Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lessons in Luxembourgish

Thursday, August 27.

It's August 27, which means that I'm just fourteen days away from the big move to Luxembourg. Although I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by, I'm excited for all the new adventures and challenges that my time in Luxembourg will bring. Among the adventures (although debatably more at home under "challenges") is the Luxembourgish language. Although Luxembourg counts French and German among its three official languages, the first choice of most native Luxembourgers is Lëtzebuergesch, or Luxembourgish.

Luxembourgish is what is known as a Moselle Franconian dialect, but it has long been considered a separate language and has been the official language of Luxembourg since the 1980s. Unlike French and German, Luxembourgish is limited in its global popularity.

So far, my favorite thing about Luxembourgish -- or Lëtzebuergesch -- is how much it reminds me of my own experience learning German over the past couple years. That is to say, the result sounds a bit like funky German with a few random French words thrown in!

As I understand it, Luxembourgish preserves much of the grammatical structure of German.
English: How are you?
German: Wie geht es dir? (informal)
Luxembourgish: Wéi geet et dir?
English: I do not understand.
German: Ich verstehe nicht.
Luxembourg: Ech verstinn net.
However, some words are totally French! For example...
English: Hi!
French: Salut!
Luxembourgish: Salut! or Moien!
English: Bye!
French: Adieu!
Luxembourgish: Äddi!
The tricky part, of course, is how on earth to pronounce it all! I have watched a few YouTube videos, but am no closer to understanding how to say these words than I was before.

Want to let everyone (who speaks Luxembourgish) know that you, too, are learning Luxembourgish? Check out Learn Luxembourgish for adorable tees, coffee mugs, and tote bags. (Everything reads "Schwätzt Lëtzebuergesch mat me, ech léieren" which means "Speak Luxembourgish to me, I'm learning!") No word yet on how to say "cheesy but cute" in Luxembourgish. ;)