This section provides an acoustic description of Basque sounds, articulated in their dialectal varieties, accompanied by the relevant information in each case: extension, variation, phonemic character, etc.

When compared to other languages, Basque language has a simple vowel system and a somewhat more complex consonant system.As in other cases, it is not easy to state categorically the number of elements (phonemes) of the phonological system of Basque, especially due to its dialectal variety.

Basque vowels can be articulatorily classified according to two tongue axes, openness (two close vowels, two middle vowels and one open vowel) and localisation (two front vowels, two back vowels and one central vowel). Basque consonants are usually classified according to seven manners and seven places of articulation. They are not homogeneously distributed in these zones since there is a concentration of utterances in the alveolar and palatal orders, whereas other orders (labiodental, glottal) hardly record any elements.

This classification can be seen in two tables:vowels and consonants.All vowels are voiced (that is, vocal cords vibrate); the consonant table features voiced consonants placed on the right side of the cell and voiceless consonants (those produced without vibration of the vocal cords) are displayed on the left. 

In addition to theoretical descriptions, a table is provided with the basic acoustic information about each element, produced by an informant of each dialect, and a sample audio is shown, along with a chart of the corresponding acoustic analysis.

All these data have been taken from the CD-Rom Euskararen Hotsak (Ana Elejabeitia–Alexander Iribar-Rosa Miren Pagola, Bilbao, University of Deusto, 1998).




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