Last Updated on 15th November 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Almost everyone I met in Luxembourg was well versed in multiple languages. But then again, considering that Luxembourg has three official languages, I guess this shouldn’t be at all surprising… Plus, absolutely everyone I spoke with was fluent in Luxembourgish (also known as Luxemburgish). This article will give you a quick guide to some of the most useful Luxembourgish words and phrases, as well as a quick history of the language!
A Quick History of Luxembourgish
Luxembourg is a landlocked country in the very heart of Europe. A Grand Duchy bordering on France and Germany, French and German are two of its official languages as a result. Meanwhile, Luxembourg also has a language of its own, Luxembourgish.
Although the language is predominantly spoken in Luxembourg, speakers can also be found in parts of Belgium, France and even as far afield as the USA. Although Luxembourgish is a Germanic language in its origins (specifically a Moselle Franconian dialect), today it shouldn’t be confused with being a German dialect as opposed to its own official language.
After all, the language even has its own literature and culture associated with it. And the most important factor in distinguishing a language from a dialect is politics, and more specifically, political boundaries. Today, around 390,000 people around the world speak Luxembourgish. The language is spoken on a daily basis by the population of the country and has been taught in schools at a primary level for well over a hundred years.
That being said, the written language of Luxembourg was not formalized until 1946, though unofficial documentation shows that it has been in use since as early as the 19th-Century. During its development, Luxembourg was heavily influenced by French. This means that much of the vocabulary has a francophone influence. For much of its existence, the language of Luxembourgish was not nearly as important as it is today.
10 Beautiful and Useful Luxembourgish Words and Phrases:
Moien/ Salut: Hello
A simple ‘hello’ is arguably one of the most important words you can learn in any language. It’s polite, simple and easy to remember! Plus, it’s nice to say a quick greeting before asking if the person in question can speak English/ German/ French!
Likewise, quick goodbye is pretty important if you want to be polite when you need to leave!
Schéinen Dag nach: Have a nice day
Brighten someone’s day upon your departure from the conversation by wishing them a nice day…
Prost: Cheers! (for drinking)
Similar to ‘Cheers’ in English when you want to have a drink and toast the occasion, prost is perfect to toast your new friendships… Some of the favourite and typical drinks from Luxembourg include crémant (sparkling wine) from the Moselle region, various beers, and a number of liqueurs, including Hunnegdrëpp, which is derived from honey.
Jo/ Neen: Yes/ No
Sometimes, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will suffice… particularly when you’re not sure how to answer a question in the language!
Schwätzt dir Däitsch/Franséisch/Englesch?: Do you speak German/French/English?
Although most people you’ll meet in Luxembourg are likely to be able to speak another language, it’s always nice to be polite and ask first!
Wéi heeschs du?: What is your name?
Continuing along the line of useful Luxembourgish words, learning what someone’s name is can be a great icebreaker… as well as a great way to be polite when you can’t remember how to say something and need to switch to an easier language!
One of my favourite words to learn in any language (after learning how to say ‘hello’) is thank you. After all, you’ll want to thank someone when you order a coffee, buy a souvenir or exit the bus…
Et deet mer Leed: I am sorry
If you’re clumsy (like me), then it’s always nice to know how to say sorry to someone if you’ve accidentally stepped on their toes or something…
Wéi heescht dat op Lëtzebuergesch?: What is that called in Luxembourgish?
Finally, if you want to learn even more useful Luxembourgish words and phrases, you’re going to need to know how to ask for them!