About Luxembourgish Language
Luxembourgish (Lëtzebuergesch, French: Luxembourgeois, German: Luxemburgisch, Dutch: Luxemburgs, Walloon: Lussimbordjwès), is a Moselle Franconian language spoken mainly in Luxembourg. About 390,000 people worldwide speak Luxembourgish.
Luxembourgish belongs to the West Central German group of High German languages and is the primary example of a Moselle Franconian language.
Luxembourgish is the national language of Luxembourg, but it is only one of three administrative languages (along with French and German).
Luxembourgish is also spoken in small parts of the surrounding countries of Belgium (in the Province of Luxembourg near Arlon), France (in small parts of Lorraine) and Germany (around Bitburg and Trier). In Germany and Lorraine it is simply considered the local German dialect. Since the Second World War, however, the language has not been taught in these countries, with the result that use of Luxembourgish is largely restricted to the older generations.
Furthermore, the language is spoken by a few descendants of Luxembourg immigrants in the United States, and a closely related variety is spoken by ethnic Germans long settled in Transylvania, Romania (Siebenbürgen).
There are several distinct dialect forms of Luxembourgish including Areler (from Arlon), Eechternoacher (Echternach), Kliärrwer (Clervaux), Miseler (Moselle), Stater (Luxembourg), Veiner (Vianden), Minetter (Southern Luxembourg) and Weelzer (Wiltz). Further small vocabulary differences may be seen even between small villages.
Increasing mobility of the population and the dissemination of the language through mass media such as radio and television are leading to a gradual standardisation towards a "Standard Luxembourgish" through the process of koineization.
There is no distinct geographic boundary between the use of Luxembourgish and the use of other closely related High German dialects (for example Lorraine Franconian); it instead forms a dialect continuum of gradual change.
Spoken Luxembourgish is relatively hard to understand for speakers of German who are generally not familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects, though they can usually read the language. For those Germans familiar with Moselle Franconian dialects, it is relatively easy to understand Luxembourgish, but more difficult to speak it properly because of the French influence. Even literary German, as it is written in Luxembourg, tends to include many French words and phrases.
There is no mutual intelligibility between Luxembourgish and French or any of the Romance dialects spoken in the adjacent parts of Belgium and France.
Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, President of the Christian Social People's Party of Luxembourg 1995-2003, was active in promoting the language beyond Luxembourg's borders.
Standardization - A number of proposals for standardizing the orthography of Luxembourgish can be documented, going back to the middle of the 19th century. There was no officially recognised system, however, until the adoption of the "OLO" (ofizjel lezebuurjer ortografi) on 5 June 1946. This orthography provided a system for speakers of all varieties of Luxembourgish to transcribe words the way they pronounced them, rather than imposing a single, standard spelling for the words of the language. The rules explicitly rejected certain elements of German orthography (e.g., the use of "ä" and "ö", the capitalisation of nouns). Similarly, new principles were adopted for the spelling of French loanwords.
This proposed orthography, so different from existing "foreign" standards that people were already familiar with, did not enjoy widespread approval.
A more successful standard eventually emerged from the work of the committee of specialists charged with the task of creating the Luxemburger Wörterbuch, published in 5 volumes between 1950 and 1977. The orthographic conventions adopted in this decades-long project, set out in Bruch (1955), provided the basis of the standard orthography that became official on 10 October 1975. Modifications to this standard were proposed by the Conseil permanent de la langue luxembourgeoise and adopted officially in the spelling reform of 30 July 1999. A detailed explanation of current practice for Luxembourgish can be found in Schanen & Lulling (2003).
The Luxembourgish alphabet consists of the 26 Latin letters plus three modified letters: "é", "ä", and "ë". In loanwords from French and German, other diacritics are usually preserved:
French: Boîte, Enquête, Piqûre, etc.