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The man from Luxembourg: He say ‘Jo/Ja/Oui’

Three official languages?! That ruins the meter my nicely clichéd title. The French and Dutch were more considerate. But anyway, the point of this post is that the good people of Luxembourg have voted ‘yes’, by a relatively narrow margin, to the EU Constitution. Despite the fact that it’s almost certainly dead. But, you know, good for them. But if they have three official languages, and voting is compulsory, that must make one heck of a complicated ballot paper, because surely all three languages must be used so as not to disenfranchise anyone if it’s compulsory. Unless they have three sets of papers, and then you have to request one in your chosen language. It’s a conundrum. Any readers from Luxembourg who can clarify?

This post was filed under: News and Comment.

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Comments and responses

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    20.27, 10/07/2005

For those not familiar with the languages of Luxembourg, they are Luxembourgish (Jo), German (Ja), and French (Oui). At least according to Wikipedia.

Comment from Jangi Kremer

    21.38, 15/07/2005

The “local” national language is Leutzebuergische, a Germanic language.

French is used as the legal language and the language of culture,
and all official public signs are posted in French. Thus street signs appear as a mixture with the French word and the German name orthography (but not the Letzeuburgische name) eg Rue Rollingergrund, Rue de Neudorf (as opposed to Neidorf), etc.

Some Germans tend to ridicule Leutzebuergische as a “baby talk” language, since that is what it sounds like to them, just intelligible but not fully meaningful.

Letzeuburgers readily understand standard German, and can easily learn it, just by listening to the radio and watching the TV.

Comment from Pope Shirley W

    21.46, 15/07/2005

“That ruins the meter my nicely clichéd title.”

It is also sexist.

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)

    13.45, 16/07/2005

Thanks for the language information – it’s all very interesting.

As for the ‘sexist’ comment – the title is an homage; so am I sexist, or is the writer of the original? Or are we both? Either way, rest assured that no offence was intended on my part.

Comment from Pope Shirley W

    20.19, 16/07/2005

You are obviously sexist for using a sexist slogan.

The politically correct way to render the phrase would have been

“The person from … says >”

Obviously it is time for you to take a gender neutralization writing course.

Comment from Jangi Kremer

    20.38, 16/07/2005


If I may borrow a sexist English expression, I feel that Pope Shirley W is “getting her knickers in a twist” over politically correct neutral language.

On the mainland where languages still retain the gender of nouns, nobody concerns themselves over such insignificant matters.

And for example, “person” is female in both French and German, “une personne” / “eine persone”.

PS Do not forget that one third of the populate of Leutzebuerg is Portugaise, thus the first language of one third of the population is Portugaise, and so more and more articles in this language are appearing as adjuncts in official publications and publicity.

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