Book Review: Klengen Dictionnare: Fransceich-Letzebuergesch

Klengen Dictionnare: Fransceich-Letzebuergesch, by Actioun-Lezebuergesch

One can learn a fair amount about a language by looking at its dictionaries.  This dictionary generally begins with the French and then contains the equivalent word or expression in Luxembourgish.  This is unsurprising given the asymmetry that exists between the two languages.  There are a few hundred thousand people who speak Luxembourgish and hundreds of millions who speak French, and since most of the native population of Luxembourg speaks French and German as well as their own native tongue it is clear that this particular dictionary is aimed at French speakers who may want to learn a bit of Luxembourgish, at least when it came to vocabulary, since the native population of the country is likely to know French already while there are many millions of French people who do not know Luxembourgish but may be persuaded to at least try if they happen to find themselves in the country.  That sort of asymmetry between large and small languages means that while we have a French-Luxembourgish dictionary and are likely to find a German-Luxembourgish as well that the reverse is going to be far more rare.  That is the way, after all, that these things work when it comes to languages.

As far as dictionaries go, this is a plain and straightforward one at 52 pages long.  The dictionary consists of 6000 words and expressions for which there exists an apparent one-to-one correspondence organized by letter in alphabetical order by the French word, followed by the Luxembourgish word in bold and some notes as to the gender of the word and whether it was plural.  The result is a pretty basic guide to the language but one that at least allows for some mastery of Luxembourgish that is consistent with being able to ask basic questions about food or travel and to read menus as well as posters and signs.  And for most French-speakers, this is probably enough not to completely embarrass oneself in an area that is quite prickly and proud about its language even if that language is not very commonly known or understood by others.

In the main this is an enjoyable guide.  If it is not perfect, it is at least good enough to give the reader some understanding of the vocabulary of Luxembourgish and the way that it is different from German but similar enough to be an obvious kin language.  Given the rarity of people who would be able to make such a dictionary it is remarkable that this one is such a good one.  The one obvious error I saw in it was on page 28 when under the letter K the authors put Knatzel instead of petite fillette, but that was the only obvious error I saw while reading the book and such a thing is easily corrected.  By and large this book is a short and enjoyable and it demonstrates that there are at least some commonalities between French and Luxembourgish but that the vast majority of the language has German roots or common Indo-European roots.  This book is at least one of what would be an obvious set of dictionaries that would be designed to help speakers of more common languages know at least some basic vocabulary in Luxembourgish.  A German-Luxembourgish and English-Luxembourgish and even Portuguese-Luxembourgish dictionary would all be good as well.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Book Review: Klengen Dictionnare: Fransceich-Letzebuergesch

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Afrikaans-English / English- Afrikaans Dictionary | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Jabari: Authentic Jamaican Dictionary Of The Jamic Language | Edge Induced Cohesion

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