It was my birthday on Friday, and to celebrate I went shopping in London. I visited so many book shops.... the big Waterstones (which someone claimed is the biggest bookshop in the EU), Foyle's, the... European Language Centre or something I think, a language bookshop, but it wasn't that interesting because it was mainly dedicated to the big European languages (French, Spanish, German mostly). I found another specialist language bookshop as well (whose name I forget) that was amazing, they had books and learning packs about so many languages, not just the very big ones, but some where I have had difficulty acquiring good materials (Swahili: They had the Swahili dictionaries based on the Madan (I think that's the name) ones, which although very dated are probably the most comprehensive existing Swahili-English English-Swahili set of dictionaries, and they had several good Tagalog dictionaries, which I haven't been able to find elsewhere). Anyway, I ended up buying a book and some tapes and an amazingly good dictionary (given that it isn't a language spoken very widely) for Basque. I've just flicked through them so far, but I do have several questions: 1) Just how many verbs are widely found in finite forms? The book I have says that mostly basque uses auxilliaries with non-finite verb forms, but there are a very limited number of verbs that have their own forms which don't need an auxilliary. It lists the forms of the most common in the back, but I'd like to know how many there are in Total. I'd also be interested to know what affix system for regular verbs was in Basque before it started widely using auxilliaries. 2)The language actually sounds quite nice, nicer than I imagined for some reason... although I have difficulty getting the distinction between s, z and x right. It does seem strange though that Basque has s, S and... I don't know what the X-SAMPA representation of <s> is, but lacks f. Did basque f --> h (many Spanish speaking people around the Basque country pronounce f as h in their spanish), or has basque never had an f? 3) THe book emphasizes that some of the (non-verbal) grammatical affixes apply to *noun phrases* rather than nouns. This seems strange to me... every other language with a case system (or other noun marking) I've ever learned always always marks these things at least on the noun, and possibly also on the adjectives. But in some of the basque examples, you have these affixes glued onto the final word of a noun phrase even when that word isn't the noun itself! I think the definite article is an example of an affix that does this. Are these true affixes, or are they really clitics? 4) The "definite" article, the book says, is used much more widely than the English article, and in many of the examples it seems to be serving other functions (for instance, nominalization when using headless relative clauses etc). What is its derivation? Is it a true definite article, or is its primary function something else? I guess that's it for now.... its a very interesting language, and I might actually try to work my way to (semi-) fluency, since that way when I go to Spain (still planning the trip... guess it'll probably be next year now) I can work my way through the north and practice two foreign languages at once. :) Oh, I guess I do have one more question... where in the Basque country does the highest percentage of the population speak Basque? Thanks in Advance, Chris.