Strategy for the promotion of the Luxembourgish language


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Luxembourg is located between three larger countries and at the intersection between the major Franco-German cultural areas, so it has always maintained many close links with its neighbours which have all had an influence, to a variety of degrees and intensities, on the Grand Duchy and its language situation. Since the 19th century, Luxembourg has also become a country of immigration, and since the second half of the 20th century, an institutional, economic and financial centre attracting a multicultural and cosmopolitan population.

Multilingualism has been enshrined in Luxembourg law since the mid-1980s. The law of 24 February 1984 on language policy firstly establishes Luxembourgish as the national language, but also determines the use of the other languages in official documents. Legislative acts and their implementing regulations are drafted in French (although other regulations issued by official bodies may be drafted in another language). Also, all three languages, Luxembourgish, French and German, are official languages of the administrative and legal systems in Luxembourg.

In practice, the different languages (mainly Luxembourgish, French and German)are used side-by-side in public and everyday life. In this context, the Luxembourgish language is given particular importance as anelement of cohesion and integration also its role asthe common language and asan element of cultural identity is not to be neglected.

In the same way, the role of Luxembourgish in public life is increasing, both through oral communication between citizens and administrations and within the country's institutions: regular debates and major declarations in Parliament (Chambre des députés) are now carried out in Luxembourgish. The main radio stations and TV channels focus their programmes on the national language. In addition, increasing importance is being given to written Luxembourgish – as the language has undergone major standardisation work in recent years – as a literary and cultural language.

The government's measures to promote the Luxembourgish language

In order to promote the Luxembourgish language, the Luxembourg government has implemented a long-term strategy with four major objectives and the following concrete commitments:

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

Given that these objectives affect almost all aspects of public life, a 20-year action plan aims to implement a coordinated strategy combining all the efforts, in order to achieve a language and culture policy in line with all actors in society.

In order to meet the objectives and ensure the long-term, consistent promotion of the Luxembourgish language and Luxembourg culture, the government has taken a series of initiatives targeting different audiences in order to reinforce the role of Luxembourgish in Luxembourg society, always in a multilingual context.

The post of a Luxembourgish language commissioner will be created, to coordinate efforts in this area. This commissioner will be supported by an interministerial committee as well as by a 'Zentrum fir d’Lëtzebuergescht' (Centre for Luxembourgish) whose tasks will include the study and standardisation of the Luxembourgish language.

Moreover, two measures are planned at the institutional level: on the one hand, the inscription of the Luxembourgish language and multilingualism intothe Luxembourg Constitution, and on the other, the recognition of Luxembourgish as an official language of the European Union. Each citizen should thus be able to contact the European institutions in Luxembourgish and receive a response in this language.

More measures envisaged include, amongst others: standardising the Luxembourgish language, providing official content in Luxembourgish and promoting the use of Luxembourgish in everyday life.

A specific role will be given to teaching the language by means of a range of different training measures for children, young people and adults. Various academic and scientific initiatives will study the history of the language as well as the multilingual context specific to Luxembourg.

A law to promote the Luxembourgish language

The law of 20 July 2018 on the promotion of the Luxembourgish language provides the legal framework for the creation of the means and structures required for the implementation of the governenment strategy.

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