First impressions #2 – multilingual life

When the possibility of a move to Luxembourg was mentioned, my first question was, “what language do they speak there?” A quick Wikipedia search later, and it became clear that there’s no simple answer: Luxembourgish, French, and German are all official languages, but unusually, their use is determined by function rather than geography. I had only a hazy idea of what this might mean in practice, but as I had learned German at school and had a long-standing vague ambition to live “somewhere German speaking” for a while, I decided it sounded close enough, and jumped at the chance.

Now that we’re here I’m starting to understand the divisions a bit better: locals use Luxembourgish to chat to each other; French is the language of formal interactions; and German seems to be the default for newspapers, radio & TV.

All of this, while rather confusing, has a massive upside: as I realised while unpacking my shopping the other day, this country is one big Rosetta Stone! It’s far easier to pick up new phrases & words when you can check your guesses against a version in a (slightly) more familiar language…

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