Learn when to use wann, wéini and wéi

 

The English word when can be expressed in Luxembourgish by 3 different words:

Wéini, wann an wéi.

These three words are very confusing for most students learning Luxembourgish. So I will help you to understand how and when to use wéini, wann and wéi.

Wéini

Wéini is a question word related to time. It asks or relates to the question when?

2 situations call out for wéini:

1 Use wéini when you want to ask a question.

Examples:

Wéini fiers du an d’Vakanz? When do you go on holidays?
Wéini hues du Congé? When are you on leave?
Säit wéini wunns du an der Stad? Since when have you been living in Luxembourg city?

2 Use wéini, when you are not sure what someone is doing, or when someone / somtehing is arriving.

In a statement such as I don’t know when the train is arriving you would say: Ech weess net, wéini den Zuch kënnt.

Examples:

Ech weess net, wéini den Noper plënnert. I don’t know when the neighbour is moving.
Mir wëssen nach net, wéini mir an d’Vakanz ginn. We still don’t know, when we go on holidays.

 Wann

Wann is NOT a question word. Wann is a conjunction word. I will cover in this lesson 4 main uses of wann.

wann meaning in case of / if

Examples:
Wann et reent, bleiwen ech doheem. If it rains, I stay at home.
Sot mir Bescheed, wann dir op Besuch kommt. Tell me, when you are coming to visit us.

wann meaning when (while) in English

Examples:

Doheem ass d’Tëlee aus, wa(nn) mir iessen. At home the tv is off, when we’re eating.
Wann ech kachen, lauschteren ech de Radio. When I’m cooking, I listen to the radio.

In these two examples we could also have used the word während (while).

3 wann meaning when (as soon as) in English

Examples:

Ech gi(nn) bei den Dokter, wann ech krank sinn. I go to the doctor, when I am sick. 
So mir Bescheed, wann s du fort gees. Tell me, when you are leaving.

4 wann is used in wish-phrases

Example:
Wann ech pensionnéiert sinn, da(nn) maachen ech eng Weltrees. When I’m retired, I will do a world trip.

Wéi

In a sentence expressed in the past tense or perfect tense wann is replaced by wéi.

Examples:

Wéi ech jonk war, sinn ech ëmmer bei meng Boma an d’Vakanz gaang.
When I was young, I always went to my grandmother on holidays.
Et war scho(nn) spéit, wéi ech gëschter heemkomm sinn.
It was already late, when I came home yesterday.