The Basque language, local to parts of Spain and France, is unlike any other language. How is this possible?
Some twins are so close that they share their own private language. What if that was the case for an entire region of the world, and no neighboring country spoke anything remotely similar? This is not the stuff of science fiction; it’s real, and it’s geographically located in a region of northeastern Spain and southwestern France. Since the language of Basque bears no similarity to Indo-European Romance languages spoken in the surrounding regions, it’s considered an isolated language.
So how does an isolated language originate? It’s a bit of a puzzle to linguists. Many believe that this language pre-dates the European conquests which is why it bears no European influences. Some have noted that the words for "knife" (aizto), "axe" (aizkora) and "hoe" (aitzur) are all derived from the word for "stone" (haitz), and have therefore concluded that the language dates to the Stone Age, when those tools were made of stone. Basque-type skulls discovered in Neolithic archaeological sites support this theory.
Although rich in oral history, the Basque language was not written until the 16th century. Rural communities have kept it alive. In fact, there are some 520,000 Basque speaking people in Spain which is a quarter of their entire population.