Tutorial Ph D
Lesson lau · laugarren
Command forms in Basque can be very simple and
extraordinarily useful. The verb forms listed here are also
past participles! Used in this form, with no auxiliary verb,
however, they are commands.
Eseri! · sit down!
Jaiki! · stand up! Get up!
Etorri! · come!
Joan! · go!
Jan! · eat!
Edan! · drink!
Hitz egin! · speak!
Ireki atea! · open the door!
Itxi leihoa! · close the window!
Piztu argia! · turn on the light!
Itzali telebista! · turn off the t.v.!
Atera liburuak! · take out your books!
Hartu klariona! · take the chalk!
Sartu liburuak motxilan! · Put the books in the
Isildu! · shut up!
Esnatu! · wake up!
Idatzi gutuna! · write a letter!
Irakurri egunkaria! · read the
In order to make the commands negative, use EZ +
Ez eseri! · Dont sit down!
Ez joan! · Dont go!
Ez ireki atea! · Dont open the door!
Ez piztu argia! · Dont turn on the
Auxiliary Verb UKAN
The forms of UKAN are vital to your ability to speak Basque.
Learn them thoroughly, and review them often. UKAN means
nik dut · I have (it)
zuk duzu · you have (it)
guk dugu · we have (it)
zuek duzue · you (all) have (it)
berak du · he/she has (it)
haiek dute · they have (it)
Notice that the English translation includes a
parenthetical it. This pronoun may be expressed
in the sentence and it may not, but it is always there, even
when it is invisible. Thus, in Basque you can
Nik liburua dut. · I have the book.
Nik dut. · I have it.
Nik ez dut liburua. · I dont have
Nik ez dut. · I dont have
We can think of the du part of the auxiliary
as containing the meaning it. The rest of the
verb form can be called the ending. The
nik ending is -t, the
zuk ending is -zu, and so on.
Notice that the berak form (he/she/it)
has no ending!
But often you have more than one thing. What happens
then? Well, in English, not much. But in Basque, you have to
express the plurality of your object within the
auxiliary verb. So instead of du use
ditu to express a plural object. The forms of
the auxiliary verb now become:
nik ditut · I have (them)
zuk dituzu · you have (them)
guk ditugu · we have (them)
zuek dituzue · you (all) have (them)
berak ditu · he/she/it has (them)
haiek dituzte · they have
Every language has its own way of expressing the
speakers relationship to time. In Basque, the past is
viewed as recent and distant. The recent past is generally
considered to be from the time you woke up this morning to
the present moment. The distant past is reserved for events
that transpired before you woke up this morning,
such as yesterday, last week, last year, or a hundred years
The recent past is the first form we will learn. It
consists of a past participle and the present tense
of the verb UKAN, the auxiliary verb. The past participle in
Basque just happens to be the same form as the simple
The auxiliary verb UKAN means to have.
Some speakers use it to express simple possession (as in
I have a book) but many others use it primarily
as an auxiliary verb. We will also use it as an auxiliary
verb. Soon we will learn a different verb to express simple
possession, but for now, you may use UKAN for that purpose
Practice your verb
Review previous lessons: