02 Mar

Losing the monopoly

A few days ago I learned that this building will be torn down soon.

Delhaize, the Belgian supermarket chain that currently resides in this building will tear it down to construct a new one. Though the old name of the store was not taken down when Delhaize moved in, this supermarket chain did not have the monopoly anymore as other supermarkets are also present.

The name of the former store "Monopol" (Monopoly) was telling: no competitors. This reminds me a bit of the “good ol’ GDR times” just in the capitalist west. 😉

Not the monopoly anymore

Not the monopoly anymore

12 Aug

Avoiding the summer slump

Two free daily papers in Luxembourg, L’essentiel and Point24, have found a shockingly simple, yet highly elegant way of avoiding the yearly journalistic summer slump: They do not publish during the summer vacation, but also take time off to go on company holidays.Thus, we have to live with the half-page of daily gossip published on the last page of Das Wort (The Word).

Company holidays (congĂ© collectif / Betriebsferien) are fairly common in Luxembourg. You can find family-owned stores, pubs, and restaurants to close for aproximately 3 to 4 weeks. Construction sites lie idle so that the mainly Portugues workers can use the time of the school holidays to visit family back in Portugal. On the contrary, in Munich (I don’t know about the rest of Germany) street construction sites boom during the summer months as there is less traffic to worry about.

At the end of August, most people will be back in Luxembourg and school starts mid-September so that the streets will be much more crowded than they are now. Thus, right now I enjoy the relative quietness of congé collectif Luxembourg.

19 May

Christmas in May

By now already two days ago during my short morning commute to the university, I saw a bus that had “Christmas Party” written on its electronic display at the front. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to get my camera and take a picture. Was that a joke? Was that an early practice run? Was that…?

02 Feb

Missing Luxembourgish expression / fehlender luxembourgischer Ausdruck

When you go to a museum, you always learn something new. In the museum on the history of the city of Luxembourg which is a really great museum by the way, I learned that the phrase “I love you” does not exist in Luxembourgish (LĂ«tzebuergesch). There is only “I like you” (“Ech hunn dech gĂ€r”) which you use for “I love you” as well. In the north of the country it sounds more like “ich han dech gieren”.

Apparently, as I was informed, the younger generation is not so happy with that and try to find other solutions. One is to say “Ech hunn dech lĂ©if!” (LĂ©ift = love), but that phrase does not really exist and seems to sound wrong as well. Another solution is to say “ech sinn (ganz) (vill) frou matt dĂ€r” (I would translate that literally in “I am [very] happy with you”) which is more emotional than “Ech hunn dech gĂ€r” for one person who helped explain this phenomenon.


Update: The personal communication with A. Meyer and S.A.(L.) Miller on January 24, 2008 contributed to the correct spelling of the Luxembourgish words and more importantly to the explanations.

I guess, many Luxembourgish also use any of the many other languages they speak to express themselves when they do not find an appropriate expression in Luxembourgish. One of our custodians, for example, speaks approx. 8 languages: Luxembourgish, German, French, Portuguese, English, and a few languages spoken in former Jugoslavia where his family comes from.

Another side fact: More than 60 % of the approx. 86,900 inhabitants of the city of Luxembourg are foreigners.

***

Wenn man ins Museum geht, lernt man immer etwas Neues. Im Museum zur Stadtgeschichte von Luxembourg, das ĂŒbrigens sehr schön ist, lernte ich, dass es den Satz “Ich liebe dich” nicht im Luxembourgischen (LĂ«tzebuergesch) gibt. Stattdessen wird “Ich mag dich” (“Ech hunn dech gĂ€r”) auch dafĂŒr benutzt. Im Norden des Landes klingt es mehr wie “ich han dech gieren”.

Die junge Generation ist damit aber nicht so zufrieden und sucht deshalb nach Lösungen, um sich besser auszudrĂŒcken. So gibt es z.B. “Ech hunn dech lĂ©if!” (LĂ©ift = Liebe), was es nicht wirklich gibt und zudem noch falsch klingen soll. Eine andere Lösung ist “ech sinn (ganz) (vill) frou matt dĂ€r” (ich wĂŒrde das wortwörtlich als “ich bin [ganz] [viel / doll] froh mit dir” ĂŒbersetzen), das fĂŒr eine Person, die mir dieses PhĂ€nomen etwas erklĂ€rte, emotionaler ist als “Ech hunn dech gĂ€r”.


Update: Die E-Mail-Kommunikation mit A. Meyer und S.A.(L.) Miller am 24. Januar 2008 trug nicht nur zur richtigen Schreibweise des Luxembourgischen bei, sondern vielmehr auch zu den ErklÀrungsversuchen.

Ich schĂ€tze mal, dass ein Großteil der Luxembourger eine seiner vielen anderen Sprachen nutzt, um sich auszudrĂŒcken, wenn es im Luxembourgischen nicht klappt. Einer unserer Hausmeister spricht z. B. ca. 8 Sprachen: Luxembourgisch, Deutsch, Französisch, Portugiesisch, Englisch und dann noch ein paar Sprachen, die im ehemaligen Jugoslawien gesprochen werden, wo seine Familie herkommt.

Noch ein Fakt: Von den 86.900 Einwohnern der Stadt Luxembourg sind mehr as 60 % AuslÀnder.

02 Feb

Carnival Season / Fasching

I’ll try to get a couple of posts out today as I have not written anything here for a while. There’s been a lot going on during the last months and I have many ideas for new posts, I just need to find the time to write them down.

When I went to the supermarket today, I got a feel of how important carnival is for the Luxembourgish. The entire staff, and I am not kidding, was dressed up in full-body costumes. Everybody had a different costume on and you had your clown, tiger, baby, rooster, and many, many more.

I was also told that the carnival season does not end next Wednesday with Ash Wednesday as in Germany, but that it will really hit it from then on. Let’s see what happens. 😉

As I am not a carnival person at all (being born on Carnival Tuesday was enough for me *big grins*), I will not go to one of the numerous parties, fancy dress dances etc. I leave that to the people who like to dress up and get into costume.

If you live in an area where there is a high level of carnival activity, I wish you a fun time and a good end of the season (remember: only Luxembourg continues 🙂 ) no matter whether you are in costume or not. For all others, I guess it will be regular days only.

***

Ich versuche heute ein paar Posts rauszusenden, da ich in letzter Zeit nichts geschrieben habe. In den letzten Monaten habe ich etliche Ideen fĂŒr dieses Blog gehabt, aber nicht die Zeit, sie aufzuschreiben.

Als ich heute einkaufen war, habe ich live gesehen, wie wichtig Fasching fĂŒr Luxembourg ist. Alle Angestellten, und ich mache echt keinen Witz, waren in KostĂŒmen. Jeder hatte ein anders an, und man sah Clown, Tieger, Baby, Hahn und viele andere Wesen.

Mir wurde auch gesagt, dass Fasching nicht wie ĂŒblich am Aschermittwoch endet, sondern weitergefeiert wird. Mal sehen, wie das dann nĂ€chste Woche wird. 😉

Da ich kein Faschingstyp bin (es hat mir gereicht, am Faschingsdienstag geboren zu sein *großes Grinsen*), gehe ich nicht zu einer der zahlreichen FaschingsbĂ€lle. Das ist was fĂŒr jene, die sich gern verkleiden.

Falls ihr in einem Landstrich wohnt, wo Fasching eien große Rolle spielt, wĂŒnsche ich euch eine lustige Zeit und einen guten Ausklang (nur in Luxembourg geht es ja noch weiter), egal ob in KostĂŒm oder nicht. FĂŒr alle anderen werden es wohl eher regulĂ€re Tage sein.