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National Varieties of German outside Germany

A European Perspective


Edited By Gabrielle Hogan-Brun

In what way do the national varieties of German outside Germany differ? How do they manifest themselves in different levels of language use? What attitudes exist towards the use of these varieties and how are they reflected in national and European-wide language policies? What is the role of the media?
This collection of especially commissioned articles, written in English by internationally renowned experts, explores these and related questions. It draws together research on the status and role of German and on attitudes towards its use in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy (South Tyrol), France (Alsace), Denmark (Nordschleswig) and Hungary.


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The Use of German in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 139


Gerald Newton The Use of German in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg The native language of Luxembourg is Letzebuergesch, genetically a German dialect of the Moselle Franconian group, but one long politically isolated from Germany itself and undergoing a process of Ausbau, that is, developing into a language as separate from German as one might say Afrikaans is from Dutch. Letzebuergesch is however largely a spoken medium, for which in writing the official languages of the country, French or Standard German, are substituted. Use of these is however restricted by domain, French being the language of law, administration and government, while German, closer to Letzebuergesch and therefore more readily understood than French, is the language of the lower schools and wide-circulation newspapers. In speech, neither German nor French are greatly used by Luxem- bourgers amongst themselves, who see them as 'distance languages' and react negatively, while Letzebuergesch is their 'nearness language', with which they most closely identify. Over the 20th century the negative reaction towards German has grown decidedly greater than to French, while that to Letzebuergesch has become more positive. This has been the case particularly since 1945. It is the reasons behind this change, which received government recognition in 1984, that this chapter seeks to address. The fortress and Grand Duchy of Luxembourg owe their origins to Count Siegfried of the Ardennes, who acquired the territory surrounding the modern city from the Archbishop of Trier in 963. Over the ensuing centuries much additional territory was acquired, and this...

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