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English-language version of Luistxo Fernandez's blog

Your TomTom speaks Basque

Luistxo Fernandez 2008/05/30 07:15

Some friends in this community ( that hosts the English Cemetery gathered to make TomTom car navigation systems talk in Basque. The recording session (using an Ikea sofa as isolation) took place in our office, and all was volunteer. The four voices were then processed, and here they are. 3 men, 1 woman. 2 talk in standard Basque, 2 in the local dialect.

If you want to hear it, you won't hurt your TomTom, you can switch to Basque from your language just for a try, and then return to your mother tongue or something else than you can understand. There are 4 zipped files you can download from the Deskargatu links in this page. Unzip and you'll find a triplet of files with these extensions: .chk, .bmp eta .vif. Connect your TomTom to your computer using the USB link, and place those 3 files to the voices folder of your TomTom. Disconnect from the computer, switch on the navigator, and change voice to the Basque speaker. It also works in mobile devices (phones, PDAs) that have a GPS and run on Windows Mobile with the TomTom software add-on (see a video of a demo in a PDA).

The images are of the speakers themselves. I think the most distinctly and ethnically Basque head is the one pertaining to Mikel Iturria a.k.a. Iturri, a fellow bilingual blogger (Basque / Spanish).

However, if you're going to use the TomTom to drive thru the Basque Country, be aware and don't confide too much on Google Maps for route planning, or for your GPS car-navigation system to guide you correctly: one mayor highway crossing the Basque Country, the AP-1, is shown as complete and used for traffic calculation by Teleatlas (company bought by TomTom recently), but half the road is not finished yet.

I've heard a car GPS guiding us towards a non-existant road near Arrasate, for instance. Look at the whole route in Google Maps, and take in mind that south of Arrasate, all this piece of road (bigger map) is not built. Not in 2008, sure. Teleatlas competitor Navteq, by the way, has the road right, as can be seen in Yahoo Maps (which uses Navteq cartography).

So... it's also time to promote OpenStreetMap again! My friend Gari Araolaza, proud mapper of my hometown, will give the 1st ever OSM seminar in Basque next july, with real street mapping included.

Archuleta the oikonym

Luistxo Fernandez 2008/05/23 07:14

David Archuleta lost his American Idol 2008 final, but nevertheless he is truly a TV and music sensation in the USA. And hey, Archuleta, that's a Basque name! And from Eibar, to be sure. Yes, Basque surnames tend to be oikonyms, that is, house-names. As of today there is no entry for oikonymy in the English Wikipedia, but it can be considered a branch of Onomastics, the study of proper names, just as Toponimy is the study of placenames. So Archuleta is an oikonym, and the very single house behind it is here, a farmhouse from my hometown: Aritxulueta (its current Basque name and spelling).

The oldest registered form of the name is Areschuloeta, from a document of 1498. Around 1600, there were Aritxulueta family branches in Sevilla and the Americas already. It seems some of those branches engaged in the military expansion of the Spanish empire, some under the name Arizulueta.

As for the US, one captain of the Spanish armies, Ascencio de Arechuleta (born in Eibar in 1572), took part in Juan de Oñate's expedition in 1598. It seems he (or his siblings) settled here, because the name has been well established in the current US southwest since then, among hispanics and mixed native populations. In the 17th century, the surname already lost the 1st 'e' in the name.

Info extracted for message exchanges in a local mailing list in Basque.

The Emirate of Eibar

Luistxo Fernandez 2008/05/14 05:10

The past two years, I had the chance to assist to the geo week in Silicon Valley, centered around Where 2.0. Not there, this year. Other plans stuck me at home, in Eibar. So, with envy but curiosity, I'll follow the events thru reports in blogs. Today's news that Yahoo launches a new Geo-API very similar to the Geonames webservices has attracted my interest. I'm more inclined towards the openness of Geonames, but, it's too early to be severe with Yahoo. However, after looking for Eibar, where I'm now, the where-on-earth-ID of my hometown places it in an Emirate (WTF?!)


One thing that I would like to be added to this Yahoo! Internet Location Platform is reverse geocoding. A query with latitude and longitude that would return the closest WOEID items, or show the bounding boxes to which that point pertains.


Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

Ingelesen hilerria

El cementerio de los ingleses


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