditions. Apart from that, a road named “Erminia” to this day exists in the modern town of Isaba.

Other ancient accounts also attest to the close connections between the Armenians and Basques. A 17th-century Spanish historian Gaspar Juan Escolano in his book about the history of Valencia wrote that after the Great Flood, patriarch Tubal and his people stepped onto the eastern shores of Spain. Escolano also remarks that Tubal’s tribe spoke Armenian.

In 1928, German philologist Joseph Karst published the results of his long-standing studies. He presented over 300 Armenian-Basque lexical, grammatical, and phonetical matches. This allowed Karst to conclude that the Basque and Armenian languages belong to the same linguistic type called Alarodian.

Karst would subsequently write a number of other books, demonstrating even more similarities between the two languages. For example, he found such matching words as the Basque “yelki” and Armenian “yelk” (“exit”), “zharaunsi” and “zharangel” (“inherit”), “muruncha” and “mrnchots” (“roar”), “layno” and “layn” (“wide”), “astadun” (“weighty”) and “hastatun” (“resistant”) “toyl” (“weak”), and “yete” (“if”).

Apart from that, scholars have discovered correspondence in Armenian and Basque toponyms: Armenian “Ashtarak” (town in Aragatsotn Province, Armenia) and “Astarak” (settlement in southern France), “Araks” – “Arakses” (both names of rivers in Armenia and the Basque Country), “Goris” (town in Syunik, Armenia; town in the Basque Country), and “Deba” (river in northern Armenia; river in the Basque Country).

Modern genetic research also yielded new discoveries. It is known that an Armenian can safely receive bone marrow only from another Armenian. Searching for other compatible sources of bone marrow, scientists discovered that the Basque bone marrow just slightly differs from that of Armenians.

Read also: Alarodiens et proto-Basques_M_014683_000_01.pdf · версия 1 PDF – in French

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