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Local time: GMT+1
29Mar-26Sep: GMT+2 Telephone: +352
Language: Luxemburgish, Ger,Fr.
Electricity: 220v 50c AC Currency: Luxembourg
franc (LUF)

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The information below is aimed at the foreign visitor wanting an idea of
Luxembourg`s linguistic usages.

Basic data - Abroad - Culture - Public admin. - Research - In film - Dictionaries - Running of state Grammer - In song - Literary life - European com. - Soliciters - Courts of law - Religion
Coins and notes - On road signs - In advertising - On radio and tv - In the press - At school

If French is the official language of legislative documents, and German is the most used language in the press, what then is the place in everyday life of Luxembourgish,the national language?

Area: 2586 km² - Inhabitants: 400.900 - Foreign residents: 124.500
•Belgians 2%
•French 3%
•Germans 2%
•Italians 5%
•Portuguese 11%
•Spaniards 1%
•Other 7%
•Luxembourgers 69%

Employed: 203.200 - Salary-earners: 187.000 - Self-employed: 16.200 Frontier workers: 47.300:
•Germans 18%
•Belgians 31%
•French 51%
Ref. Statec 1.1.1993 and 1.1.1994.

All Luxembourgers speak Luxembourgish at home, while first- and second-generation immigrants generally speak the language of their country of origin. In the workspace - in offices, workshops, on building sites, in shops and factories - Luxembourgers speak Luxembourgish among themselves.
The language of communication with first-generation immigrants and frontier workers speaking Latin languages is French. German is spoken by Luxembourgers to German frontier workers.
It should be noted that Luxembourgish is the mothertongue of a considerable number of Belgian, French and German frontier workers. Second- and third-generation immigrants generally know Luxembourgish but do not speak it among themselves.

Luxembourgish is the language of instruction in pre-school education (Spillschoul), where young Luxembourgers perfect their knowledge of their mother tongue from the age of four to six.
Foreign children learn Luxembourgish at the same stage by mixing with their Luxembourg classmates, as well as through specific teaching.
At the primary school stage German increasingly becomes the main language of instruction. Luxembourgish is taught systematically for one hour per week. It is also the language of practical activities, as well as the language of communication between pupils and between pupils and teachers. French is taught from the second half of the second school year on. It is then used increasingly as a back-up language in teaching. In secondary general education, French is the language of instruction from the fourth year on. Luxembourgish is still the language of communication between students, and students and teachers.
In technical education some sectors retain German as their main language of instruction, while practical training is mainly carried out in Luxembourgish.
All pre-school teachers are trained to teach Luxembourgish to foreign children (approx. 30% of the pupils). All primary school teachers are qualified to teach Luxembourgish, in addition to teaching German and French as foreign languages.
Courses in Portuguese, Italian and Spanish are given to the children of immigrants by native teachers provided by their respective embassies or consulates.
Since 1976 courses in Luxembourgish for foreigners have been given through the National Ministry of Education and the "Action Letzebuergesch" association.

Luxembourgish is little used in the ordinary press nowadays. If it is not often found in articles, it does, however, play an important part in births, marriages and deaths columns and in announcements by associations. Weekly publications and especially cultural periodics tend to use Luxembourgish regularly and increasingly.

RTL broadcasts a complete programme schedule in Luxembourgish on FM (92.5m): national and international news, as well as sports, cultural, literary, musical, political, economic, social, agricultural and horticole features. Broadcasts (6.30 to 20.30) are to some extent listened to by all homes. A number of independent, regional and local radio stations broadcast occasionally or entirely in Luxembourgish. For many years Tele-Letzebuerg broadcast on a weekly basis, but these broadcasts are now daily, 19.00 to 21.30 on Sundays.

Advertising posters for public institutions such as the Railway, the Postoffice and the State Savings Bank are generally bilingual: French/German, Luxembourgish/French or Luxembourgish/German. Commercial billboard advertising tends to use Luxembourgish relatively little. Circulars and flyers posted into letter boxes are almost exclusively in Luxembourgish when they are distributed by local businesses or travelling sales-people. Advertising brochures increasingly contain advertisements and articles in Luxembourgish. Brochures from large companies (cars, household goods) are only in German or French. Advertisements in daily and weekly newspapers are mainly in French and German, but a significant and growing number of advertisers use Luxembourgish. Advertisements on RTL-Letzebuerg radio and television broadcast are exclusively in Lxembourgish.

Signs at the entrance to towns and villages are bilingual, in French/Luxembourgish. Signposts on motorways and main roads are in French or the language of the country into which they lead.

Coins and bank notes have French on one side and Luxembourgish on the other.

Official posters at the occasion of elections are in Luxembourgish, French and German. The posting of marriage banns and local authority announcements or notices are in French, German or Luxembourgish, and in certain areas possibly in Portuguese or Italian.
Official forms (e.g.tax declarations) are bilingual, in German and French. Official certi- ficates such as birth certificates are in French. Passports are trilingual, Luxembourgish/French/English; the heading of identity cards is in French, English, German and Luxembourgish, the wording in French and English. Driving, hunting and fishing licences are issued in French.
Luxembourgers speak Luxembourgish only in their dealings with civil servants on a local or national level. Citizens write to the public authorities in French, German or Luxembourgish. Civil servants as a rule answer in the language used by the corespondent. Trainee civil servants have to attend a course and sit an exam in Luxembourgish.

The Grand Duke and the Ministers address the nation in Luxembourgish. Draft legislation, as well as laws and government announcements are in French, the official languages of legislation.
Certain important declarations are however made in Luxembourgish. The debates of the Chamber of Deputies are almost entirely in Luxembourgish and are published in that language in the official records, distributed free to all households.
Local council debates are in Luxembourgish, with records in French or German. Ministerial circulars and communiqués are in French. Administrative circulars affecting the public are often accompanied by a German translation. Written questions by parliamentarians are generally formulated in French, and sometimes in German or Luxembourgish.

Luxembourgish is recognised by the European Union as the national language of a member state. It does not, however, figure on the cover of the European passport.
The teaching of Luxembourgish in other member states can benefit from the LINGUA programme, aimed at encouraging teacher training, adult education and the production of didactic material.
Luxembourgish is neither an official language of the European Union nor a working language of the European institutions. The Treaties of Paris, Rome and Maastricht have not been translated into Luxembourgish.

In criminal cases, the questioning of the accused, victims and witnesses is done in Luxemburgish. Lawyers plead in French, rarely in Luxembourgish.
The ruling is handed down in and published in French. As for civil cases, they are carried out between judges and lawyers, in the absence of the affected parties, in French. If there is to be questioning of the parties, it is done in Luxembourgish.
Judges will not hesitate to use French or German to question parties who do not speak Luxembourgish. Lawyers, even if they are foreigners, are supposed to understand Luxembourgish.

Solicitors will always converse with their Luxembourgish clients in Luxembourgish. They draw up and read deeds in French, but they will not hesitate, if needs be, to accompany their reading with comments in Luxembourgish.
Bills of sale drafted by solicitors are in French or German, rarely in Luxembourgish.

Since the liturgical reform of the Catholic Church, services are celebrated increasingly in Luxembourgish. There is still no authentic and complete translation into Luxembourgish of the Sacred Scriptures.
Readings from Old and New Testaments are thus in French or German. Religious marriages and funeral services are generally carried out in Luxembourgish, Members of the clergy have no difficulty in using French, German or English, and where possible the languages of immigrant workers. There is an official Luxembourgish version of the canon of the Mass, and of the rituals of baptism, marriage and burial ceremonies.

Given that there are only 300,000 speakers of the language, literary publishing in Luxembourgish is remarkably thriving. Best-selling novels may be published in print runs of up to 4,000 copies. Since the average household is made up by 2.6 persons, this represents a copy for every homes. Plays and poetry generally have more modest print runs of less than 1,000 copies.
Although there are excellent translations of Tintin, Asterix and Walt Disney albums, in print runs of up to 9,000 copies, there are few original works for young people and children. Luxembourgish theatre is very popular. All villages or towns with more than 300 inhabitants put on at least one theatrical performance a year, through their local musical, choral, sports, firemen or other associations, or by some amateur group.

Hundreds of songs for young and old testify to the lyrical vein of Luxembourg's poets and the creativity of her musicians.
The operetta has been popular for more than a century. Variety shows and cabaret in Luxembourgish play to full houses. Several rock and folk groups sing in the language. Popular and school song books are regularly reissued and contain numerous songs in Luxembourgish, together with songs in other languages.

A feature film and a number of shorts testify to the viability of an admittedly small but high-quality film industry, even in a small country.
The government has involved itself recently in supporting existing initiatives, as part of the development of the audio-visual-media.

The first Luxembourgish/German-French dictionary dates from 1847.
A Luxembourgish/German dictionary appeared in 1906. Under the auspices of the Grand-Ducal Institute a large dictionary of the Luxembourgish language appeared in five volumes between 1950 and 1954.
A permanent commission follows the development of the vocabulary. In recent times French-Luxembourgish and German-Luxembourgish dictionaries have facilitated the learning of Luxembourgish.
A Lexicon containing the French, German, English, Spanish and Portuguese equivalent of the 6000 most-used Luxembourgish words has also been designed.

The most recent standardisation of spelling coincided with the compilation of the large Luxembourgish dictionary. The last official circular on spelling was issued in 1976. The official spelling is applied in teaching and in public and private publishing, but not as systematically in private correspondence. Re-editions of texts from before the reform retain the original spelling, except in the case of school anthologies.
The first standardised grammar dates back to 1955. Up-dated and amended re-editions were published in 1968, 1973, 1976. The Ministry for Education publishes regularly compilations of texts with grammar elements for schools.

Linguistic research into Luxembourgish concentrates mainly on the regional variations of Östling, Minette and the areas around Vianden, Echternach and Luxembourg itself. Such studies have been inextricably linked, since the nineteenth century, with research carried out on the dialects of the regions of Trier, Saarbrücken, Arlon and the French Lorraine.
An atlas of the Luxembourgish language was designed in 1963. Linguistic and terminological studies are fostered and co-ordinated by the linguistics, folk and toponymy section of the Grand-Ducal Institute.

The proclamation in law of Luxembourgish as the national language of the Grand Duchy on 24 February 1984 conferred a new status on Luxembourgish literature. But its success over the last fifty years is due on the one hand to the flourishing of remarkable talents, and on the other, to the courage of publishers and the enthusiasm of the public.
First there is the school-based promotional activity fostered by the Government. The teaching of Luxembourgish, especially to the children of Italian and Portuguese immigrants has achieved remarkable results.
The government also finances the Grand-Ducal Institute. In the near future, special funding will foster literary work. Two associations, Action Letzebuergesch and the Luxembourgish Committee of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages, strive in the case of the former, to promote the use of Luxembourgish in public life, and, in the case of the latter, to defend and promote the status of regional and lesser used languages within the European Union.

Although visibly on the decline with young people, Luxembourgish is still spoken in several areas of Belgium, France and Germany bordering on the Grand-Duchy; these areas once belonged to the Germanic region of the Duchy of Luxembourg.
In all there are estimated to be 90,000 speakers. Two associations, "Areler Land a Sprooch" and "Wei Laang Nach" strive to revive and promote Luxembourgish in Belgian Luxembourg and French Lorraine. In the second half of the nineteenth century, one out of every five Luxembourgers emigrated to the US. It is estimated that 25,000 of their descendants speak or understand Luxembourgish.
Nowadays a considerable number of Luxembourgers do not return to their country after finishing their studies abroad.

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