Nafarroa Behereko euskara zaharra
The goal of this work is to offer an overview of the evolution of the Basque language in Low Navarre from the 16th to the 19th century. With this purpose in mind, we have selected one hundred and seventy-six linguistic features. We have chosen these features because of one of the following five reasons: a) because it is an old feature that has been lost; b) because it is an old feature that has been changed in its being or in its use; c) because it is an old feature that has survived for a long time; d) because it is a new feature that has been created in the chosen period; e) because it is a feature that shows diatopic differentiation through the geography.
To carry out our investigation we have analyzed the work of the main Low Navarrese writers of the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, in this article we describe some aspects of geographical variability not only within Low Navarre, but also in comparison with the neighboring dialects of Lapurdi and Zuberoa. Some of the writers we analyze are difficult to locate dialectologically and we have encountered some problems in determining a concrete geographical area for each linguistic feature. However, we have included these authors because they offer important morphological testimonies from a historical point of view.
The conclusions of our article show some new aspects not considered in previous works.
1) Facing the strength of the dialect of Lapurdi and the strong personality of the dialect of Zuberoa, we can definitively say that the Basque of Low Navarre has had big difficulties to create its own writen and relativelly uniform tradition.
2) It is the verbal morphology field and specially its meaning, the one that has had more changes since 16th century.
3) In phonetics there have been many changes that appeared in the xvi century in the dialects of Low Navarre.
4) The characteristics that show bigger geolinguistic variability are the ones that belong to the nominal and verbal morphology. Lexical varieties also distribute the geographical space in a repeated pattern.
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