Luxembourgish was officially accorded the status of a national language in 1984 with the law on the language regime (loi du 24 février 1984 sur le régime des langues). In our multilingual society, Luxembourgish plays an essential role.
Within the Government, the promotion of the Luxembourgish language is within the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.
The Government’s commitment to Luxembourgish was fixed in March 2017, in a strategy to promote the Luxembourgish language. The document sets out 40 measures laying down the foundations for an action plan and enabling the setting-up of medium- and long-term initiatives aimed at developing the Luxembourgish language.
This strategic document sets out four far-reaching commitments and objectives to which the Government has committed itself in concrete terms, namely:
- increasing the importance of the Luxembourgish language;
- advancing the standardisation, use and study of Luxembourgish;
- promoting learning Luxembourgish and learning about Luxembourgish culture;
- promoting culture in the Luxembourgish language.
Further information about the 40 measures to promote the Luxembourgish language can be found in the strategic document (PDF, in French).
On 1 July 2023, the Luxembourgish language was enshrined in the Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the country’s most important legal text, which defines the structure of the State and organises the functioning of its institutions.
Article 4.(1) stipulates that the language of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is Luxembourgish and that the law regulates the use of Luxembourgish, French and German. With its inclusion in the Constitution, the status of the Luxembourgish language has become unambiguous.
Previously, on 14 December 2022, the Government in Council adopted the Action plan for the Luxembourg language (PDF, in Luxembourgish) comprising 50 measures grouped around the following three pillars:
- Lëtzebuergesch léiere fir jiddwereen – Learning Luxembourgish for everyone
- Visibilitéit a Gebrauch vum Lëtzebuergeschen – Visibility and use of Luxembourgish
- Lëtzebuergesch virundreiwen – Promotion of the Luxembourgish language
On 20 July 2018, the Chamber of Deputies adopted the law on the promotion of the Luxembourgish language. In consequence, various bodies were created:
Commissioner for the Luxembourgish language
The Commissioner for the Luxembourgish language (Commissaire fir d'Lëtzebuerger Sprooch) is responsible for an action plan centred around Luxembourgish. Succeeding the first Commissioner, Pierre Reding was appointed Commissioner on 1 January 2023.
The Commissioner is responsible for implementing an action plan to promote the Luxembourgish language and for recommending new supplementary measures in favour of the language. He also ensures that there are sufficient opportunities to learn Luxembourgish, both in the Grand Duchy and abroad, and that adequate teaching material is available. Furthermore, he makes sure that complaints regarding the use or non-use of Luxembourgish in public services, the visibility of Luxembourgish at all levels and the research in the field of Luxembourgish are duly investigated.
Zenter fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch (ZLS)
The spheres of competence of the Zenter fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch (ZLS, Centre for the Luxembourgish language) are the Luxembourgish language and the linguistic situation in the Grand Duchy, as well as the promotion of Luxembourgish on a national and international level. The ZLS documents the Luxembourgish language, its history and its dialects, as well as the multilingual context.
- publishes the spelling and grammar rules for the Luxembourgish language;
- develops and updates language tools;
- answers questions about spelling, grammar, phonetics and the correct use of the Luxembourgish language;
- translates official documents and official communications intended for publication at the request of ministers.
The Lëtzebuerger Online Dictionnaire (LOD.lu) lies at the heart of the work done by the ZLS. The LOD constitutes the official reference for correct spelling. At the same time, this dictionary actively contributes to strengthen the role of Luxembourgish as a language for communication and integration. The LOD is a multilingual dictionary in which many Luxembourgish words are translated into German, French, English and Portuguese and illustrated by examples in Luxembourgish. If you have any questions about the Luxembourgish language, you can contact the ZLS.
Then there are the rules of Luxembourgish spelling and grammar, the updating of a conjugation handbook, a geographical map showing Luxembourgish placenames, a series of works on Luxembourgish vocabulary, etc. Online tools such as the Ortho-Trainer (ortho.lod.lu), the medical dictionary (med.lod.lu) and the spellchecker (www.spellchecker.lu) have been developed or adapted.
The ZLS also publishes books on language regulation, such as D’Lëtzebuerger Orthografie and the book series Lëtzebuerger Wuertschatz. In addition, the Centre provides citizens and administrative authorities with a range of services, including the Lëtzebuerger Online Dictionnaire (LOD.lu). Moreover, the ZLS works at the scientific level and in the field of popularising research results.
Conseil permanent de la langue luxembourgeoise
The Conseil permanent de la langue luxembourgeoise (CPLL, Permanent Council for the Luxembourgish language) was created in 1998 and is tasked with giving opinions on the rules laid down by the ZLS concerning the correct spelling, grammar, pronunciation and correct use of Luxembourgish.
In recent years, interest in the Luxembourgish language has grown, and the role that it plays has become ever more important. The 2018-2023 Governmental Programme provides for measures aimed at encouraging everyone, Luxembourgers and non-Luxembourgers alike, to learn our language and to make it part of their everyday life.In order to anchor Luxembourgish ever more firmly within our society, it must be given a new significance in our education system
In Luxembourg, in the Greater Region and internationally
The National Institute for Languages (Institut national des langues, INLL) and the Department of Adult Education (Service de la formation des adultes, SFA) offer courses for adults. The number and range of courses keeps growing.
The law of 8 March 2023 creating the INLL (loi du 8 mars 2023 portant création de l’INLL) stipulates in article 2.(2) that the institute fulfils the function of national authority for the learning, teaching, andragogy and certification of the Luxembourg language.
This mission is specified in article 8.(1): the Institute is the national authority for the certification of skills in the Luxembourgish language. The law defines the various certificates and diplomas to be obtained in the Luxembourgish language, as well as the related language levels and test procedures. The INLL is also committed to the initial and the continuous vocational training of instructors (articles 10 and 11 of the law).
Thanks to agreements concluded with partners in France and Germany, it is also possible to learn Luxembourgish within the Greater Region.
The INLL is responsible for publishing the series entitled “Schwätzt Dir Lëtzebuergesch?”. These handbooks are chiefly aimed at adults who wish to learn Luxembourgish. They enable their readers, moreover, to learn a lot about daily life in the Grand Duchy, to become better acquainted with our country, festivals, public holidays and well-known personalities, and to discover, in addition, a broad range of culinary specialities typical of the country.
The online platform LLO.lu, developed by the INLL, allows you to learn Luxembourgish for free, anywhere and anytime – independently and at your own pace with online exercises, a placement test as well as virtual and face-to-face activities.
In education and childcare facilities and in schools
The multilingual education programme is designed to encourage the use of Luxembourgish and French in early childhood education and care facilities.
As regards primary education, specific resources have been developed for language courses and the management of multilingualism.
The academic year 2021/2022 has seen the introduction of Luxembourgish as a subject in its own right in the 4e of classical secondary education and general secondary education. This new subject covers three main elements: general knowledge about the country and society; the Luxembourgish language; and Luxembourg culture including Luxembourgish literature.
The new Luxembourgish course is designed to stimulate young people’s interest in becoming more familiar with the language. The aim is that they should, in parallel, acquire general knowledge about the Grand Duchy, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background.
Moreover, Luxembourgish is taught as a foreign language in all public international schools, from the first year of primary education onwards.
The University of Luxembourg created a Master in Secondary Education – Luxembourgish Language and Literature degree course. This Master’s degree makes it possible to have more specifically trained teachers who are qualified to teach the subject in secondary schools. The University of Luxembourg is also planning to introduce studies in Luxembourgish at Bachelor’s level.
The demand to learn how to write Luxembourgish correctly is constantly growing. Indeed, new technologies and digital media are making the written language an increasingly important part of our daily lives. Therefore, a range of eye-catching learning aids and online tools have been developed and are accessible to anyone wishing to learn how to write in our language, whether in the context of a language course or as part of a process of autonomous learning. All these resources comply with the spelling rules as finalised and published in November 2019 by the Zenter fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch.
LUX.lu is the official website of the Commissioner for the Luxembourgish language. It covers all aspects of the language, its history, the actors in the sector, and the measures and programmes put in place.
It also contains regularly updated information concerning new initiatives and measures relating to the Luxembourgish language.