When you are living or traveling in the Basque Country in Spain, you really do not need to know how to speak Basque (Also called Euskera by the Basques). Yet, knowing a few words could be quite helpful and will also demonstrate your understanding of the pride the Basques feel in their culture and heritage. I found that, when I spoke a little bit of the language, the Basque people were impressed and showed more interest in me. I believe that this knowledge opened some doors for me and allowed me to enter into some Basque circles I would not have been able to otherwise.
Kaixo (Pronounced Ki-Show) is probably the word I used most for hello. “Agur” also can mean hello, but I used it more if I was just passing someone on the street, not if I actually was stopping to talk to them.
Agur means goodbye. If you are going to live in Pais Vasco for a while, or even travel through, this is definitely a word you will hear. I don’t think I ever said “Adios” during the nine months I was living in San Sebastian. I always said Agur. If you want to blend in with the locals, this is a word you have to use!
3. Eskerrik asko
Eskerrik asko means thank you. This is another important Basque word to know like Agur. You will hear Eskerrik Asko more than you hear “Gracias” when you are out.
4. Ez Horriegatik
Ez horriegatik means your welcome. It is a mouthful, but after a few times saying this word, it gets easier.
Bai (pronounced like Bye in English) means yes. This is the most confusing Basque word, because it is such a common word in Basque and English and they do NOT mean the same thing, at all. One of the most confusing usages of this word that you will encounter are the Basque people saying “bai” as they answer the telephone. I remember the first time I called a Basque girl and she immidiatley said “bai.” I was thinking, “okay, we haven’t even started the conversation and she is saying goodbye! This is strange.” It is definitely something that takes a bit of time to get use to.
Ez means no.
7. Zer moduz?
Zer moduz means how are you? If you want to say, "I'm fine and you," you can say "ondo, eta zu?".
8. Egun on
Egun on means good morning. I used this word a lot with my friends and co-workers. Even the Basque people that speak mostly in Spanish to each other, still always say a few words in Basque to each other such as “Egun on.”
Gabon means good night. I would say this every night to my Basque roommate before I went to bed.
Komunak means bathroom. This word is not a word you will say as much. But, if you need to know where the bathroom is at a restaurant, it will make life a little easier for you.