What’s In A Language: Jacques Werner

One thing that you can be sure about lunchtime in Luxembourg is, that you will never be alone.

The other thing about lunchtime in Luxembourg is, that you’ll probably hear more than three languages spoken simultaneously at any given time. Which is precisely what happened the other day in this cosy little Greek restaurant in the centre of the capital.

In this podcast I trick unsuspecting expats into sharing their experience with Lëtzebuerg. What to expect, how to adapt, when to give up and where to hold on. At the very least, we try to provide some emotional comfort. Sometimes, however, it is good to see things from the other perspective and I talk to locals as well. This is one of those times.

Despite the plethora of tongues spoken, or precisely because of it, language is –  to put it mildly – a sensitive issue in Luxembourg. Debates can get heated quickly and before you know it nuance is lost in the noise.

Which is precisely what happened to Jacques Werner and three other young Luxembourgish professionals when they launched a petition to include English as an auxiliary or support language in certain administrative processes. Not that anyone cared about the wording. For some people, the combination of words “English”, “administrative” and “language” was enough to send them through the roof.

If the whole thing got a bit loud towards the end it is only because a meal in Luxembourg is a social occasion. As it should be.

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Luxventures will be back next month.

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