The transitivity of borrowed verbs in Basque: an outline

Xabier Alberdi


In this paper I will study the main patterns that Basque speakers follow when they
choose the auxiliary used with verbs borrowed from neighbouring languages.
   In order to do that, the method I follow consists in analyzing the way borrowed verbs
appear in the Standard Lexicon (Hiztegi batua) of the Basque Language Academy.
   First, after exposing the theory of unaccusativity and proposing a typology of
Basque verbs, the main tendencies observed in the borrowing of verbs from Spanish
will be analyzed groups by groups: 1) borrowed verbs which unique auxiliary is du
'have' (a. adoratu 'adore', bisitatu visit'... ; b. estudiatu 'study', eskribitu 'write'... ;
c) abdikatu 'abdicate', abortatu 'abort'.. .); 2) borrowed verbs which alternate the da 'be'
du 'have' auxiliaries (a. causative alternation: sikatu 'dry'; b. intransitive/reflexive
alternation: obligatu 'oblige'; 3) borrowed verbs that only have the da 'be' auxiliary
(burlatu 'mock', konformatu 'be satisfied with'). Among the results of this survey, it
appears that the hypothesis which states that Basque borrowed monadic verbs strongly
tend to be unergative must be abandoned: when verbs having only one argument are
borrowed, the tendancy to use them with the du 'have' auxiliary is mostly restricted to
agentive intransitive verbs that don't have the clitic se in Spanish (saltatu 'jump',
deskantsatu 'rest', dantzatu 'dance', olgatu 'play about'.. .).

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ASJU  Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca "Julio de Urquijo"

ISSN: 0582-6152  |  e-ISSN: 2444-2992

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