Luxembourg has three official and major languages: Luxembourgish, French, and German. Luxembourgish is the national language, however all three are established as the official administrative languages of the country.

Luxembourgish is a member of the Indo-European language family and is defined as a West Central Germanic language and part of the High German languages. As such, Luxembourgish is closely related to the German language, with some linguists arguing the theory that Luxembourgish is not a distinct language but rather a standardized form of the German language due to all the similar characteristics between the two languages. There are several dialects of Luxembourgish whose characteristics are defined by the regions in which they are spoken. These dialects include: Stater from Luxembourg, Areler from Arlon, Weelzer from Wiltz, Minetter from Southern Luxembourg, Veiner from Vianden, Kliarrwer from Clervaux, Miseler from Moselle, and Eechternoacher from Echternach. The version of Luxembourgish used in official communication is the standardized version of Luxembourgish.

The standardization of Luxembourgish began in the mid-19th century, with the first documented standard Luxembourgish orthography, known as the “ofizjel lezebuurjer ortografi” or OLO, which was adopted in 1946. The standardization of the language was initially met with widespread rejection all over Luxembourg. During the recent years, however, the language has been experiencing further standardization through a process called ‘koineization’, and is mainly caused by the dissemination of the Luxembourgish language by the mass media. Furthermore, Luxembourgish is included in the curriculums across education institutions all over the country, and is taught at the pre-primary level and in secondary schools.

There is a portion of speakers of Luxembourgish outside Luxembourg’s borders, although the vast majority of speakers of the language are located within Luxembourg. Other countries which boast a number of Luxembourgish speakers include Belgium, Germany, and France, which brings the global number of Luxembourgish speakers at around 390,000.

Other major languages spoken in Luxembourg are French and German. 80% of the citizens of Luxembourg identify French as their second language, with 16% identifying it as a native language. German is identified by 69% of the country’s population who speaks it as a second language, with 2% who speak it as a native language. Both French and German are used extensively in major public institutions, police and the media. French is also used as the language of legislation in Luxembourg due to the country’s use of the French Napoleonic civil code.

Guests make up 40% of the total population and include tourists, students and foreign-born workers. This makes Luxembourg a cosmopolitan country where some of the most widely spoken foreign languages include Portuguese, Italian and English.


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