Pub Luxembourgish, the new craze for time-poor expats

“Wat drénks du?”

“Wat drénks du?” one student asks another. “Ech drénken e Béier,” replies his neighbour. It's a typical conversation heard in classrooms around Luxembourg where people are learning the Luxembourgish language. The only difference with this lesson, however, is the students are not in a classroom or office, but a pub.

Fu Bar, in rue de la Tour Jacob, is the newest venue for people wishing to learn the local language. Each Monday evening, when the bar is closed to regular punters, a small group of 11 people from a range of backgrounds pile into the softy-lit pub.

Appropriately, for a pub, this week the lesson is all about what people are drinking. Inlingua teacher Janine Weis, who was recruited to teach the 15-week beginner's course, explains that she uses a teaching method which places emphasis on speaking the language, as opposed to writing it down. “Repetition and communication is important”, she explains, adding: “that way people get used to speaking Luxembourgish.”

For Janine, the proposal to teach in a pub was an unusual one: “Normally I would teach in a classroom or an office. For me it's a new experience teaching in a pub and I like it very much. I'm very happy.”

Sipping their drinks at tables dotted around the bar, the learners also seem to enjoy the informal atmosphere the bar backdrop provides.

French national Leïla has been working in Luxembourg for five years. “You feel more at home here than in a classroom,” she observes.

For Irish expatriate Kevin, learning Luxembourgish is an important step for his job. As manager of Irish bar the Pyg, also in rue de la Tour Jacob, Kevin said he'd like to be able to make an effort with his Luxembourgish customers.

“The Luxembourgers I've spoken to are impressed and are keen to help me when it gets quiet in the bar. But, it's difficult. It's only our third day so it's very early but I think everyone else here has basic Luxembourgish already. Sometimes I'm sitting here like a lost puppy!”

Pub Luxembourgish lessons were the brainchild of landlord and British national John Chalmers. Having previously worked in banking, John mastered French but had wanted to learn Luxembourgish for several years. “What I'd like to do now is to offer further beginner's courses and create an advanced level. It's a question of time. We're only closed on Monday evenings so we will have to figure out how we can do that.”

Luxembourgish lessons at Fu Bar are currently full. To find out more about future classes, call 621 37 66 43 or email john_chalmers_lux@hotmail.com