"Language does not die out, it changes"

By Sarah RaparoliLex KlerenMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

It is one of those recurring topics: the Luxembourgish language. Especially on social networks, people often complain about the disappearance of the language, saying it has given way to French, for example. In some discussions, opinions go so far as to say that Luxembourgish is in the process of dying out. Is this the case? We attempt to provide an answer.

“I have appointed myself ambassador of Luxembourgish.” Hearty laughter rings out at the other end of the line. “Don’t take me too seriously.” Wlodzimierz Leszczynski is 70 years old and learns Luxembourgish at the National Language Institute (INL). Wlodek comes from Poland. He has lived in Luxembourg for a good 30 years and is probably one of the most experienced in his class. He obtained the Luxembourg nationality a while ago.

Meanwhile he has mastered a B1.1 level. “The first time I attended a course was a good 20 years ago. Later, however, I never actually spoke the language. I worked at a Polish bank. Polish, German and French dominated there.” It was out of respect, he says, that he decided to learn Luxembourgish after all. He has been doing so for a few years now, but it doesn’t work out so well on his own.

That is why he praises the helpful work done by the relevant authorities. He himself has several programmes and uses the tools “Spellchecker” or "LOD" every day to deepen his knowledge or to look up words. During the interview, he also asked a few times how to correctly pronounce one word or another in Luxembourgish. Still, he say, there is a lack of offers in the national press to help him in learning the language.

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