ARE IBERIAN AND BASQUE GENETICALLY RELATED? This is a very complex subject in which a person without knowledge on historical linguistics can be easily deceived (even if they are university teachers or civil servants who give subventions) so I must refer to my paper on the subject in Fontes Linguae Vasconum. Briefly, my opinion is: Of course they are, but not in the stupid way some 'ignorantes magna cum (ignorantiae) avaritia' say.
THE PROBLEM WITH "MAGICAL TRANSLATORS"
Do you think that I exaggerate?. Simply consider about the last of these "magical translators". Alonso García has published a series of books presented as a contribution to the ethnical Basque origin of many ancient peoples, offering revolutionary translations of Iberian, Etruscan, Minoan, Egyptian and many other languages (I was just too bored to waste my time in the count). Well, perhaps it would be a long story to demonstrate a false decipherment to a person who does not have linguistic knowledge, even if it is very suspicious that the "ability" to translate every word in every inscription isn't accompanied by a minimal ability to reconstruct the grammar or the historical phonology of those languages, but, besides the absurd esoteric translation that he "discovers" even in short marks on pottery, his results imply that the ancient speakers of those languages knew their own language much worse than Alonso García does, as he contradicts the evidence provided by bilingual texts.
For the Etruscan inscription of Pyrgi we have a Phoenician bilingual. Even so, we got another revolutionary translation (and, as Phoenician is a language close to Hebrew, maybe he should adapt both languages to his "Etruscan" and provide us with a revolutionary translation of the Bible). Finally he has included Hittite among his translations. But Hittite not only is a clearly Indo-European language with lexical counterparts even in English, but there are also many bilingual documents and even multilingual dictionaries (especially Hittite - Akkadian) made by the Hittites themselves. Besides, there's still more: the cuneiform ideograms are read by Alonso as phonetic signs (even with their conventional Sumerian reading in spite of the fact that these readings are a modern scholar convention); and many of the "Basque" words that Alonso finds in the Hittite inscriptions are clear Romance loan words in Basque (such as 'kale' "street" sp. "calle" or 'zeru' "sky" sp. "cielo").
Yes, it looks like the plot for a "Dumb and dumber" sequel but it's true. But still worse is the following. It turns out that his books are being published by the Editorial Complutense (yes, the publishing house of the very illustrious Universidad Complutense de Madrid); that he played an important role in an International Colloquium with communications on his work which, according to a big newspaper advertisement, was supported (and probably financed) by the Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid; that his discoveries on Etruscan are explained in the Enciclopedia Universal Micronet(CD 2000 edition) and in mass media (such as the newspaper "El Mundo"); and that his books can be found in the philology sections of specialized bookstores. As prof. De Hoz wrote:
"Que se haya desviado dinero público para la edición de supuestos trabajos lingüísticos cuyo interés científico es el mismo que el de la práctica de conjuros ante un muñeco de cera para la curación de cáncer, cuando tesis de considerable valor permanecen inéditas y sus autores tienen que buscar salidas académicas fuera del país es algo peor que una estupidez, es un crimen del que debe existir un responsable al que se debiera pedir cuentas" ("Viaje a ninguna parte a través del Mediterráneo. Las lenguas que no hablaron ni iberos, ni etruscos, ni cretenses" Rev. De Libros 28, abril 1999, 11).
I wonder whether Alonso or his very very important medicine professor co-autor Arnaiz-Villena would be able to translate a simple Latin text. I hope that the DNA genetics work of his co-autor is much better than this, otherwise ... (1)
On the other side, please, the next time a "magical translator" denounce his work to be ignored and kept silent about by the scientists, I would like he to quote and comment the "investigations" of at least one of the previous "magical translators" (I think almost fifty by now) who have "translated" Iberian. Don't "keep silent" about their works.
Generally speaking I consider these kind of "translations" not to be worth of attention and a complete waste of time, but D. Fletcher and L. Silgo ("El plomo escrito Serreta I. Comentarios y traducciones" Recerques del Museu d'Alcoi 1, 1992, pp. 9-36) devoted a whole paper to 18 "translations" of the Greek-Iberian plaque G.1.1, from 1926 to 1990 (it includes the university Prof. Román del Cerro, but it is previous to Alonso García). If anybody has morbid curiosity, he can read this anthology; then follow by the half a dozen translators which are present in internet. The summit of this comedy of errors happened when was discovered the first Celtiberian bronze from Botorrita, an inscription in a Celtic language with clear Indo-European words and morphemes that even resembles Latin. Well,in an academic publication ( Homenaje a D. Pío Beltrán Madrid, 1973) the then famous, very important and much awarded archaeologist A. Beltrán Martínez (there is even a square named after him) discovered that it was written in Iberian language (!) and that was the final proof of the Basque-Iberian theory, of course, with the aid of a Basque dictionary... No comments.
Relations between Iberian and Basque
That said, we may return to the real world. In favour of the relation between Iberian and Basque, among other aspects, the most striking lexical coincidences are the following: 1) Basque 'egin' "to do", "to make" with Iberian ekiar / ekien; 2) 'ibeni' "to set", "to erect" with ebanen; 3) 'sari' "payment", "amount" with s'alir; 4) 'iri' "town" with iltir' / ILER; and 5) the Basque genitive suffix '-en' with the Iberian "genitive" -en.
It must be outlined that the third person past reconstructed Proto-Basque verb forms *'egien' (attested are the variants 'egian' and 'zegien') "he made it" and 'ebenen' "he set it" seem to be completely coincident with their Iberian counterparts. Also worth noting is the resemblance between the Iberian Agentive/Ablative suffix -te and the reconstructed Basque Ablative suffix '-ti', and between the frequent Iberian toponyme ar's (maybe "castle", "fortified place") and the Basque 'ertsi' "enclosed", "enclosure".
Besides this, since a long time ago, the resemblances between the Basque phonemic system and the Iberian and also the similar compound structure have been stated; Iberian sounds like Basque. Additionally, we have the "evidence" provided by the few Aquitanian personal and god names known; attested in latin inscriptions. Not only these compound names are very similar to the Iberian ones, but they also show bases identical to Basque words which allow coherent translations of the personal names (as a matter of fact Aquitanian is considered as Ancient Basque); hence similarities between Aquitanian and Iberian suggest a genetical relation between Iberian and Basque.
On the other hand, there are some comparisions between Iberian and Basque that must be rejected. 1) First of all, as known, the wrongly reading gudua deisdea with Basque 'gudu' "fight" and 'deitu' "call"; not only because 'deitu' is of Latin origin ('dictu') and maybe also 'gudu' is a loanword, but also because, as Fletcher stated, the right reading is kutur oisor, and because the Iberian word kutur appears in many other inscriptions in which the meaning "fight" is most unlikely. 2)The double suffix -aren with Basque definited genitive '-aren', as in spite of the traditional view, the attestation of such a double Iberian suffix is dubious. 3) Neither it's possible to translate the segment etar (which appears in some coins) according to the Basque suffix '-tar' which shows the origin of a person, as Iberian etar isn't a suffix (just consider untikesken / etar).
But the evidence is still scarce and it is sure that Basque has undergone many important phonetic changes, besides the fact that great part of the Basque vocabulary is of Latin or Romance origin, questions that the "magical translators" make enormous efforts to disregard.
On the other side, it is extremely suspicious the extended idea that all phonetical similarities are dued to geographical proximity and that any lexical coincidence is a loawnword from Iberian to Basque. Whereas sometimes deceptive coincidences do exist and less probable possibilities can be the right ones, it's scientifically unwise to explain all data as coincidences and to disregard the more probable hypotesis in favor of the less ones.
In any case, neither the delirious translations nor the inability of translate Iberian by modern Basque can be a serious demonstration against Basque-Iberian theory. The delirious work have not any value, neither in favour nor against, and there are many genetically related languages which aren't easily mutually understandable.
1. As a matter of fact, it turns out that prof. Antonio Arnaiz Villena not only has got truly harsh sceintific criticisms such as "une violation de l’éthique. L’article était un manifeste politique enflammé pauvrement masqué en travail scientifique" "l’article contenait des erreurs historiques, des inconsistances, des références inadéquates et trompeuses, et des cartes inexactes", "l’article « manquait de mérite scientifique »" (see "Un autodafé électronique" by François Lapèlerie), but even very serious problems with the law, including having been arrested accused of embezzlement (see "Incroyable" by Philippe Ramona, Diariomedico.com - El web de los profesionales sanitarios, and http://www.madrid.org/comun/bocm/Html/0,2930,3029_14210_14472_12305666_20041011_24,00.html).