En réponse à Chris Bates :

>It was my birthday on Friday,

Late happy birthday!

>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.

The amount of a dozen was given. That's about it indeed. As for the affix 
system of regular verbs before they used auxiliaries, not much is known 
unfortunately. Basque has had an analytical verbal system for quite some 
time. There are some texts in Middle Basque that have been found and those 
contain a Basque language pretty close to what is spoken nowadays, except 
for a few more synthetic verbs that are now analytic. My little booklet 
gives the examples:
- eztazagut (ezagun) : I don't know him,
- badakusazue (ikusi) : If you see him,
- dantzuzkigu (entzun) : We hear them.
Maybe you can do something out of them :) .

>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!

A great feature that I used in Moten, where the affixes are *infixes*, 
which means you really cannot argue that they are clitics ;) .

>  I think the definite article is an
>example of an affix that does this. Are these true affixes, or are they
>really clitics?

I'd say affixes, because they seem to have much more influence on the word 
they are added to than clitics would have. And they often blend in 
completely to be difficult to find out again, which isn't a usual feature 
of 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?

It isn't used much more than the French article, and nobody ever doubted 
its nature. It is for me extremely natural to use the definite article for 
nominalisations. Basque just goes a bit further in that than French does, 
and then in Spoken French you can get freaky things! :)

>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?

For the one who suggested the French Pyrénées, I have to warn that Basque 
in France is in some places a rather different dialect than the Euskara 
Batua that you see in textbooks. First, the main Basque dialect in France 
is called Eskuara, pointing to already a big phonemic difference, and then 
you have dialects like Souletin, which has /y/, voiced fricatives and 
affricates (though no /v/ ;) ), a phonemic stress accent and various 
lexical and grammatical differences :) . If all you know is Euskara Batua, 
better stay in Spain :) .

Christophe Grandsire.

You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.

PS: Yes, I'm finally back! Will write a nice report of my holidays when I 
have some time :) .