The Luxembourgish Definite & Indefinite Articles

Today I am going to talk about an important but somehow exhausting grammar point:  The Luxembourgish nouns and their articles. The Luxembourgish articles are honestly spoken a pain in the neck as they do not make any sense nor do they follow any logic. Unfortunately they are important for anyone who aims at speaking correct Luxembourgish. If you are confused by this, don’t be afraid! You’re not the only one. So…. lets’s start! First of all,

What is a noun?

So a noun can either be:

a person, a place, a thing or an idea. And all nouns in Luxembourgish are spelled with a Capital.

Beispiller (Examples):

d’Fra – the woman
d’Stad – the city
de Park – the park
de Computer – a computer
d’Gesondheet – the health

You can listen to this lesson on the “Luxembourgish with Anne podcast via iTunes or watch the video on youtube.

The Luxembourgish Definite Articles

Now, English just has one definite article “the”  but in Luxembourgish we have three of them: weiblech (feminine), männlech (masculine) and sächlech (neuter):

d’ = feminine
de(n)* = masculine
d’ = neuter

So d’ / de(n)* / d’  are the equivalent of “the” !

You may have noticed that the feminine and neuter definite articles look the same at first sight but there are differences when you declinate nouns.

*subject to the n-rule

Beispiller (Examples):

de Brudder – the brother (masculine)
d’Fra – the woman (feminine)
d’Kand – the child (neuter)
de Läffel – the spoon (masculine)
d’Forschette – the fork (feminine)
d’Messer – the knife (neuter)

The article of the plural form is as well d’:

d’Autoen – the cars (plural)

The Luxembourgish Indefinite Articles

Luxembourgish has as well three indefinite articles so the equivalent to “a” or “an” in English:

eng = feminine
e(n)* = masculine
e(n)* = neuter

Now here you notice that the masculine and neuter indefinite article are the same.

Beispiller (Examples):

e Mann – a man (masculine)
eng Fra – a woman (feminine)
Kand – a child (neuter)

The Definite & Indefinite Articles

                                       Masculine                   Feminine                   Neuter                   Plural

Definite article            den                                d’                                d’                            d’

Indefinite article         en                                eng                               en                           –

Now I hear you asking: but how do I remember the gender of Luxembourgish nouns?

I would love to tell you that there is a trick or a simple way of remembering what gender each noun is. But Luxembourgish genders are pretty random. Unfortunately noun genders are just one of those things you will have to learn on a case by case basis. I know that this is really an unsatisfying thing to say ….. however there are some rules though! You can read about these rules in my article:

Hints to remember the gender of Luxembourgish nouns

Here is my advise: whenever you learn a new noun, the first thing to do is to ask “what’s the gender?” and actually write the word down with its gender. For example, something which my students always get confused with at the beginning:

d’Meedchen which means the girl  is a neuter noun and not feminine! And so you have to say for a girl e Meedchen (and not eng). So ALWAYS learn a new noun along with its article!  So that you automatically connect the noun to the gender and this will avoid you to draw blanks when speaking.

If you learn in your lesson the noun Auto (car) learn it with: den Auto / en Auto. And even better with the plural form: d’Autoen / Autoen.

Beispiller (Examples):

                                            Masculine                   Feminine                   Neuter                   Plural

def. article                         den Teller                    d’Kaz                           d’Haus                 d’Telleren

indef. article                      en Teller                      eng Kaz                       en Haus                Telleren

I am aware that this topic can kill motivation but let me tell you: don’t stress yourself about it. It is important that you develop an awareness for this but don’t focus on them too much. Just follow my advise:

ALWAYS learn a new noun along with its article!


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