Book Review: Lëtzebuergesch fir all Dag. Lektiounen 9-16

Lëtzebuergesch fir all Dag. Lektiounen 9-16, by  Guy Bentner & Frederic Noens

One of the interesting aspects of seeing material like this is the way that in a rather small number of lessons (16), the authors assume that the reader is going to be able to handle some pretty substantial material in a language that is spoken by and understood by a rather small number of people.  I find this remarkable and also more than a bit terrifying.  To be sure, this book is not read by many people in isolation, but is rather combined with a fair amount of focused lessons and practice and exercises such that it is not in a few days but rather in months that someone would be expected to know enough Luxembourgish to read posters and be able to handle life in a country where the language is spoken.  I do not know how many people have studied in this particular guide, but the existence of such material and its accessibility to a wide amount of people is something that is pleasing to me at least and to anyone who enjoys the spread of language understanding to places around the world.  I trust that there are at least a few other such people around.

This book follows a previous volume and contains eight lessons that are divided between vocabulary and grammar.  This book continues where the last one left off and begins with lessons on Luxembourg culture as well as the imperfect tense (9), then moves on to dealing with the press and media as well as the localization of words in Luxembourgish and relative pronouns (10) before moving to the conditional and imperative verb forms (11).  After that the authors discuss questions of health (12), accusatives and superlatives (13), the dative case (14), as well as passive and conditional forms of verbs (15), and the politics of Luxembourg.  As the material progresses through the book, there are a lot of materials that demand a high degree of reading and listening comprehension and that encourage the reader to reflect on the difference in the political structure or society or history of Luxembourg to other nations, if one has experience as a traveler.  The book ends with a series of dialogues that the reader is invited to read and understand that indicate that completion of this book comes with a level of at least conversational Luxembourgish.

In reading this particular book, at least to the extent that I understood its materials, I got the sense that for the nation of Luxembourg, the speaking of the national language has a great deal to do with principles of national citizenship.  The government of Luxembourg believes that in order to be a fit and proper resident of the country that it is vitally important to speak the language of Luxembourg and to understand the position of Luxembourg as a buffer state between France and Germany with its own government that is closely related to the rule by its Grand Dukes.  As someone who believes the importance of understanding the language of others and of being a good resident or citizen of the places where one finds oneself, I found this to be a sensible approach to a complex situation where Luxembourgish finds itself as a small and obscure language for a small state that has powerful neighbors and a high immigrant population with minimal understanding of its history and culture and language.  The extent to which the authors seek to make Luxembourgish more accessible to students speaks highly of the self-preservation of the nation to desire to remain what it is, a free state in the midst of powerful European nations, and to some extent that freedom depends on the people knowing something about the language and history and culture of the nation itself.

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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