HITZARGIAK – Languages illuminating each other

The Hitzargiak – Languages illuminating each other project will be working in support of language diversity as an initiative of the Donostia/San Sebastián 2016 European Capital of Culture, because it shares the same mission and vision as the ECoC. One of the aims of the Hitzargiak project is to help to create a new, lasting model of coexistence based on relations between the Basques and the citizens across Europe; it is a model that will encourage a more open society that respects and values pluralism as a source of wealth and which is capable of establishing new bases that will help to preserve language diversity.

The Hitzargiak project has needed the collaboration of many people and players to be able to bring together all these missions and visions. The main aim is to identify good practices for revitalising the languages, get to know each other, establish relations and create a strong, lasting network. We have prepared the following setup to design the process and give it continuity:


This is the group that leads the project. In order to drive forward the Hitzargiak project, the speech community that is trying to revitalise Basque by exchanging knowledge and experience has come together and involved the main networks that are working in support of European languages to ensure that the project is executed properly. In short, the Consortium reflects what we want to achieve on a European level through the Hitzargiak project.

Each one has offered the Hitzargiak project its network of contacts; the aim is to guarantee the obtaining of data on practices across Europe, to spot the best ones, and to encourage contacts between them.

The institutions that are part of the Consortium are as follows: the Sub-Ministry for Language Policy of the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community, the Chartered Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa, Donostia/San Sebastián City Council, the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, the UNESCO Chair on World Language Heritage, Mondragon University, Eusko Ikaskuntza-Basque Studies Society, Euskaltzaindia-Royal Academy of the Basque Language, Topagunea, AEK, the Bai Euskarari Foundation, Hekimen and Kontseilua, plus Mercator and the NPLD from among the main networks defending European languages.

The Sociolinguistics Cluster is responsible for coordinating and executing the Hitzargiak project. However, it has been started in line with the common-pool philosophy and therefore various working groups have been set up apart from the Consortium: the Scientific Committee and the Project group, each of which has specific functions and tasks; and the Monitoring Committee in charge of coordination.


The work of the Scientific Committee is crucial for moving the project forward. This Committee has specified the project’s research scope, in other words, what territory will be taken into consideration, which practices and the minority languages they pertain to will need to be sought, and which social players will need to drive these practices forward.

The Committee has also specified the practices that are regarded as exemplary among all the ones seeking to revitalise minority languages, in other words, it has established the characteristics that they should have and the parameters these practices need to meet for them to be regarded as exemplary. One task of the Committee has been to create a template that will help to gather information on these practices.

Nine experts from the Basque Country and the rest of the world, chosen for their proven professional careers, have been responsible for all these tasks:

  • Larraitz Ariznabarreta, HUHEZI (Mondragon University)
  • Vicent Climent-Ferrando, the NPLD and the Pompeu Fabra University
  • Araceli Díaz de Lezana, Government of the Basque Autonomous Community
  • Durk Gorter, Mercator Research Center, IkerBasque, UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country - DREAM Research Group
  • Itziar Idiazabal, UNESCO Chair on World Language Heritage
  • Jasone Mendizabal, Topagunea
  • Erramun Osa, Euskaltzaindia (Royal Academy of the Basque Language)
  • Meirion Pris Jones, NPLD
  • Xavier Vila, University of Barcelona, Mercator Research Center


Lantalde Teknikoa

The function of this team is basically to design, lead, coordinate, guide and execute the project under the leadership of the Monitoring Committee at all times. This group has to work in accordance with the decisions and criteria established by the Consortium and the Scientific Committee, it must undertake to get in touch with the players involved in the activities to revitalise minority languages, have knowledge about the practices they are carrying out, gather information, make this information available to the public via the website, etc. In other words, it has to handle the technical work.

The technical team is made up of the following organisations, all members of the Sociolinguistics Cluster:


The Monitoring Committee undertakes to supervise the execution, degree of appropriateness of and compliance with the aims of the Hitzargiak project. This task corresponds to the Sociolinguistics Cluster and to the Donostia/San Sebastián 2016 Foundation as project coordinators, and because the project is part of the Donostia-San Sebastian 2016 European Capital of Culture.

Asier Basurto (Donostia/San Sebastián 2016 European Capital of Culture)
Belen Uranga (Sociolinguistics Cluster)