Luxembourgh Times

Government launches strategy to promote Luxembourg language

Luxembourg's government on Thursday presented a strategy to promote the Luxembourg language, covering a broad range of areas and subjects related to language and culture.

(sth) – Luxembourg's government on Thursday presented a strategy to promote the Luxembourg language, covering a broad range of areas and subjects related to language and culture.

In the context of an ever more present debate about the importance of language in Luxembourg's society, Education Minister Claude Meisch and Secretary of State for Culture Guy Arendt presented the eight-page-document listing a number of concrete measures meant to strengthen the position of the country's national language.

Notwithstanding the importance of Luxembourg's two other official languages German and French, the government acknowledges “the importance of Luxembourgish as a language of communication, integration and literature”.

While numerous measures to promote the language already exist to this day, the government feels like there is a desire among citizens to see a coherent strategy and additional measures. Consequently, the government reacts with this strategy, underlining that it is holding on to the importance of Luxembourg's multilingualism.

What goals and measures?

The strategy sets out four clear goals:

  • strengthen importance of the Luxembourgish language

  • advance standardisation, use and study of the Luxembourgish language

  • promote learning of the Luxembourgish language and culture

  • promote Luxembourgish-language culture

In order to reach these goals, the strategy defines five concrete initial measures to be taken:

  • elaborate a 20-year action plan for a linguistic and cultural policy

  • create the post of a 'commissaire à la langue luxembourgeoise'

  • create a 'Zentrum fir d'Lëtzebuergescht' (Centre for the Luxembourgish language)

  • inscribe Luxembourgish into Luxembourg's constitution

  • have Luxembourgish recognised as an official language of the European Union

While the strategy thus sets out a 20-year time frame for the action plan as a whole, Minister Meisch indicated that the government aspires the creation of a 'commissaire à la langue luxembourgeoise' and of the 'Zentrum fir d'Lëtzebuergescht' to take place before the end of its current mandate.

The inscription of the language into the constitution will likely be part of a broader ongoing reform of the constitution.

While Luxembourgish should be recognised as an official EU-language, the government seems to be pragmatic in proposing to base it on the language law of 1984, meaning that the language can be used for written communication, but the language for official documents remains French.

Almost 40 additional measures

But the strategy doesn't stop there. A total of 36 other measures are listed, ranging from education and the academic world, to the use of the language in the medical sector, translations of websites into Luxembourgish and cultural projects and competitions.

This means that all websites of the public administrations should be available in Luxembourgish in the future. The project of a Luxembourgish online dictionary (LOD) should also be completed by 2018.

Research on the language at the University of Luxembourg should become more visible through a better communication strategy and cooperation with universities abroad should be maintained and intensified (for example the Centre for Luxembourg studies in Sheffield).

Language classes should furthermore become more important in primary and secondary school and the offer of language classes for adults should be increased and optimised.

A promotion campaign for Luxembourgish writing was already launched in January with the website and finally cultural projects in Luxembourgish, a national day for the Luxembourgish language and culture and a national prize for merits for the language is planned to round of the picture.

Continued language debate

While the language debate has been going on for some time and has become more present thanks to the presentation of two language petitions in Parliament in January, the government reacted with this strategy and now wants the language debate to be continued.

A 'consultation' debate is planned in Parliament for Wednesday, March 15, with Ministers participating.