En réponse à Philippe Caquant :

>I don't speak Basque, but I have records from a Basque
>singer, Peio Serbielle. If i look at the written text
>and listen to the voice, than clearly:
>- all written 'z' are pronounced like 's'

Logical, the Basque 'z' indicates the same sound as the French 's'.

>- all written 's' are pronounced like 'sh', or S, if
>you prefer
>- I can hardly hear any difference between the written
>s and written x, also pronounced S. The same when they
>are preceded by t (ts, tx > tsh).

Then you have a problem listening, or the guy has a problem pronouncing 
them. Since Castillan 's' and Basque 's' are identical, you're basically 
saying that the Castillan 's' is pronounced [S]. You basically changed 
Spanish into Portuguese ;) (Andalucian not withstanding ;) ).

>But one could argue that Basque was not his mother
>tongue, I'm not quite sure. Anyway, it's not mine.

That could explain it. I can produce the Basque 's' (though not reliably in 
sentences), and although pronounced at the point of articulation of 'z', it 
does have a 'x'-"quality" in it. Somebody with little training could 
confuse them.

>I guess Basque is more spoken on yonder side of the
>border than in France. It has an official status
>there, but not in France.


>Interesting to note that, while Spanish transforms 'f'
>into 'h', Russian transforms 'h' into 'g' (gospital =
>[military] hospital).

I thought they would rather transform it into [x], since that's what they 
do when trying to learn a language containing [h]...
En réponse à Chris Bates :

>*Sigh* Its at times like this that I wish I had a time machine... I'd
>love to know and see so many things about the past. It'd be entering an
>alien world without leaving Earth to visit the past.

When you get one, don't forget to reserve me a seat! :)

>I don't think I've ever seen Moten.... examples, Christophe? :) Any
>sentence you like.

It's one of the few languages of mine with a website presence. The pages 
are only in French, but simple enough for most purposes. So you just need 
to check my site :) . Also, IIRC in the first relay I translated the text 
into Moten, so you may want to check that, and the Babel text is available 
on my site in Moten :) .

>They seem to straddle the boundary to me. Although I think a lot of
>linguistics is like that... we're trying to impose discrete categories
>on a continuous spectrum.


>Don't you speak Basque Christophe?

Nope :( . I just have learned about it on and off for the past 15 years ;) 
. I cannot speak it, but I know quite a bit about it...
En réponse à John Cowan :

> >
> > Incorrect: some Ibero-Romance languages went all the way. Gascon has
> > "huek" for "fire" (Spanish fuego).
>I should have said "Iberian Romance"; that is, Romance languages
>spoken on the Iberian peninsula.  What are the isoglosses that
>have Iberian Romance and Catalan-Occitan on one side and the
>Gallo-Romance languages on the other, anyway?

We don't really know whether they even exist ;) . But I've always heard 
that Gascon was Ibero-Romance rather than Gallo-Romance...

It seems the three groups Ibero-Romance, Gallo-Romance and Italo-Romance 
are just one big continuum ;) .

>As spoken in the North, anyhow.  Andalusia (and consequently the
>Islands and America) have always had ordinary s.

fair enough. Basque never went that South ;) .
En réponse à J. 'Mach' Wust :

>The f > h change hasn't occurred in any Ibero-Romance but in Castilian
>(Spanish), as far as I know. Appearently, it also occurs in Gascon but this
>isn't precisely an Ibero-Romance, even though the Aranés dialect is spoken
>in Spain. Portuguese and Catalan preserve the _f_, and so do other northern
>dialects like Asturian, Aragonés and Galician.

According to Wikipedia, Spanish and Gascon both lost initial /f/ (but at 
different levels, Gascon more completely than Spanish) due to Basque 
influence. Not sure how to take that, but it's geographically sound...

Christophe Grandsire.

You need a straight mind to invent a twisted conlang.