Figures show that the Basque regional government has spent €126 million euros so far this year – 4% more than last year – on promoting the Basque language when only 11.5% of the population speak it as their first language. The number of Basque speakers rose slightly between 2001 and 2006 but according to the company that carried out the survey, the Basque government’s determination to impose the use of Basque in all government offices, hospitals and other public buildings, has created a rejection effect. A company spokesman said people are studying the language because they are being forced to do so, but they don’t use it. Another problem is that there are several dialects which the Basque regional government has merged into one known as Batua, and many of the older people don’t understand it. The spokesman said: “You can’t go against the fact that we already have a communication tool, which is Spanish, a language that we all speak.”


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