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.