Learn Basque at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers two different classes of Basque for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Basque 401 and Basque 402.

euskaraBasque 401: Beginners’ Basque

(see our pdf flyer)


Using a communicative approach to language instruction, the main goal of this class is to provide students with basic communication skills in Basque (listening, speaking, reading and writing).


Ranging from a class of 8 to 12 students, they are emerged in Basque from the first day. This course allows them develop communication skills as if they were to travel to the Basque Country and hold basic conversations (talking about themselves, asking directions, requesting information, ordering food/drinks).

The course also provides an introduction to basic information on Basque culture and history. Topics include: origins of the language, mythology, politics, music, diaspora, dialects, bertsolaritza, among others).

Visit students’ blog! http://basqueuiuc.wordpress.com/

What students have to say about this class:

“I loved the use of communicative approach, even if the first day was a little confusing the teacher always found a way to get us understand while still speaking in Basque”.

“The practice conversation in class was the most valuable; the exercises with other students were great for practicing everything”

“I love learning Basque!”


BASQ 402: Love, War and Memory: Contemporary Basque Fiction. This course will explore how contemporary Basque literature and film have approached the tumultuous political and social reality of the Basque Country from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the subsequent Francoist dictatorship (1939-1975) to this date. This course will pay special attention to questions of identity, gender, violence, memory, and trauma in order to shed light on the complicated and complex nature of the conflict involving the Basque Country and Spain that is now undergoing a peace process under European and international supervision.

Some of the possible literary works that we will analyze in class are Ramon Saizarbitoria's 100 meter (1976), Arantxa Urretabizkaia's The Red Notebook (1998), Bernardo Atxaga's The Accordionist’s Son (2003) and Anjel Lertxundi's Perfect Happiness (2002). Students will read the texts in English translation. No prior knowledge of Basque or Spanish is required.
This course may be of interest to students who are pursuing studies on and/or are interested in European literatures and histories, ethnic minorities, nationalism, postcolonial studies, gender studies, memory and trauma, and violence.
Please, do not hesitate to contact Esti Ezkerra (ezkerra2@illinois.edu) if you have any questions about the course.