Radio interview with Liz about teaching Luxembourgish and emigrating

 Photo by splitshire.com

Photo by splitshire.com

 

This week, I had the pleasure to be interviewed by the well-known radio moderator Gilles Wunsch from Radio 100,7 (www.100komma7.lu).

Luxembourgish national day is coming up on June 23rd when we celebrate 175 years of independence as well as the Grand Duke's official birthday. To honour these events, Radio 100,7 is running a special this month where concepts relating to nationality, identity and homeland are explored.

The interview was part of a show called "Heemecht" (homeland) and I was one of three women telling their stories of immigration and emigration.

We talked about teaching Luxembourgish over Skype, the people that are interested in learning Luxembourgish, my emigration to Canada and what it means to move away from home and to find a new one.

You can listen to the half-hour show by clicking on the file below or by going to the Radio 100,7 archive. Listen to the entire show or skip to the last five minutes to hear the interview with me.

I have put together an approximate transcript of my interview as well as an English translation (please note that I translated for meaning and not for linguistic accuracy).

 

For those of you who are learning Luxembourgish, it would be interesting to know how much you understood by listening to the interview or reading the Luxembourgish transcript below. Let me know in the comments section!

 

Transcript & translation

 

1. How does it work to teach the Luxembourgish language online?

Déi meescht Leit déi mech kontaktéiere si Leit déi Englesch schwätzen, well si net genuch Ressourcen um Lëtzebuerger Marché fanne fir d’Sprooch selwer ze léieren. A fir déi sinn ech och amgaangen e Buch ze schreiwen.

Mee déi Leit déi Lëtzebuergesch online wëlle léieren, fir déi gëtt et Skype.

Dat sinn entweder Emigranten oder Immigranten. D’Emigrante si gréisstendeels Koppele wou ee Lëtzebuerger an den aneren zum Beispill Amerikaner ass an déi an Amerika auswanderen. Déi kontaktéiere mech, well ee vun hinnen net Lëtzebuergesch schwätzt an se d’Sprooch an d’Kultur awer hire Kanner wëlle weiderginn.

D’Immigranten, dat sinn zum Beispill Britten, Asiaten, Polen, Hollänner... déi op Lëtzebuerg geplënnert sinn a geduecht hunn, si géifen net laang bleiwen. Et gefält hinnen dann awer ganz gutt hei, si kafen en Haus, kréie Kanner, a wëllen eis Sprooch dann eigentlech gär léieren, aus Respekt an awer och fir sech besser z’integréieren.

Et ass eigentlech flott, Lëtzebuergesch Coursen online ze ginn. Jidderee kann doheem bei sech bleiwen, et brauch ee keen Auto. Just e Computer. Wa jidderee prett ass, ruffe mer eis via Skype un. Ech erklären eis Sprooch, mir schwätze mateneen, a laachen eigentlech vill zesummen.

 

Most people that get in touch with me are English speaking people because they can’t find the necessary resources on the Luxembourg market to learn the language themselves. And for those people I am currently writing a book.

But for the people that want to learn Luxembourgish online, there is Skype.

They are either emigrants or immigrants. Among the emigrants are mostly couples where one person is Luxembourgish and the other person is, for example, American, and they emigrate to America. They get in touch with me because one of them does not speak Luxembourgish and they would like to pass on the language and culture to their kids nonetheless.

Among the immigrants are, for example, British, Asian, Polish, Dutch people…who moved to Luxembourg and initially thought they wouldn’t stay long. But they end up liking it in Luxembourg, buying a house, having kids… then they would love to learn the language, out of respect but also to integrate better.

It is nice teaching Luxembourgish online. Everyone can stay at home, you don’t need a car, just e Computer. When everybody is ready, we call each other via Skype. I explain our language, we talk to each other and usually we end up laughing a lot.

 

2. The time difference poses no issues either but is rather an advantage?

Déi meescht Leit léiere jo keng Sprooch wann se schaffen. D’Leit kommen owes heem, raschten eng oder zwou Stonnen an da sinn se prett fir Lëtzebuergesch ze léieren. Wann et zu Lëtzebuerg 8 Auer ass, ass et bei mir eréischt 2 Auer am Nomëtten, mäi Jong ass nach an der Crèche, dat ass ideal fir jiddereen.

 

Most people don’t learn a language when they are working. They come home in the evening, rest for an hour or two and then they are ready to learn Luxembourgish. When it’s 8pm in Luxembourg, it’s only 2pm in Toronto, my son is still in daycare, it’s ideal for everyone.

 

3. To be far away from home and yet often in touch with Luxembourg… does that make it easier or more difficult?

Ech hunn d’Chance dass meng Elteren nach jonk sinn. Et ass méi schwéier wann d’Elteren al sinn an een dann net fir se do ka sinn. Mee d’Scholdgefiller sinn do, sou oder sou, well ee fortgaangen ass, zemools wann ee Kanner huet, an déi net esou vill Zäit mat der Boma an dem Bopa verbréngen, wéi een dat geduecht hat. Mee ech muss och soen, dass déi Zäit déi ee matenee verbréngt, dann och vill méi intensiv ass, an een déi vill méi bewosst wouer hëlt.

 

I am lucky that my parents are still young. It’s more difficult when the parents are older and you can’t be there for them. But the feeling of guilt is there no matter what, because you left. Especially when you have kids and they can’t spend as much time with grandma and grandpa as you had imagined. But I have to say that the time that you do spend together is much more intensive, you experience it much more consciously.

 

4. What does homeland mean to you? Or is Canada, after almost two years, already your “homeland”?

Et ass fir mech vläit e bësse méi einfach Kanada als Heemecht z’adoptéieren, well mengem Mann seng ganz Famill hei wunnt, a mir och scho virdru regelméisseg heihi komm sinn. Wann ee Famill anzwousch huet, integréiert een sech och méi liicht. Et ass am Fong ëmmer Hëllef do, wann een se brauch.

Dat war jo ganz anescht bei deenen éischte Lëtzebuerger Emigranten. Wou déi am 19. Joerhonnert an Amerika ausgewandert sinn, waren se wochelaang um Schëff, hunn sech dono en eegent Haus misse bauen, a konnten emol net déi Englesch Sprooch schwätzen. Déi hu wierklech bei Null ugefaangen.

Lëtzebuerg bleift awer trotzdem ëmmer meng Heemecht. Ech sinn do gebuer an dat ass meng Identitéit. Ech si stolz vun esou enger eemoleger Plaz ze kommen. Dofir ginn ech mech och vläicht esou drun, fir eis Kultur, a Sprooch z’erhalen an ze verbreeden. 

Et soll een awer keng Angscht hunn, fir sech enger anerer Kultur opzemaachen, doduerch verléiert een näischt. Am Géigendeel. Et léiert ee vill iwwert seng eege Kultur bäi.

 

It might be a bit easier to adopt Canada as my homeland because my husband’s family lives here and we used to visit on a regular basis before moving here. When you have family somewhere, it is easier to integrate. There is always help when you need it.

That was very different for the first Luxembourgish emigrants. When they moved to America in the 19th century, they were on a ship for weeks, had to build their own house and couldn’t even speak English. They really started from scratch.

Nonetheless, Luxembourg will always remain my homeland. I am born there and that’s my identity. I am proud to be from such a unique place, and maybe that’s why I’m making such efforts to maintain and spread our culture and language.

You should not however be afraid to open up to another culture. You won’t lose anything, on the contrary, you will learn a lot about your own culture.