“Kaixo” & More Basic Phrases For Your Trip To The Basque Country

28 December 2022
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: Karim Ben Van

The first line of a poem called Having a Coke with You by Frank O’Hara goes something like this…

Having a Coke with You… is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne…

Now, if you may not know, these five places that O’Hara is mentioning are actual towns located in the beautiful and picturesque Basque Country, nestled in the northwest of Spain and southwest of France. These places are special places of the strong Basque people, who by the way are known to be one of the oldest ethnic groupings in Europe. According to historians, the Basques are thought to have existed in the southwest of Europe long before Indo-Europeans made their way there.

Japanese House

Unsplash: Jose Maria Garcia Garcia

Despite its interesting culture and remarkable history, the Basque Country (nope, not a European country, but an autonomous community) is also famous for its breathtaking coastal views, extraordinary rocky landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and very, very, very delicious cuisine. Then you’ve got the Basque coast which has become one of the most popular surfing destinations in all of Europe.

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Unsplash: DAT VO

And in O’Hara’s case, the Basque region may be a fun place to visit. But it is not as fun as having a coke with You. Hmm, can sound a bit cheesy but it works just as fine with Frank. So as you read and hear those simple words that sound as sweet as a serving of Goxua (a creamy Basque dessert), you might be left wondering what this enchanting Basque region is all about. Well… only the Basques can share with you its magic and charm. However, what you can do for now is to learn some basic and essential Basque phrases because you don’t want to be cheated of some marvelous experience as you head off to your Basque adventure.

    Basque Greetings

  • Good morning – Egun on
  • Good afternoon – Arratsalde on
  • Goodnight – Gabon
  • Hello – Kaixo
  • Goodbye – Agur

      Basic Questions

  • Do you speak Basque? – Euskaraz badakizu?
  • Do you speak English? – Ba al dakizu ingelesez?
  • How are you? – Zer moduz?
  • Where? – Non?
  • How? – Nola?
  • How much? – Zenbat?
  • When? – Noiz?
  • Why? – Zergatik?
  • What? – Zer?
  • Which? – Zein?
  • How much is this? – Zenbat ote da?
  • How much does that cost? – Zenbat balio du?
  • Where is the toilet? – Komuna non dago?

      Essential Phrases

  • Yes – Bai
  • No – Ez
  • Please – Mesedez
  • Thank you – Eskerrik asko
  • You’re welcome – Ez horregatik
  • Excuse me – Barkatu
  • Okay – Ados
  • I’m sorry – Sentitzen dut

      Ramdom Phrases

  • Good luck – Zorte on
  • I don’t understand – Ez dut ulertzen
  • I don’t speak Basque – Ez dakit euskaraz
  • I am very well, thank you. – Primeran nago, milesker
  • Cheers – Topa

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