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THE TRILINGUAL EDUCATION SYSTEM IN LUXEMBOURG

Language Use in Society

  • languages used are Letzeburgesch, German and French
  • almost 100% of the people are trilingual
  • about 26% immigrants, most of them with little knowledge of Letzeburgesch
  • Letzeburgesch: primarily for oral communication
  • French and German: written languages (e.g. in courts or correspondence)
  • the more educated the inhabitants are, the more likely they are to use French in oral communication

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General Information about the Trilingual School System

The Education System

  • nursery school starts at the age of five, lessons are offered on three mornings and two afternoons
  • primary school from six to eleven, lessons are offered on six mornings and three afternoons
  • secondary schools are divided into complementary, technical and general schools
  • Luxembourg has no universities of its own
  • all teachers have to prove their mastery of Letzeburgesch, French and Standard German before they can begin their work at school
  • See Appendix for table

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Language Use in School

Type of School

Medium of Instruction

Nursery school

only Letzeburgesch

Primary school

first years: Letzeburgesch

transition to German by the end of grade six
German is taught as a subject in the first year
French is introduced at the end of grade two

Secondary schools

for the first three years, most classes are taught in German

- general and technical

French replaces German in the fourth grade
some classes are still taught in German

- complementary

pupils have a less well–developed knowledge of French
  • proficiency in French depends on the length of time pupils stay in school
  • German given primary emphasis in primary education, French is primary emphasis in secondary education
  • mother tongue is totally replaced by two languages as the medium of instruction

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Immigrants in the Luxembourg School System

  • high percentage of people from foreign countries
  • Ministry of Education created special reception classes, children are supposed to learn German or French
  • after this one-year course, integration in the normal school programme takes place

Results and Future Prospects

  • language of primary emphasis changes during the school system
  • Letzeburgesch remains unthreatened
  • two major languages (French and German), one minor language (Letzeburgesch)
  • three-language policy in education can be successful if certain conditions are met
  • advantage for studying and working in Europe

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