At the beginning of the 18th century, printed Basque lexicographic compilations were scarce. That state of affairs made Fréret create his own Vocabulaire Basque (ca. 1714) by comparing the basque translation of the New Testament by Leiçarraga (1571) with a Latin version of the Bible. The methodology involved many difficulties and a misinterpretation by Fréret originated çainana as a ghost word as he assigned the meaning impleta (full) to the Basque verb form izan (to be).
Tracking down this lexical ghost will first lead us to Bullet's Dictionnaire Celtique (1759-1760), which will allow us to show that Fréret's lexicon was one of his Basque sources. Later on, the appearance of çainana in the Vocabulario vasco-francés (an anonymous manuscript from the second half of the 19th century owned by the Prince Bonaparte) will be one of the keys that allows us to confirm that the aforementioned vocabulary was but a mere compilation of all the Basque terms included in Bullet's dictionary. This important feature went unnoticed for Etxebarria, who reproduced the wrong meaning of çainana in his 1994 edition of the aforementioned bonapartian vocabulary thus allowing this remarkable ghost word to live on for almost three centuries.
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