Luxembourg nationals speak the most languages (an average of 4.3 languages for a Luxembourg national, against 3.4 for a non-Luxembourg national).
However, people who are Luxembourg nationals but whose parents were born elsewhere top the league, as they often learnt another language at home, which is added to those they learnt at school. 43% of them speak 5 languages, and 19% 6 languages.
Number of languages spoken
Four out of 10 people have two maternal languages. The most frequent maternal languages (both as first and second language) are Luxembourgish (48%), followed by French (25.4%), Portuguese (17.3%), German (11.8%), Italian (66%), and English (4.6%).
Languages best spoken
The total population considered that they speak German as a foreign language best, followed up close by French. However, French wins overall when one includes the second foreign language (57% against 45%).
English made third place with 38.6% of the total population. Here again, it is interesting to look at Luxembourg nationals and non-nationals. Luxembourg nationals who consider they speak English well are 29.7%, while for foreign residents this jumps to 49.4%, followed by French (43.8%).
Luxembourgish spoken by 60%
Among the sample of 25-64 year olds, 41.5% said Luxembourgish was their first maternal language, 6.5% said it was their second. For 12.7% of residents, Luxembourgish is a foreign language which they master. 5% of Luxembourg nationals did not indicate they can speak Luxembourgish.
80% of foreign residents don’t speak Luxembourgish, out of 47.7% of the total foreign population. Amongst the foreigners born in Luxembourg, 73% speak Luxembourgish, while only 17% of residents born abroad speak it. Among those foreign residents who have lived in Luxembourg for more than 10 years, this increases to 25%.
Looking a bit closer at the nationalities most represented in the country who are most likely to speak Luxembourgish, the Germans do best (43%), followed by the Belgians (25%), the Portuguese (20%), the Italians (18%), and lastly the French (16%).
What language to answer the questionnaire?
The Statec report concluded with an anecdote: The questionnaire could be filled in in four languages: German, French, English and Luxembourgish. Among those who indicated that their first language was Luxembourgish, 54% completed it in German, 29% in French, 12% in English and only 5% in Luxembourgish.