The Info List - Luxembourgish

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LUXEMBOURGISH, LUXEMBURGISH (/ˈlʌksəmˌbɜːrɡɪʃ/ ) or LETZEBURGESCH (/ˌlɛtsbɜːrˈɡɛʃ, -sə-/ or /ˈlɛtsˌbɜːrɡɪʃ, -sə-/ ) (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuergesch) is a West Germanic language that is spoken mainly in Luxembourg
. Worldwide, about 390,000 people speak Luxembourgish.

While it could be considered a standardized variety (i.e., a dialect with a written form) of German , its official use in the state of Luxembourg
and the existence of a separate regulatory body has removed Luxembourgish, at least in part, from the domain of the Dachsprache Standard German . Despite the lack of a sharp boundary between Luxembourgish
and the neighboring German dialects, this has led several linguists (from Luxembourg
as well as Germany) to regard it as a separate, yet closely related language.


* 1 Language family
Language family

* 2 Usage

* 2.1 Varieties * 2.2 Surrounding languages

* 3 Written Luxembourgish

* 3.1 Standardisation * 3.2 Alphabet * 3.3 Eifeler Regel

* 4 Phonology

* 4.1 Consonants * 4.2 Vowels

* 5 Grammar

* 5.1 Nominal syntax * 5.2 Adjectives * 5.3 Word-order

* 6 Vocabulary

* 6.1 Selected common phrases * 6.2 Neologisms

* 7 Academic projects * 8 See also * 9 Footnotes * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links


belongs to the West Central German group of High German languages and is the primary example of a Moselle Franconian language.


is the national language of Luxembourg
and one of three administrative languages, alongside French and German .

is also spoken in the Arelerland region of Belgium (part of the Province of Luxembourg
) and in small parts of Lorraine in France

In the German Eifel
and Hunsrück regions, and in Lorraine, similar local Moselle Franconian dialects of German are spoken. The language is also spoken by a few descendants of Luxembourg
immigrants in the United States
United States
, and another similar Moselle Franconian dialect is spoken by ethnic Germans long settled in Transylvania
, Romania (Siebenbürgen).

Moselle Franconian dialects outside the Luxembourg
state border tend to have far fewer French loan words, and these mostly remain from the French Revolution.


There are several distinct dialect forms of Luxembourgish
including Areler (from Arlon ), Eechternoacher ( Echternach ), Kliärrwer ( Clervaux ), Miseler (Moselle ), Stater ( Luxembourg
), Veiner (Vianden ), Minetter (Southern Luxembourg) and Weelzer ( Wiltz
). Further small vocabulary differences may be seen even between small villages.

Increasing mobility of the population and the dissemination of the language through mass media such as radio and television are leading to a gradual standardisation towards a "Standard Luxembourgish" through the process of koineization .


There is no distinct geographic boundary between the use of Luxembourgish
and the use of other closely related High German dialects (for example Lorraine Franconian ); it instead forms a dialect continuum of gradual change.

Spoken Luxembourgish
is relatively hard to understand for speakers of German who are generally not familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects (or at least other West Central German dialects). However, they can usually read the language to some degree. For those Germans familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects, it is relatively easy to understand and speak Luxembourgish
as far as the everyday vocabulary is concerned. However, the large number of French loanwords in Luxembourgish
may hamper communication about certain topics, or with certain speakers (who use many French loanwords).

There is no intelligibility between Luxembourgish
and French or any of the Romance dialects spoken in the adjacent parts of Belgium
and France.

Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
, President of the Christian Social People\'s Party of Luxembourg
1995–2003, was active in promoting the language beyond Luxembourg's borders.



A number of proposals for standardising the orthography of Luxembourgish
can be documented, going back to the middle of the 19th century. There was no officially recognised system, however, until the adoption of the "OLO" (ofizjel lezebuurjer ortografi) on 5 June 1946. This orthography provided a system for speakers of all varieties of Luxembourgish
to transcribe words the way they pronounced them, rather than imposing a single, standard spelling for the words of the language. The rules explicitly rejected certain elements of German orthography (e.g., the use of "ä " and "ö ", the capitalisation of nouns). Similarly, new principles were adopted for the spelling of French loanwords.

* fiireje, rééjelen, shwèzt, veinejer (cf. German vorigen, Regeln, schwätzt, weniger) * bültê, âprê, Shaarel, ssistém (cf. French bulletin, emprunt, Charles, système)

This proposed orthography, so different from existing "foreign" standards that people were already familiar with, did not enjoy widespread approval.

A more successful standard eventually emerged from the work of the committee of specialists charged with the task of creating the Luxemburger Wörterbuch, published in 5 volumes between 1950 and 1977. The orthographic conventions adopted in this decades-long project, set out in Bruch (1955), provided the basis of the standard orthography that became official on 10 October 1975. Modifications to this standard were proposed by the Conseil permanent de la langue luxembourgeoise and adopted officially in the spelling reform of 30 July 1999. A detailed explanation of current practice for Luxembourgish
can be found in Schanen the shorter /ɑɪ, ɑʊ/ were used in words with Accent 1, whereas the lengthened /æːɪ, æːʊ/ were used in words with Accent 2.



has three genders (masculine, feminine, and neuter), and has three cases (nominative, accusative, and dative). These are marked morphologically on determiners and pronouns . As in German, there is no morphological gender distinction in the plural.

The forms of the articles and of some selected determiners are given below:





DEF. EMPHATIC deen dat déi

DEMONSTRATIVE dësen dëst dës

INDEFINITE en eng (eng)

NEGATIVE keen keng

"HIS/ITS" säin seng

"HER/THEIR" hiren hiert hir




DEFINITE dem der den

DEF. EMPHATIC deem där deenen

DEMONSTRATIVE dësem dëser dësen

INDEFINITE engem enger (engen)

NEGATIVE kengem kenger kengen

"HIS/ITS" sengem senger sengen

"HER/THEIR" hirem hirer hiren

As seen above, Luxembourgish
has plural forms of en ("a, an"), namely eng in the nominative/accusative and engen in the dative. They are not used as indefinite articles, which—as in German and English—do not exist in the plural, but they do occur in the compound pronouns wéi en ("what, which") and sou en ("such"). For example: wéi eng Saachen ("what things"); sou eng Saachen ("such things"). Moreover, they are used before numbers to express an estimation: eng 30.000 Spectateuren ("some 30,000 spectators").

Distinct nominative forms survive in a few nominal phrases such as der Däiwel ("the devil") and eiser Herrgott ("our Lord"). Rare examples of the genitive are also found: Enn des Mounts ("end of the month"), Ufanks der Woch ("at the beginning of the week"). The functions of the genitive are normally expressed using a combination of the dative and a possessive determiner: e.g. dem Mann säi Buch (lit. "to the man his book", i.e. "the man's book"). This is known as a periphrastic genitive , and is a phenomenon also commonly seen in dialectal and colloquial German, and in Dutch.

The forms of the personal pronouns are given in the following table (unstressed forms appear in parentheses):



2SG DU (de) DECH DIR (der)

3SGM HIEN (en) HIM (em)

3SGN HATT (et)

3SGF SI (se) HIR (er)

1PL MIR (mer) äIS / EIS

2PL DIR (der) IECH

3PL SI (se) HINNEN (en)

The 2pl form is also used as a polite singular (like French vous, see T-V distinction ); the forms are capitalised in writing: Wéi hues DU de Concert fonnt? ("How did you like the concert?") Wéi hutt DIR de Concert fonnt? ("How did you like the concert?") Wéi hutt DIR de Concert fonnt? ("How did you like the concert?")

Like most varieties of colloquial German, but even more invariably, Luxembourgish
uses definite articles with personal names. They are obligatory and not to be translated: DE Serge ass an der Kichen. ("Serge is in the kitchen.")

A feature Luxembourgish
shares with only some western dialects of German is that women and girls are most often referred to with forms of the neuter pronoun hatt: Dat ass d'Nathalie. HATT ass midd, well ET vill a SENGEM Gaart geschafft huet. ("That's Nathalie. She is tired because she has worked a lot in her garden.")


morphology distinguishes two types of adjective: attributive and predicative . Predicative adjectives appear with verbs like sinn ("to be"), and receive no extra ending:

* De Mann ass grouss. (masculine, "The man is tall.") * D'Fra ass grouss. (feminine, "The woman is tall.") * D'Meedchen ass grouss. (neuter, "The girl is tall.") * D'Kanner si grouss. (plural, "The children are tall.")

Attributive adjectives are placed before the noun they describe, and change their ending according to the grammatical gender, number, and case:

* de groussE Mann (masculine) * déi grouss Fra (feminine) * dat groussT Meedchen (neuter) * déi grouss Kanner (plural)

Curiously, the definite article changes with the use of an attributive adjective: feminine d goes to déi (or di), neuter d' goes to dat, and plural d' changes to déi.

The comparative in Luxembourgish
is formed analytically, i.e. the adjective itself is not altered (compare the use of -er in German and English; tall → taller, klein → kleiner). Instead it is formed using the adverb méi: e.g. schéin → méi schéin

* Lëtzebuerg ass méi schéi wéi Esch. (" Luxembourg
is prettier than Esch.")

The superlative involves a synthetic form consisting of the adjective and the suffix -st: e.g. schéin → schéinST (compare German schönst, English prettiest). Attributive modification requires the emphatic definite article and the inflected superlative adjective:

* DEE schéinstE Mann ("the most handsome man") * DéI schéinst Fra ("the prettiest woman")

Predicative modification uses either the same adjectival structure or the adverbial structure am+ -sten: e.g. schéin → am schéinsten:

* Lëtzebuerg ass dee schéinsten / deen allerschéinsten / am schéinsten. (" Luxembourg
is the most beautiful (of all).")

Some common adjectives have exceptional comparative and superlative forms:

* gutt, besser, am beschten ("good, better, best") * vill, méi, am meeschten ("much, more, most") * wéineg, manner, am mannsten ("few, fewer, fewest")

Several other adjectives also have comparative forms. However, these are not commonly used as normal comparatives, but in special senses:

* al ("old") → eeler Leit ("elderly people"), but: méi al Leit ("older people, people older than X") * fréi ("early") → de fréiere President ("the former president"), but: e méi fréien Termin ("an earlier appointment") * laang ("long") → viru längerer Zäit ("some time ago"), but: eng méi laang Zäit ("a longer period of time")


exhibits "verb second" word order in clauses. More specifically, Luxembourgish
is a V2 - SOV language , like German and Dutch. In other words, we find the following finite clausal structures:

* the finite verb in second position in declarative clauses and wh-questions

Ech KAFEN en Hutt. Muer KAFEN ech en Hutt. (lit. "I buy a hat. Tomorrow buy I a hat.) Wat KAFEN ech haut? (lit. "What buy I today?")

* the finite verb in first position in yes/no questions and finite imperatives

BASS de midd? ("Are you tired?") GëFF mer deng Hand! ("Give me your hand!")

* the finite verb in final position in subordinate clauses

Du weess, datt ech midd SINN. (lit. "You know, that I tired am.")

Non-finite verbs (infinitives and participles) generally appear in final position:

* compound past tenses

Ech hunn en Hutt KAF. (lit. "I have a hat bought.")

* infinitival complements

Du solls net esou vill Kaffi DRéNKEN. (lit. "You should not so much coffee drink.")

* infinitival clauses (e.g., used as imperatives)

Nëmme Lëtzebuergesch SCHWäTZEN! (lit. "Only Luxembourgish speak!")

These rules interact so that in subordinate clauses, the finite verb and any non-finite verbs must all cluster at the end. Luxembourgish allows different word orders in these cases: Hie freet, ob ech KOMME KANN. (cf. German Er fragt, ob ich kommen kann.) Hie freet, ob ech KA KOMMEN. (cf. Dutch Hij vraagt of ik kan komen.)

This is also the case when two non-finite verb forms occur together: Ech hunn net KëNNE KOMMEN. (cf. Dutch Ik heb niet kunnen komen.) Ech hunn net KOMME KëNNEN. (cf. German Ich habe nicht kommen können.)

(like Dutch and German) allows prepositional phrases to appear after the verb cluster in subordinate clauses: alles, wat Der ëmmer wollt wëssen IWWER LëTZEBUERG (lit. "everything what you always wanted know about Luxembourg")


has borrowed many French words. For example, the name for a bus driver is Buschauffeur (also Dutch ), which would be Busfahrer in German and chauffeur de bus in French.

Some words are different from Standard German but have equivalents in German dialects. An example is Gromperen (potatoes – German: Kartoffeln). Other words are exclusive to Luxembourgish.


Approx. 2 meters high installation in the Justus-Lipsius building during the Luxembourgish
EU-Presidency , first half of 2005

Listen to the words below. (help ·info ) Note: Words spoken in sound clip do not reflect all words on this list.


Ja. Jo. Ja. Yes.

Nee(n). Nee(n). Nein. No.

Misschien. Vläicht. Vielleicht. Maybe.

Hallo. (also Moi in the north) Moien. Hallo. (also Moin in the north) Hello.

Goedemorgen. Gudde Moien. Guten Morgen. Good Morning.

Goedendag. or Goedemiddag. Gudde Mëtteg. Guten Tag. Good Afternoon.

Goedenavond. Gudden Owend. Guten Abend. Good Evening.

Tot ziens. Äddi. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye.

Dank u. or Merci. (in Flanders) Merci. Danke. Thank you.

Waarom? or Waarvoor? or Voor wat? (in Flanders) Firwat? Warum? Why

Ik weet het niet. Ech weess net. Ich weiß nicht. I don't know.

Ik versta het niet. Ech verstinn net. Ich verstehe nicht. I don't understand.

Excuseer mij. or Wablief? (in Flanders) Watgelift? or Entschëllegt? Entschuldigung? Excuse me?

Slagerszoon. Metzleschjong. Metzgersohn. / Metzgerjunge. Butcher's son.

Spreek je Duits/Frans/Engels? Schwätzt dir Däitsch/Franséisch/Englesch? Sprichst du Deutsch/Französisch/Englisch? Do you speak German/French/English?

Hoe heet je? Wéi heeschs du? Wie heißt du? What is your name?

Hoe gaat het? Wéi geet et? Wie geht’s? How are you?

Politiek Fatsoen. Politeschen Anstand. Politischer Anstand. Political Decency

Zo. Sou. So. So.

Vrij. Fräi. Frei. Free.

Thuis. Heem. zu Hause. / Heim. Home.

Ik. Ech. Ich. I.

En. An. Und. And.

Mijn. Mäin. Mein. My.

Ezel. Iesel. Esel. donkey.

Met. Mat. Mit. With.

Kind. Kand. Kind. Kid/Child.

Weg. Wee. Weg. Way.

Aardappel. Gromper. Kartoffel/Erdapfel. Potato.

Brood. Brout. Brot. Bread.


Neologisms in Luxembourgish
include both entirely new words, and the attachment of new meanings to old words in everyday speech. The most recent neologisms come from the English language
English language
in the fields of telecommunications , computer science , and the Internet

Recent neologisms in Luxembourgish

* direct loans from English: Browser, Spam, CD, Fitness, Come-back, Terminal, Hip, Cool, Tip-top * also found in German: Sichmaschinn (search engine, German: Suchmaschine), schwaarzt Lach (black hole, German: Schwarzes Loch), Handy (mobile phone), Websäit (webpage, German: Webseite)

* native Luxembourgish

* déck as an emphatic like ganz and vill, e.g. Dëse Kuch ass déck gutt! ("This cake is really good!") * recent expressions, used mainly by teenagers: oh mëllen! ("oh crazy"), en décke gelénkt ("you've been tricked") or cassé (French for "(you've been) owned")


Between 2000 and 2002, Luxembourgish
linguist Jérôme Lulling compiled a lexical database of 125,000 word forms as the basis for the very first Luxembourgish
spellchecker (Projet C.ORT.IN.A).

The LaF (Lëtzebuergesch als Friemsprooch – Luxembourgish
as a Foreign Language) is a set of four language proficiency certifications for Luxembourgish
and follows the ALTE framework of language examination standards. The tests are administered by the Institut National des Langues Luxembourg.

The "Centre for Luxembourg
Studies" at the University of Sheffield was founded in 1995 on the initiative of Professor Gerald Newton. It is supported by the government of Luxembourg
which funds an endowed chair in Luxembourg
Studies at the university. The first class of students to study the language outside of the country as undergraduate students began their studies at the 'Centre for Luxembourg
Studies' at Sheffield in the academic year 2011–2012.


* Luxembourg
portal * Languages portal

* Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
Erna Hennicot-Schoepges
* Literature of Luxembourg
* Luxembourgish
Swadesh List * Multilingualism in Luxembourg


* ^ A B "Le nombre de locuteurs du luxembourgeois revu à la hausse" (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2012. * ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Luxembourgish". Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. * ^ A B "Luxemburgish – definition of Luxemburgish in English from the Oxford dictionary". Retrieved 21 March 2015. * ^ A B "Letzeburgesch – definition of Luxemburgish in English from the Oxford dictionary". Retrieved 21 March 2015. * ^ Law establishing the Conseil Permanent de la Langue Luxembourgeoise (CPLL) * ^ Mémorial A no. 16 (27 February 1984), pp. 196–7: "Loi du 24 février 1984 sur le régime des langues". * ^ Hausemer, Georges. Luxemburger Lexikon - Das Großherzogtum von A-Z. * ^ A B C Ammon, Ulrich - Die Stellung der deutschen Sprache in der Welt (de Gruyter Mouton); ISBN 978-3-11-019298-8 * ^ Mémorial A no. 40 (7 September 1946), pp. 637–41: "Arrêté ministériel du 5 juin 1946 portant fixation d\'un système officiel d\'orthographe luxembourgeois" * ^ "Et get kèèn ä geshriven. Et get kèèn ö geshriven." (p. 639) * ^ Mémorial B no. 68 (16 November 1976), pp. 1365–90: "Arrêté ministériel du 10 octobre 1975 portant réforme du système officiel d'orthographe luxembourgeoise". * ^ Mémorial A no. 112 (11 August 1999), pp. 2040–8: "Règlement grand-ducal du 30 juillet 1999 portant réforme du système officiel d\'orthographe luxembourgeoise". * ^ A B Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 67. * ^ A B C D E Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 72. * ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 69. * ^ A B Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 68. * ^ Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , pp. 68–69. * ^ A B C D E F Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 70. * ^ Trouvain & Gilles (2009) , p. 75. * ^ A B Gilles & Trouvain (2013) , p. 71. * ^ Trouvain & Gilles (2009) , p. 72. * ^ Lulling, Jérôme. (2002) La créativité lexicale en luxembourgeois, Doctoral thesis, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier III * ^ Institut national des langues – INL – Passer un examen à l\'INL Archived 8 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ "Centre for Luxembourg
Studies". Retrieved 11 September 2011.


* Bruch, Robert. (1955) Précis de grammaire luxembourgeoise. Bulletin Linguistique et Ethnologique de l'Institut Grand-Ducal, Luxembourg, Linden. (2nd edition of 1968) * Gilles, Peter; Trouvain, Jürgen (2013), "Luxembourgish" (PDF), Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 43 (1): 67–74, doi :10.1017/S0025100312000278 * Schanen, François and Lulling, Jérôme. (2003) Introduction à l\'orthographe luxembourgeoise. (text available in French and Luxembourgish)



* NEWTON, Gerald (ed.), Luxembourg
and Lëtzebuergesch: Language and Communication at the Crossroads of Europe, Oxford, 1996, ISBN 0-19-824016-3 * Tamura, Kenichi (2011), "The Wiltz
Dialect in a Luxembourgish Drama for Children: Analysis of the Script for "Den Zauberer vun Oz" (2005)" (PDF), Bulletin of Aichi University of Education, 60: 11–21, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016


* BRAUN, Josy, et al. (en coll. avec Projet Moien), Grammaire de la langue luxembourgeoise. Luxembourg, Ministère de l'Éducation nationale et de la Formation professionnelle 2005. ISBN 2-495-00025-8 * SCHANEN, François, Parlons Luxembourgeois, Langue et culture linguistique d'un petit pays au coeur de l'Europe. Paris, L'Harmattan 2004, ISBN 2-7475-6289-1 * SCHANEN, François / ZIMMER, Jacqui, 1,2,3 Lëtzebuergesch Grammaire. Band 1: Le groupe verbal. Band 2: Le groupe nominal. Band 3:L'orthographe. Esch-sur-Alzette, éditions Schortgen, 2005 et 2006 * SCHANEN, François / ZIMMER, Jacqui, Lëtzebuergesch Grammaire luxembourgeoise. En un volume. Esch-sur-Alzette, éditions Schortgen, 2012. ISBN 978-2-87953-146-5


* SCHANEN, François, Lëtzebuergesch Sproocherubriken. Esch-sur-Alzette, éditions Schortgen, 2013.ISBN 978-2-87953-174-8 * Meyer, Antoine , E' Schrek ob de' lezeburger Parnassus, Lezeburg (Luxembourg), Lamort, 1829


* BRUCH, Robert, Grundlegung einer Geschichte des Luxemburgischen, Luxembourg, Publications scientifiques et littéraires du Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, 1953, vol. I; Das Luxemburgische im westfränkischen Kreis, Luxembourg, Publications scientifiques et littéraires du Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, 1954, vol. II * MOULIN, Claudine and Nübling, Damaris (publisher): Perspektiven einer linguistischen Luxemburgistik. Studien zu Diachronie und Synchronie., Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg, 2006. This book has been published with the support of the Fonds National de la Recherche * GILLES, Peter (1998). "Die Emanzipation des Lëtzebuergeschen aus dem Gefüge der deutschen Mundarten". Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie. 117: 20–35. * BERG, Guy, Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin: Soziolinguistische und sprachtypologische Betrachtungen zur luxemburgischen Mehrsprachigkeit., Tübingen, 1993 (Reihe Germanistische Linguistik 140). ISBN 3-484-31140-1 * (phrasebook) REMUS, Joscha, Lëtzebuergesch Wort für Wort. Kauderwelsch Band 104. Bielefeld, Reise Know-How Verlag 1997. ISBN 3-89416-310-0 * WELSCHBILLIG Myriam, SCHANEN François , Jérôme Lulling , Luxdico Deutsch: Luxemburgisch ↔ Deutsches Wörterbuch, Luxemburg (Éditions Schortgen) 2008, Luxdico Deutsch


LUXEMBOURGISH EDITION of , the free encyclopedia

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* Conseil Permanent de la Langue Luxembourgeoise

Spellcheckers and dictionaries

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