Promotion of the Luxembourgish language

Luxembourgish was officially accorded the status of a national language in 1984. In our multilingual society, it plays an essential role.

Within the Government, promotion of the Luxembourgish language falls with the competence of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth.

The Government’s commitment to Luxembourgish was fixed in March 2017, in a Strategy for the promotion of 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.

That strategic document sets out four far-reaching commitments and objectives to which the Government has subscribed in concrete terms, namely:

  • increasing the importance of Luxembourgish;
  • advancing the standardisation, use and study of Luxembourgish;
  • promoting learning Luxembourgish and learning about Luxembourg culture;
  • promoting culture in the Luxembourgish language.

Further information about the 40 measures set out in the strategic document can be found here.

Official bodies

On 27 June 2018 the Chamber of Deputies adopted the Law on the promotion of the Luxembourgish language. In consequence of this, various bodies came into being.

The Commissaire fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch (Luxembourgish language commissioner).

The Luxembourgish language commissioner is responsible for a 20-year action plan centred around Luxembourgish, supported by an inter-ministerial committee. Marc Barthelemy was appointed to the post of Commissioner in October 2018.

The Commissioner is tasked with proposing to the Government an action plan to promote the Luxembourgish language. He also ensures that there exist 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 are duly investigated.

The Zenter fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch (Centre for the Luxembourgish Language)

The spheres of competence of the Zenter fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch 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. It documents the Luxembourgish language, its history and its dialects, as well as the multilingual context.

It also produces publications dealing with the language, such as D’Lëtzebuerger Orthografie and the Lëtzebuerger Wuertschatz series. In addition, the Centre provides citizens and administrative authorities with a range of services, including the Lëtzebuerger Online Dictionnaire (lod.lu), a multilingual dictionary in which Luxembourgish terms are translated into German, French, English and Portuguese and illustrated by way of examples in Luxembourgish (tel.: (+352) 247 88600 or e-mail: lod@lod.lu).

The Conseil fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch (Permanent Council for the Luxembourgish language)

The Conseil fir d’Lëtzebuerger Sprooch was created in 1998 and is tasked with giving opinions on the rules laid down by the Centre concerning the correct spelling, grammar, pronunciation and use of Luxembourgish.

The 2018 and 2022 “Sproocheronnen”

A new edition of the “Sproocheronn” initiative is being presented in 2022, enabling the public to contribute to the development of the 20-year action plan, jointly with the inter-ministerial committee and other actors engaged in the field of the Luxembourgish language. Under the slogan “Together for a living Luxembourgish language – Take part in the 20-year action plan to promote Luxembourgish”, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth is inviting all citizens to submit their proposals in the course of four evening events organised in the four regions of the country and/or online. For the agenda and online forum, visit https://lux.lu.

The 2022 “Sproocheronn” is being organised as a continuation of the 2018 “Sproocheronn” initiative. On that earlier occasion, citizens’ forums were set up to enable the public to play an active part in the development of the Luxembourgish language. Over 150 persons participated, and some 100 concrete proposals were submitted online. These were set out in a booklet entitled « Bierger, Gesellschaft, Politik – Zesummen d'Lëtzebuerger Sprooch fërderen ».

Learning 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.

Here in Luxembourg. In the Greater Region. Internationally.

The National Institute for Languages (Institut national des langues, INL) 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.

Thanks to agreements concluded with partners in France and Germany, it is also possible to learn Luxembourgish within the Greater Region.

An online platform for learning Luxembourgish is currently being developed with a view to its being made available, free of charge, throughout the entire world.

In education and care structures, and in schools

The multilingual education programme is designed to encourage the use of Luxembourgish and French in early childhood education and care structures.

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 4th year of classical secondary education and general secondary education. This new subject covers three main elements: general knowledge concerning the country and society; the Luxembourgish language; and Luxembourg culture.

The new Luxembourgish course is designed to stimulate, in youngsters, the pleasure and interest inherent in becoming more familiar with the language. The aim is that they should, in parallel, acquire a store of general knowledge about the Grand Duchy, regardless of their cultural or linguistic background.

As part of a pilot project, the Lycée Michel-Rodange is about to launch a Section A with Luxembourgish as its 4th language. Thus, Luxembourgish will in future be offered as a fourth language, just like Spanish or Italian. In the other sections, in addition to Spanish, Chinese and Italian, pupils attending the Lycée Michel-Rodange are able to choose Luxembourgish as an extra language.

Moreover, Luxembourgish is taught as a foreign language in all public international schools, from the first year of primary education onwards.

In 2009 the University of Luxembourg created a Master in Secondary Education – Luxemburgistik degree course. This makes it possible to have more specifically trained teachers qualified to teach the subject in secondary schools, Luxembourgish having been also recognised as a subject in its own right since 2015.

New tools for learning the language

The demand for courses on how to write Luxembourgish correctly is constantly growing. Indeed, advances in respect of new technologies and digital media are such that the written language occupies an increasingly important place in our daily lives. To that end, 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 independent, autonomous learning. All these resources are in conformity with the spelling rules as finalised and published in November 2019 by the  Zenter fir Lëtzebuerger Sprooch.

The National Institute for Languages 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 Lëtzebuerger Online Dictionnaire (LOD.lu) lies at the heart of the work done by the Zenter fir Lëtzebuerger Sprooch. The LOD constitutes the official reference work in matters of correct spelling. At the same time, this dictionary actively contributes to strengthen the role of Luxembourgish as a language for communication and integration.

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.

www.lux.lu

The www.lux.lu website covers all facets of the language, its history, the actors engaged in the sector, and the measures and programmes put in place.

It also contains regularly updated information concerning new publications, initiatives and measures relating to the Luxembourgish language.

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