As one of the few non-Indo-European languages spoken in Europe, Basque is considered to be a language isolate with no known linguistic affiliation. In terms of word formation, it is classified as an agglutinative language. Today it is the official regional language spoken by more than 500,000 speakers in the Basque Country in north-western Spain (Guipuzcoa, Vizcaya, Navarra) and in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region in south-western France.
As a relic of the prehistoric language spoken in the Iberian Peninsula before the arrival of Indo-European, Basque is one of the oldest documented languages. It has been attested in a fragmentary form from c. 1000 AD onwards, but it was almost certainly spoken in Ancient Aquitania, the region of Gascony, France. Some Latin inscriptions from the Roman period include a number of proper names of Basque origin as well. The first book in Basque was a collection of poems entitled in Latin Linguae Vasconum Primitivae, printed in 1545.
Today the language is spoken in many dialects, Guipuzcoan, Upper Navarran, Biscayan and Avalan being among the most prominent ones. Guipuzcoan is the central and most widely spoken dialect. Basque is spelt in the Roman alphabet and the orthography is based on Spanish and French conventions.
CLASSIFICATION = language isolate , SCRIPT = Roman