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How was Luxembourgish created?

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by Roel~, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. Roel~ Junior Member

    Nederlands - Nederland
    Luxembourgish underwent drastic changes. After WW II Louxemburg wanted to distance itself from Germany, so they reformed the language and mixed French and German words and changed the writing style. But how did they do this and how did they achieve letting a lot of people speak Luxembourgish in the new way? Or were the French mix-words already existent in Luxembourgish? What I wonder about is which people or organisations constructed the new form of Luxembourgish.
     
  2. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    I think it happened naturally. French is official in Luxembourg. Actually all the street signs, street names, and shop signs are always in French (the signs in Quick and buses are often in Luxembourgish though) and French is the language you use when you addressing waiters in cafés, restaurants, and clerks in shops and banks. I go there once in a while because the country is quite noticeably cheaper than France and most people seem to use French unless they are having private conversations with family or friends. A lot of French people work in all those banks too. So I think it just happened. A coded multilingual atmosphere is normal in that country.

    As I said in some other thread on the matter, calling Luxembourgish a dialect of German or a frenchisized German, a patois, or anything less than a full-fledged European language angers them more than you could ever imagine.

    There are different ways of writing Luxembourgish. I've noticed words written different ways. It doesn't seem to matter so much. There is one popular one that has lots of apostrophes, accent marks and double vowels... another one looks more Germanish.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2013
  3. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    merquiades - I have been to Luxembourg a fair number of times, and I dare say that they are mostly trilingual (German, French and Luxembourgish (that is Letzebuergesch)). Often quatro-lingual, including English. Also - French might be official in Luxembourg, but so is German and (especially) Letzebuergesch, which is the majority language, main adinistrative and national language. However, there is no wonder they go for French with tourists, since they represent most of the foreigners! Lëtzebuergesch is originally a Moselle German dialect, and it does indeed have standardized spelling regulated by the national language council.
     
  4. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Yes, I dare say too that they sometimes speak 5 or 6 languages. Luxembourgish is, of course, the national language but it is not the most used outside intimate circles, and French is not used just because of foreigners. They consider themselves francophone too, which is the reason for their generous use of this language in their everyday speech,... to get back to one of the original questions. Luxembourgish is definitely a Moselle Germanic language and it is spoken beyond Luxembourg's borders in France and Belgium. There are slightly different dialects of the language spoken both within Luxembourg and outside. As a language it created itself: similar but different origins from standard German, political independence, distinct identity, and a couple centuries of massive French influence explains how it came about.

    I never said it did not have an officialized spelling. It does but it's recent and people often use alternative spellings quite liberally. When writing more formal letters they would tend to use another language anyway.

    Luxembourgish (origin, spelling, use) was also recently discussed here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
  5. NorwegianNYC Senior Member

    New York, NY, USA
    Norwegian
    Ah - I see. I misunderstood. We agree then! Luxembourgish is the most spoken language, but far behind French and German in media, public records and service information ("En matiére administrative, contentieuse ou non contentieuse, et en matière judiciaire, il peut être fait usage des langues française, allemande ou luxembourgeoise"). The three are considered equal in all respects, except the judicial system, which is French only, but Luxembourgish is the 'national language'.

    When it comes to the development of Letzebuergesch, it came about as a conscious effort to standardize a Franconian dialect (language?); partly because it already had a higher percentage of French words than other German languages, partly because a dialect would always be considered inferior unless it was codified. Luxembourgish as a spoken language was not 'invented'. It was always there, but was steadily influenced by High German, French and Dutch. However, an unusual step that was taken for this (spoken) language was that it became regulated and gained acceptance as a Germanic language, and not a German language. This might have been a deliberate move, but it also simply reflecting the differences in (especially) vocabulary between Standard German and Luxembourgish. Swiss German sort of went the other way, with a pronunciation perhaps even more divergent from German than Luxembourgish, but retained Standard German as its written norm.
     

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