This paper comes into being because of this author’s concern about the limited use and slow evolution of Euskara Batua, the version of the Basque language spoken today in parts of the Basque Country and the larger B, also called Euskal Herria, with its historical regions in Europe, bounded by Spain in the south and by France in the north, as well as in dozens of Basque communities in the USA, Central, and South America. What’s the problem? Well, currently the number of auxiliary verbs (verbal forms, aditz languntzaileak) in Euskara Batua as proposed by the Euskaltzaindia, the Academy of the Basque Language, approaches the number of 825, a gigantic number by any scale, any standard, in any language. In contrast, the number of auxiliary verbs in English is in the order of 12-15 (e.g., can, could, do, does, will, would, should, must, etc.), and this small number does the role and functions of all those 825 verbal forms in Euskara Batua. How has this happened? What was the Euskaltzaindia up to, and why? Why nobody within the Euskaltzaindia, or anywhere else, has said anything, objected to this unreasonable high number of 825 auxiliary verbs? Actually, there have been many objections, calling such system of verbs “artificial”, “unnecessary”, “harmful” and more, but little has been done about it, really. Accordingly, this paper reports on an independent survey that this author conducted recently in order to ascertain the knowledge of Euskara Batua, in particular the knowledge of auxiliary verbs and the use of Euskara Batua outside the school environment, namely at home, at work, and on the street. Statistical results of this survey are reported in this paper.

About the Author

Ambrose Goikoetxea, Ph.D., is currently the Director of Euskal Herria 21st Century Foundation (2004-present), based in Arrasate-Mondragon, Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, with sites also in Laguardia-Biasteri, Alava, Basque Country, and Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Professor in the Information Systems Department at Mondragon Unibertsitatea (2004-2007). A former professor at George Washington University (1985-1999), engineering and management programs. Systems engineering lead at MITRE Corp. (1999-2004). Has published eight technical books, over 40 papers in refereed scientific journals, three novels, and one musical “The Witches of Zugarramurdi” (versions in Euskara, English, and Spanish).


  • Ph.D., Systems and Industrial Engineering, minors in Operations Research and Computer Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 1977.
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, California State University at Los Angeles, California, 1970.
  • B.S., Aeronautical Engineering, California State Polytechnic University (Cal-Poly), Pomona, California, 1969.