Tuesday, April 26, 2016

José Luis Álvarez Enparantza

José Luis Álvarez Enparantza (1929 –2012) better known by his pseudonym Txillardegi, was a Basque linguist, politician and writer. Born in San Sebastián (Basque Country), he did not learn the Basque language until the age of 17, but came to be considered one of the most influential figures in Basque nationalism and culture in the second half of the 20th century.
He was a major contributor to the standardisation of Basque. His philosophy was based on the following points:
  • ·         that if minority languages are to survive, they have to be able to deal with modern science and technology;
  • ·         that a standardised language is a key part of modernisation;
  • ·         that any subject could be discussed in an understandable way in any language, based on "trying, time, and intelligence";
  • ·         and that the main feature, among others, that should identify a person (or the country) as Basque should be knowledge of the Basque language.

A member of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) in his youth, he promoted the defence and study of the Basque language as the basis of Basque identity.
After becoming disillusioned with the PNV, Txillardegi was one of the founders of ETA in 1959, together with a group of young nationalists and was the visible leader of the cultural branch of the movement.
Txillardegi participated in the foundation in 1977 of Herri Batasuna and was elected senator for the abertzale coalition in the first elections.
Coming to believe that the armed struggle was unviable, for a time he was active in Aralar and then publicly distanced himself from the armed struggle when the party participated in an act of solidarity, organized by the Basque government, with the victims of ETA violence.

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