Towards the Primary Platform for
Language Technologies in Europe

National Competence Centre Luxembourg

The Languages of Luxembourg

The three most spoken and official languages in Luxembourg are Luxembourgish, French and German. Many citizens grow up bi- or trilingual and every pupil has to learn these three languages and English in school. It is not surprising that 98% of the citizens can speak French, 80% English, 78% German and 70% Luxembourgish. Luxembourgish became an official language 1984. Beforehand, the standardisation of the writing system took place until the middle of the 20th century. Luxembourgish is also spoken in Arelerland in Belgium, in some parts of Lorraine in France, and at the border to Germany. Furthermore, small Luxembourgish speaking communities exist in the US, Canada and Transilvania.
Luxembourgish has several regional small dialects which differ in vocabularies and phonetics. It belongs to the West-Germanic languages and is part of the Moselle-Franconian dialect. The Moselle-Franconian area range from some regions in the west of Germany over Luxembourg and some German-speaking communities in Belgium to the French department of Moselle.

Features of Luxembourgish:

  • The vocabulary contains many German and French borrowings. To some extent, compounds exist which consist of German and French parts like “buschauffeur”.
  • The phonetic system also reflects the influence of German and French. Many sounds can be found in German or French phonetic systems, except for the eight diphthongs. The standard German has only three diphthongs.
  • The morphosyntax of Luxembourgish resembles the German morphosyntax. It is also a SOV language with the verb at the second position in a main sentence and at the last position in a subordinate clause.
  • The inflectional system is expressed with the determiners of the nouns or pronouns. Furthermore, a possessive relation (marked with the genitive case in many Germanic languages) has to be circumscribed with a dative declined noun and a possessive determiner, because Luxembourgish has only three cases: nominative, dative and accusative.

More detailed information about the languages can be found on the NNC sides for: France and Germany.

Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Luxembourgish Language. In Ecyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 15:00, June 25, 2020 from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Luxembourgish-language.
Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 16). Luxembourgish. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:00, June 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourgish.
Peter Gilles, Jürgen, Trouvain (2013). Luxembourgish. In Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43(1), Cambridge University Press, pp. 67-74. Retrieved 15:00, June 25, 2020, from https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-phonetic-association/article/luxembourgish/3C9FB295A261FD6F28D694252B06B4A3/core-reader.
Information and Press Service of the government of Luxembourg, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Luxembourg (2020, March 27). An intro to ‘Lëtzebuergesch’: Discover Luxembourg’s national language. Retrieved 16:00, June 25, 2020, from https://luxembourg.public.lu/en/society-and-culture/languages/introduction-letzebuergesch.html.
Wikipedia contributors. (2020, June 8). Moselle Franconian Language. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:00, June 25, 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moselle_Franconian_language.

NCC Lead Luxembourg

Dr. Dimitra Anastasiou works as a Research and Technology Associate at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology. 2015, she was awarded the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship grant on the subject of Tangible User Interfaces.
Since 2010, she is a guest lecturer at the Master of Multilingual Web Design at the UFR des Langues & Sciences Humaines Appliquees, University of Strasbourg.
Her research interests focus on Human Computer Interaction and Tangible User Interfaces.
Dimitra Anastasiou published 40 articles or conference proceedings since she accomplished her PhD 2008.

Current National Initiatives

  • There is no specific LT programme.
  • At the University of Luxembourg, there is the Institut de langue et de littératures luxembourgeoises (Institute of Luxembourgish language and literature), which had, until 2014, projects on lexicography and phraseology. The latest project (2013-2016) is about the standardization of the German language in Luxembourg.
  • There have also been some projects related to LT funded by INTERREG Grande Région. There is no dedicated funding for LT.
  • The Luxembourg National Research Fund has recently reviewed its priorities. One of these is the multilingual situation in the school system.

Aljoscha Burchardt, Markus Egg, Kathrin Eichler, Brigitte Krenn, Jörn Kreutel, Annette Leßmöllmann, Georg Rehm, Manfred Stede, Hans Uszkoreit, and Martin Volk. Die Deutsche Sprache im digitalen Zeitalter – The German Language in the Digital Age. META-NET White Paper Series: Europe’s Languages in the Digital Age. Springer, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London, 2012. Georg Rehm and Hans Uszkoreit (series editors).

Full text of this META-NET White Paper (PDF)
Additional information on this META-NET White Paper

Joseph Mariani, Patrick Paroubek, Gil Francopoulo, Aurélien Max, François Yvon, and Pierre Zweigenbaum. La langue française à l’ Ère du numérique – The French Language in the Digital Age. META-NET White Paper Series: Europe’s Languages in the Digital Age. Springer, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London, 9 2012. Georg Rehm and Hans Uszkoreit (series editors).

Full text of this META-NET White Paper (PDF)
Additional information on this META-NET White Paper

Availability of Tools and Resources for German and French (as of 2012)

The following table illustrates the support of the German language through speech technologies, machine translation, text analytics and language resources.

Speech technologies Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Machine translation Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Text analytics Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Language resources Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support

The following table illustrates the support of the French language through speech technologies, machine translation, text analytics and language resources.

Speech technologies Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Machine translation Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Text analytics Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support
Language resources Excellent
support
Good
support
Moderate
support
Fragmentary
support
Weak/no
support