MAMER — Saying that one day he’ll finally grasp the confusing grammar, thousands of weird compound verbs, and the maze of rules governing articles, a local man is enrolled in the same introductory Luxembourgish course that he has ceremoniously taken every year since moving here in 1997.
Despite the course having gone through several name changes over the years — from cours de luxembourgeois pour débutants, Luxembourgish level 1, to Lëtzebuergesch A1.1 — the content has remained virtually unchanged since Taku Yamamoto vowed to learn the language 21 years ago.
“It all makes sense when I’m in class, and I take a lot of notes,” he said, thinking back to how when he began, few people in Luxembourg knew of the internet and Princess Diana had recently died. “Most of my garage is filled with boxes of notebooks from my Luxembourgish course, as well as old textbooks that are probably now considered antiques and are worth some money.”
“It’s just that as soon as I go out and try to speak Luxembourgish to people,” he continued, “the whole thing falls apart, and I end up putting the preposition in the wrong place, or I forget how to conjugate an irregular verb, and we revert to English, which is admittedly much easier for everyone involved.”
“I have the impression that listening to me speak in Luxembourgish is actually painful for others,” he added. “But that doesn’t mean I’ll ever give up.”
Sources indicate that only a few weeks in, Yamamoto is again struggling to remember the difference between wéini (when), wéi (how) and wien (who), so he’s told himself that after the course finishes this summer, he’ll retake it next term just to make sure that everything really sinks in before he forgets it all again.