Wentworth Webster an Hugo Schuchardt (43-012683)

von Wentworth Webster

an Hugo Schuchardt


23. 09. 1897

language Englisch

Schlagwörter: Association basque Euskal-Erria: Revista bascongadalanguage Englischlanguage Baskischlanguage Lateinlanguage Französisch Abbadie, Antoine d' Goyetche, Pierre Elissamburu, Jean Baptiste Guilbeau Doyarzabal, Martin Darricarrère, Jean Baptiste Vinson, Julien Leizarraga, Joanes Arzác y Alberdi, Antonio Axular, Pedro de Urte, Pierre d´ Duvoisin, Jean-Pierre Bonaparte, Louis Lucien Thomas, Thomas Llewellyn Etcheverry, Auguste Sare Saint-Jean-de-Luz Oxford Itçaina, Xabier (1996) Urte, Pierre D' (1900)

Zitiervorschlag: Wentworth Webster an Hugo Schuchardt (43-012683). Sare, 23. 09. 1897. Hrsg. von Bernhard Hurch und Patricio Urkizu (2022). In: Bernhard Hurch (Hrsg.): Hugo Schuchardt Archiv. Online unter https://gams.uni-graz.at/o:hsa.letter.10753, abgerufen am 26. 09. 2023. Handle: hdl.handle.net/11471/518.10.1.10753.


Par St. Jean de Luz
Basses Pyrénées
23 Septr. 1897.

My dear Prof Schuchardt,

I was very glad to see your handwriting on a letter again, & to hear what you are doing.

I am sorry to learn that your nerves are troubling you, these sort of disorders are always difficult to bear, and cause more suffering than more dangerous illnesses. I hope that you are better now. I regret also to hear of your aged mother’s illness. I trust that by this time she has quite recovered.

The Fête of the Association Basque at Sare was not well managed.1 No one knew till just beforehand when the ceremony was to take place. The platform was erected in front of the Mairie, where all the noise of the Fête was going on, & carriages continually passing. The discourses were all read instead of being spoken “ex tempore”. Very few of the crowd could hear a word of them. The whole thing was a semi-political demonstration to counteract the Fêtes of St. Jean de Luz, & the putting up a tablet to M. Antoine d’Abbadie by the conservateures, & M. Goyenetche of the St Jean de Luz, Guilbeau’s rival at Sare a month before. These Fêtes at St. Jean de Luz were well worth seeing, especially the Exposition, to which the Guipuzcoans sent some of their most valuable documents. The two tablets one to M. Antoine d’Abbadie, the other to CapteElissamburu are now side by side, let into the front wall of the Mairie |2| just above the arches. The only account that I have seen of the ceremony at Sare is in L’Avenir (de Bayonne) Samedi 18 Sept. I have one copy only; but I will write to Dr Guilbeau, give him your message, and ask him to send you a copy. The speeches were by Dr Guilbeau, Darricarrère2, and Vinson; but the two last were not present, and their speeches were read by some one else. The concours of poésie was admittedly very poor. No first prize was awarded, only a second prize to a man of St Jean Pied de Port, and three ‘mentions honorables’. The improvisations were a little better; but they could not find any one to dance a Basque dance, & so some people from Ciboure danced the Fandango!! The long ball play too was very bad.

I have already written to Oxford about your reprint of Liçarrague, & will let it be known elsewhere, & will write to Arzac3 about it.

Axular4 was born at Urdax, only 3 kilometres from the frontière of the Labourd. He was employed in Navarre up to the age of 44, but lived 40 years at Sare.

Now it has happened to myself to visit old friends, comrades at the University of Oxford, who then & there spoke the ordinary English of cultivated life, but hearing them some 20 or 30 years afterwards in their country parishes I have often been amused to find how completely they have acquired the tone & the dialect of the district, in which they have lived & |3| were speeking it in the broadest way. It would require strong proof to make me believe that Axular, born at Urdax, so close of the Labourd, not two hours walk from Sare, would not after 20 yrs residence there, speak & write the language of Sare as well as any native. On the other hand, it has always seemed clear to me that the literary Basque is a conventional dialect to a great extent. There is really no orthographical stricte rule for representing even the phonetic changes. In MSS, in familiar writing not intended for print, the same sounds are written & represented in different ways by the same man in the same document. D’Urte’s MSS are full of examples of this. He believes himself to be writing pure Laburdin, yet he introduces (according to my neighbour Mendiboure)5 Navarrese & Guipuzcoan terms occasionally. Dithurbide’s work was much corrected by his friends, and would represent only a conventional speech. Elisamburu considered Cap te Duvoisin’s6 language as artificial. My own opinion is that the spoken Basque, by those who neither knew nor heard any other, was much fuller & more complicated (perhaps even clamsily complex) in grammatical forms than any written Basque; though exceedingly poor in Vocabulary in recent ages. Written literary Basque was falsified by all the books almost being religious & moulded after Ecclesiastical Latin; this gave a conventional turn to all that has been printed since. The neighboring dialects too (except the Souletin where the pronuntiation differs) |4| are not so distinct practically from one another, but that you may hear words considered peculiar to one dialect used in another. I have heard the peculiar St Jean de Luz word for dog ‘potzu’ used at Ascarrat near S. Jean Pied de Port, & have heard others, who know Basque far better than myself, make the same remark, even with regard to Prince L. L. Bonaparte’s writings.

I am slowly correcting the proofs of d’Urte’s Basque Verbe, over 400 pages, double cols. for La Société Ramond.7 M. d’Abbadie had given them the money to pay for the expenses of printing. I have to do this all alone, from a copy made in Oxford. Singularly all who took interest in it are dead. M. d’Abbadie, Llewelyn Thomas, who printed the Genesis, Lord Macclesfield; and A. Clark who compared this copy with the original, has now left Oxford, so that I have no help. I have plenty of offers to correct the Basque, from Basques, but this I will not allow. Pierre d’Urte’s Basque is probably as full of mistakes as his French & English are, & he follows no rule, nor order, but it shall all be printed as he wrote it, and readers can correct it as they like; but I am not sure that any living Basque can say that such or such may not have been the form used in d’Urte’s day. I regret Augustin Etcheverry’s death imensely. I would gladly have paid him to help me. Since his death & Capt. Elissamboure’s, there is no one in Sare that really knows and cares about the Basque, to my knowledge. I believe that a full report of the Fêtes at Saint Jean de Luz with the Conferences, will be published by the Société Ethnographique de France.

With kindest remembrances of Mrs Webster and myself.

I am very truely your
Wentworth Webster

[Hinzufügung S. 1 quer] Would you like to see one of the first proofs of D’Urte’s Verbe ? I could send it you, to be returned, if you like to see it.

1 Wie man in der folgenden Beschreibung sieht, schlägt sich Webster in seiner Darstellung vollständig auf die Seite der konservativen “Euskaldun fededun” Fraktion. Vgl. dazu auch Xabier Itçaina (1996), Danse, rituels et identité en Pays Basque Nord. Ethonologie française XXVI.3: 490-503. Dort werden auch einige der im folgenden genannten Aktanten besprochen.

2 Im HSA gibt es einen Brief von Darricarrère: 02241.

3 Herausgeber von Euskal-Erria; Briefwechsel mit Schuchardt: HSA 00172-00175.

4 Pedro de Agerre “Axular” (Urdax 1556 – Sara 1644). Prieser und Autor des Klassikers Guero (1643). Offenbar hat Schuchardt in seinem Brief nach Axular gefragt.

5 J.B. Mendiburu, HSA 06995-06997.

6 J. Duvoisin, HSA 02652.

7 Die “ Grammaire cantabrique basque faite par Pierre D'Urte: manuscrit de la Bibliothèque du Comte Macclesfield” kam erst einige Jahre später heraus. Webster übernahm die Editionsarbeit, D'Abbadie die Kosten des Drucks. Sie erschien in Bagnères-de-Bigorre bei D. Bérot unter den Auspizien der Société Ramond.

Faksimiles: Universitätsbibliothek Graz Abteilung für Sondersammlungen, Creative commons CC BY-NC https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (Sig. 012683)