My expat neighbor has learned Luxembourgish
There is a very persistent rumor that people who move to Luxembourg don’t make an effort to learn Luxembourgish, and that some live here for decades using only English or French. As a Luxembourger, I would like to say this is simply not true. I have known many people who move here and, out of a real desire to integrate, learn our language. Take my neighbor, for example.
Across the street from me lives a nice young man from, well, I believe he’s Filipino or Greek, or perhaps both. Although he’s only lived here for five years, he’s fluent in Luxembourgish. It’s really quite amazing how advanced he is. I almost feel like he could correct me.
When we see each other outside, which is often because I enjoy sitting on my front porch, we have wonderful conversations in Luxembourgish. We talk about everything from sports cars, to the knee injury he got from playing basketball, to my childhood bedwetting which has crept back into my life in recent years.
So to my fellow Luxembourgers, I say this: don’t lump all outsiders together. If you simply take the time to talk to some foreigners, you’ll find that many of them have made a real effort to learn our language.
Joe Thiesen is a retired science teacher who lives in Capellen
No, I haven’t
I would like to clarify something. I do not speak Luxembourgish beyond the obligatory moien, merci, and addi. I learned these words during my first day in Luxembourg five years ago, and I never progressed past that. No, actually, I did learn two other words which mean yes and no, but I have no idea how to spell them. Okay, I’ll give it a try: yoh and nay. Honestly, these are the only five words I know.
For reasons I do not understand, my neighbor speaks to me in Luxembourgish and seems to think I understand him. I don’t. He might as well be speaking Filipino or Greek, both of which he seems to think I also speak. I have no idea why. I was born in Argentina and grew up in the US.
If you’re a Luxembourgish speaker, I would like to ask you to please help me. No, I’m not asking you to teach me conversational Luxembourgish. Maybe one day, but not now. I would simply like to know how to say in Luxembourgish, “I’m flattered you think I’m some kind of linguistic genius, but I’m not. I must confess that I’ve never understood a word you’ve said to me except that you’re suffering from incontinence, but I gathered that mostly from your gestures and sound effects.”
Benjamin Moreno is a software engineer who lives in Capellen
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