Learn to understand and to use correctly the couple “Wat fir …?”

Knowing a word in Luxembourgish is helpful if you want to speak the language. However, sometimes one word isn’t enough to get the job done. Sometimes you need a couple of words so 2 words. 2 words which together have another meaning. 2 words like the ones we will look at today: Wat fir ….?

 

The meaning of WAT FIR ….?

Wat fir is a quite useful combination.  We have the parts wat (what) and fir (for) and together they basically mean what kind or simply what but as well which.

Let’s start with the meaning of

Wat fir = what kind

Beispiller (examples)

At the coffee shop:

Wat kritt Dir? –  What can I serve you (are you ready to order)?
Ma, ech hätt gär en Téi, w.e.g. – Well, I would like a tea, please.
Jo, a wat fir en Téi? – Yes, and what kind of tea?
Oh… äh.. wat hutt Dir dann ? Oh ….what do you have?

In Luxembourgish you need to have an article (indefinite article) … so either

eng/en/enger/ engem

(depending on the case and the gender) and wat fir for plural. Therefore we have:

Jo, a wat fir en Téi? – Yes, and what kind of tea?

Beispiller (examples)

Wat fir Béier (pl) hutt dir vum Faass? –  What kind of beers do you have on draft?

Ech wëll Nuddelen iessen, awer ech weess net mat wat fir enger Zooss. – I want to eat pasta but I don’t know with what kind of sauce.

So this is pretty obvious. But wat fir is not really always asking for a kind. Sometimes it really just means what:

Hues du scho meng nei Schong gesinn? – Have you already seen my new shoes?
Nee, wat fir Schong? – No, what shoes?

Wat fir =  which

Wat fir….? in the sense of which is asking for one or more specific items out of a pool of choices.

Beispiller (examples)

Wat fir Hausdéieren hues du léiwer? – Which pets do you prefer?
Wat fir Sprooche schwätz du? – Which languages do you speak?

Wat fir eng Box fënns du méi schéin? – Which pants do you think is more beautiful?
Wat fir en Dag hues du Zäit fir lafen ze goen? – Which day do you have time to go running?

Wat fir =  which one

Wat fir  is also used as a pronoun… here is what I mean:

Ech hu gëschter owend e geniale Film gesinn. – Wat fir een?
I saw a movie a fantastic film last night. – Which one?

Ech hunn eng Glace als Dessert giess.  – Ou? Wat fir eng?
I had an ice cream as dessert! – Really? Which one?

And

whenever wat fir is part of a prepositional phrase… you have to think about the case: dative or accusative.

Beispiller (examples)

Mat wat fir engem Auto sidd dir gefuer? – With what kind / which of car did you drive?
A(n) wat fir enger Stad sidd dir stoe bliwwen? – In which town did you stop?
Op wat fir enger Säit (vum Buch) si mir stoe bliwwen? – At which page did we stop?

Important remark:

Note that native speakers say as well instead of  wat fir:

wéi eng (fem & pl nouns) / wéi een (masc / neuter)

Wéi eng* / Wat fir (eng) Sproochen (pl) schwätz du? – Which languages do you speak?
Wéi een Auto (m) hues du? – What car do do you have?

*Always use the singular article “eng” with this construction even if the noun is plural!

And if you ask yourself now “Can I change the order and say fir wat instead?” then I say, no, no, no. I mean you can but then a native speaker will understand firwat which means why.

Übung (exercise)

Watch the video so to practice your pronunciation and your grammar –  along with me!

Download this lesson as a PDF copy!


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