An expat who speaks neither French nor Luxembourgish and has no awareness of the centuries-old linguistic tensions in the region remained peacefully oblivious on Tuesday morning after a French woman asked a middle-aged Luxembourgish shop assistant to speak French.
The situation occurred at a boutique in Mersch when 59-year-old Chantal Arndt approached a customer and asked in Luxembourgish if she could help the 29-year-old woman with a baby. Expat Lukas Stanic, 36, examined a nearby rack of bathrobes.
Unable or unwilling to understand, the mother said, “En français, s’il vous plaît,” causing the shop assistant’s mouth to curl imperceptibly into the hint of frown as she repeated the question in French.
Within seconds, seismometers in the region registered a tremor of 1.1 on the Richter scale, which was felt by both the customer and assistant, but it was not strong enough for the expat to notice.
According to reports, he scarcely registered what the words meant, let alone their impact, and continued browsing.
Still unaware, a minute later he asked the assistant, in rapidly delivered English, if she had size L in a bathrobe that interested him.
“Let me see,” said the shop assistant. For some reason, seismometers registered no seismic activity.
“These rumblings, these nearly imperceptible shifts in the Earth’s crust, happen thousands of times every day,” explained one Luxembourger. “Those not from the Greater Region have nothing to worry about. You are all sweet children of pure innocence. Don’t worry your dear little hearts.”