“Welcome to the club!”

	Shoppers in Luxembourg City
 David Laurent/Wili (archives)

Shoppers in Luxembourg City  David Laurent/Wili (archives)

Language: A native Luxembourger responds to Delano’s recent feature on the use of English while shopping in the Grand Duchy.

Reading the new Delano, I was very interested by [Wendy Winn’s] article about language problems of English-speaking citizens.

I must say that I missed the most important message in that article: the fact that the Luxembourgers are not the problem, but the French-speaking cross-border commuters! The Luxembourgers as well as the Germans working in Luxembourg speak English, that’s for sure!

So, welcome to the club! All Luxembourgers are in the same case every day when they shop.

And I also have my “trick”: I pretend to speak only English, just to make French-speaking employees sweat a little bit; it’s very amusing.

OK, you can reply that French is one of the official languages of our little country, but that’s also the case for German. None of those languages had been adopted by the population of their free will; they were “brought” to us by our “friendly” neighbours during their various occupations.

It’s a pity that we abandon our only native language [and] allow the dictatorship of the French language.

Be aware that, as Luxembourgers, we regularly have the situation that we start speaking in French to another (unknown) Luxembourger, until we notice that we could use our mother tongue. Kinda weird, isn’t it?

And not only in the shopping situation, but also in business: I only know German employees who learnt French in order to communicate with French colleagues, and never the contrary!

Invite a few couples home, even if there is only one French speaking person, he/she will always manage that everybody switches to French.

Did you think about the danger in hospitals when communication is bad? Or of [elderly Luxembourgers] who didn’t learn French in school during WW2? These are other issues to discuss… but I'm digressing now.

[Winn] doesn’t have to defend English-speaking citizens, as I know that they show so much more effort to communicate in our native tongue than French-speaking people; but I was very upset when I read that the concerned people are now learning French--instead of Luxembourgish.

Should we learn Spanish if we move to the USA and Indian in the UK?

Marc Krier lives in Ehnen.