Journal of the International Phonetic Association

Illustrations of the IPA


Peter Gillesa1 and Jürgen Trouvaina2

a1 University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

a2 Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany

Luxembourgish (local language name: Lëtzebuergesch [ˈlətsəbuəjəʃ], French name: Luxembourgeois, German name: Luxemburgisch) is a small West-Germanic language mainly spoken in the multilingual speech community of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, where it is one of the three official languages alongside German and French. Being the first language of most Luxembourgers it also has the status of the national language (since 1984). Although in its origin Luxembourgish has to be considered as a Central Franconian dialect, it is nowadays regarded by the speech community as a language of its own. As a consequence, German is considered a different language. An official orthographical system has been devised. Luxembourgish is used very frequently in day-to-day oral communication at all social levels; it is very common on local radio and television; it is the only language spoken in parliament sessions and it is also very often used at the workplace. Although the vocabulary of Luxembourgish has a substantial number of loan words from French and German, the morpho-syntax follows Germanic patterns. Luxembourgish today has approximately 400,000 speakers, including many L2 speakers (around 43% of the population does not have the Luxembourgish nationality).