There are a few things you need to know before we start with the lessons proper, and you can learn all of that right here.
Why hello there! Look at you, actually reading the grammar stuff and not just the main lesson. Go ahead and give yourself a solid high-five!
This Language Basics article cover some of the most fundamental aspects of Luxembourgish: how to count, the names of some common expat countries of origin, and the somewhat perplexing d', de, and den situation as it applies to introducing yourself. That also means we'll touch a bit on the N-Regel or "N-rule" (also called Eiffeler Regel or "Eiffel Rule"), but don't worry, it's not that difficult!
Counting to 100 - numbers 0 to 12
Whether you were a wiz at maths in school or still have PTSD thanks to that ONE teacher, we can all agree that numbers and counting are essential to everyday communication. Over the course of these lessons, we'll learn how to say how old we are, tell the time, and schedule meetings and for all of that we need to know our numbers first.
Let's start simple with the numbers from 0 to 12:
Zero -> Null
One -> Eent
Two -> Zwee
Three -> Dräi
Four -> Véier
Five -> Fënnef
Six -> Sechs
Seven -> Siwen
Eight -> Aacht
Nine -> Néng
Ten -> Zéng
Eleven -> Eelef
Twelve -> Zwielef
There is not much to point out here – you'll have to learn these by heart, but once you do that the numbers above twelve will be a walk in the park.
Counting to 100 - Numbers 13 to 100
As you could see, learning to count up to 12 requires some memorising. The good news is that for numbers above 12, we'll have a recurring pattern to rely on. Let's have a look at numbers 13 to 20 first:
thirteen -> dräizéng
fourteen -> véierzéng
fifteen -> fofzéng
sixteen -> siechzéng (sometimes also sechzéng)
seventeen -> siwwenzéng
eighteen -> uechtzéng (sometimes also achtzéng)
nineteen -> nonzéng
twenty -> zwanzeg
Already, we can observe a pattern: numbers 13 to 19 all have the suffix -zéng, which, if you remember, is the Luxembourgish word for "ten". You might also recognise the first halves of 13, 14, and 17 (dräi, véier, siw(w)en). Before we continue, let's have a quick look at numbers 21 to 25:
twenty-one -> eenanzwanzeg
twenty-two -> zweeanzwanzeg
twenty-three -> dräianzwanzeg
twenty-four -> véieranzwanzeg
twenty-five -> fënnefanzwanzeg
Do you see the pattern? For every number over 20, it is always the same and basically the same as in English, just the other way around. While in English you say "twenty-three" (20-3), in Luxembourgish you say dräianzwanzeg ("3 and 20"). Note that for numbers 13 to 19, Luxembourgish actually follows the same system as English, with "fourteen" (4-10) becoming véierzéng (4-10).
The good news is, you basically only have to learn your tens (as well as 15, 16, and 18, as those are a bit weird), apply the pattern (second number + a(n) + first number), and you're good to go! So, here are the tens up to 100:
thirty -> drësseg
fourty -> véierzeg
fifty -> fofzeg
sixty -> sechzeg (sometimes also siechzeg)
seventy -> siwwenzeg
eighty -> achtzeg (sometimes also uechtzeg)
ninety -> nonzeg
(one) hundred -> (een)honnert
One last note: Whether the "and" is a or an depends on the N-Regel, which we'll cover next.
D', de, and den, and a bit of N-regel
When introducing yourself (or talking about someone else by name) in Luxembourgish, you always precede their name with the definite article. You don't say "I am Anna" or "I am Kevin", but something close to "I am the Anna/Kevin." Probem is, the "the" part will be slightly different depending on two things: (1) your or the person's gender, and (2) your or their name.
In essence, women's name are use the prefix d', so "Ech sinn d'Anna"
Men's name use de or den, depending on the first letter of the name. This is where the N-rule comes into play. The table below shows which letters mean that the N stays, and which means you take it away. So for example, it's:
Ech sinn de Bob, because Bob begins with a B
Ech sinn den Tom, because Tom begins with a T.
What's good to know is that the N-regel doesn't just apply to de / den, but more or less all verbs, plural nouns, and function words (articles, pronouns, prepositions). To give an easy example, here's how it affects the word sinn (to be) when saying how old you are:
Ech sinn eelef Joer al.
Ech si sechsanzwanzeg Joer al.
Again, that's because eelef begins with an E, while sechsanzwanzeg begins with an S, as per the table.
Common countries of origin
Including every single country here would make the article too long and unwieldy, so we'll just include a few common ones among RTL Today readers. We'll include both how to say the country, the language, and how it's said as a nationality.
The order here is: Country / Language / Nationality (male) / Nationality (female)
England / Englesch / Englänner / Englännerin
Schottland / Englesch (N.B. 'gaelic' means 'Gälesch' in Luxembourgish) / Schott / Schottin
Irland / Englesch / Ir / Irin
Wales / Englesch-Walisesch / Waliser / Waliserin
Amerika / Englesch / Amerikaner / Amerikanerin
Kanada / Englesch-Franséisch / Kanadier / Kanadierin
Däitschland / Däitsch / Däitschen / Däitsch
Frankräich / Franséisch / Fransous / Franséisin
Belsch / Franséisch-Hollänesch / Belsch / Belsch
Portugal / Portugisesch / Portugis / Portugisin
Holland / Hollänesch / Hollänner / Hollännerin
If your country isn't on this list, visit LOD.LU to look it up!