LUXEMBOURG-VILLE — A native and resident of Kehlen who works as a civil servant in the capital has admitted to suffering from “deep feelings of inadequacy” and worries that he is “linguistically challenged” when in the presence of colleagues who speak more languages than him.

Marco Pohlen, who works in the Bierger Center, says that his professional life has been turned upside down after the recent hiring of a woman from Mersch who speaks eight languages.

“I can only speak six,” he admitted to the Wurst.

While Pohlen is limited to communicating in French, German, Luxembourgish, English, Portuguese, and Italian, Lina M., his new colleague, speaks all of the aforementioned languages plus Spanish and Polish. To make matters worse, she has a rudimentary knowledge of Russian and Hungarian and uses every opportunity to throw them in Marco’s face, he says.

“If a guy from Estonia comes in and asks me if I speak English, Lina will pick up on his accent, jump in, and start speaking to him in Russian, right in front of me, and it’s very hurtful,” he said. “It makes me realise that I have a severe language handicap.”

“I don’t know why I was able to master syntax, grammatical cases, and hundreds of thousands words in only three Germanic languages and three Latin ones,” he says. “Maybe I had a prolonged fever as a child, or someone dropped me on the head when I was a baby.”

Sources indicate, however, that the new colleague, who at one time hoped to work as an interpreter at the European Commission, abandoned her plans after becoming demotivated and “terribly embarrassed” when she realised that most of those with whom she would have to compete could speak between 10 and 15 languages — and get by in another five.

The Luxembourg Wurst is a humour and satire website about life in the Grand Duchy.
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