I live in Luxembourg and love a Luxembourger, so why don't I speak Luxembourgish?

Before I met my Luxembourgish partner, I had always stood firm in my conviction that if ever I had a partner who spoke another language, I would learn it. I think it’s respectful, fun and important, especially if you are planning on having children with someone who speaks another language.

I should emphasise that I am bilingual English/French and when it turned out my partner speaks a language that one might classify as 'niche', I made the excuse of "well let's see if we are still together in five years and if that's the case, I'll start learning Luxembourgish."

Five years came and went and as luck would have it, we've found ourselves living here in the Grand Duchy.

While I understand that learning a new language requires a concentrated and intentioned effort on the part of the student, I will say that Luxembourg as a whole has made it far too easy to not learn Luxembourgish.

I've lived in several different countries growing up and I can say from my personal experience, in those places it was nearly impossible to get by without learning the language. Now I would be remiss to not acknowledge the unique aspect of Luxembourg as a country that has several administrative languages.

Companies operate in French, English, Luxembourgish or German, there is an influx of cross border workers and a growing expat community. On top of that there is a large community of people who grew-up in Luxembourg in private schools and despite living here their entire life, speak less Luxembourgish than I do.

As someone who speaks French I can confidently say that I could happily live here for the rest of my life without ever having to learn Luxembourgish. Let me be very clear about this; I do not like this at all. But let's be honest, learning a language takes time and work (money too if you decide to go the more academic route) and most people are just lazy.

I find myself asking the question "Why would I learn a language that can only be used here when as it stands in 95% of the cases, I have two languages in common with everyone I meet?"

I understand that this is a very unflattering opinion to have and I am myself ashamed of this feeling I am expressing. But Luxembourg has made it far too easy for people to not learn Luxembourgish.

Let's address one of the biggest influxes of non-Luxembourgish speakers: cross border workers.

Now it's clear the economic and business environment within Luxembourg relies heavily on workers coming from other countries on the daily. I'm not arguing with this system nor whether it is good or bad, I’m simply pointing out that throngs of non-luxembourgish speakers are coming to Luxembourg everyday for work.

This has a knock-on effect in the sense that colleagues are obligated to find a common language with which they can work, and spoiler alert, it's never Luxembourgish.

But cross-border workers can't take all the blame for the lack of Luxembourgish; yeah, I'm looking at you expats.

I know many an expat (although I will not call out any one nationality specifically) who have failed to even attempt to learn Luxembourgish, let alone any of the administrative languages. This in turn has kept them from integrating into the culture, pushing the Luxembourgish language even farther out of their minds as they remain within their own linguistic and cultural bubble, surrounded by those that talk like them.

I can't be the only one who finds this a bit sad. If anything, is Luxembourg not missing out on an opportunity to increase the prevalence of the Luxembourgish language? Not only is it tragic in terms of linguistic development, but it's even worse when we actively deprive our society of the cultural and societal shifts that can happen when different cultures bring out the best in each other and move forward together.

I would like to propose a solution which I think could serve everyone, including those of us who have for far too long made the excuse of time, money or fear of sounding silly as we attempt to pronounce Gromperekichelcher. Companies and enterprises should be mandated to offer Luxembourgish lessons to non-Luxembourgish speaking employees. Surely this would benefit everyone?

Luxembourgish would become more prevalent, the common language among colleagues would change, client bases would expand and most importantly, those of us from far off lands would be able to truly integrate into the Grand Duchy and its culture.

And until that happens, let's try our best to use Luxembourgish, even when English or French is easier.  I'm sick of getting away with it, and you should be too.