• Ulma Group

Basque at ULMA in light of the Covid-19 crisis

May 07, 2020
Covid-19 has caused an unusual situation in our lives and our daily work. It has stirred our lives from top to bottom, and uncertainty has prevailed. We do not know what lies ahead in the future, but we do know that, in the future, we also wish to live and work in Basque.

As long as Basque is a non-standard language, communicating in Basque remains a conscious decision, a choice: writing emails in Basque, posting on Twitter in Basque, communicating decisions in Basque… These are actions that give added value to the Basque language. In these times of coronavirus, it shows that crises, emergencies, bad news or the most pessimistic situations can also be communicated and managed in Basque. Even more so, prioritising Basque or deciding to communicate exclusively in Basque is a decision that contributes to the standardisation of the language.

At the ULMA Group, we are also showing our choice, our capacity and our will to communicate in Basque during this crisis. In this sense, 58% of the messages of general dissemination sent in the cooperatives of the ULMA Group since the state of alarm and confinement was announced have been bilingual, and 18% have been sent exclusively in Basque. We would like to applaud and acknowledge the choice, commitment and responsibility shown by the people behind this.

The words that Jose Mari Pastor quoted in an article in Berria, on the importance of the choice to write and create in Basque, seem appropriate to us:

"The status of languages, their prestige. Some Spanish-speakers consider it a waste of time to create in Basque. “Why do you write in Basque?” And we have to begin justifying ourselves. Icelandic only has 320,000 speakers, but no one would ask an Icelander such a question.”