What is a Luxembourgish diphtong?
A Luxembourgish diphthong is a combination of two vowels which make together a new sound. So instead of being pronounced separately, the 2 vowels have one sound. I want you to watch my mouth position change as I pronounce each of the Luxembourgish diphtongs:
ei / ai – éi – äi – ou – au – eu / oi
In order to practise your oral expression, I highly recommend that you watch and listen to this lesson HERE!
Pronunciation of the Luxembourgish Diphtongs
Let’s start with the sound
ei / ai
both ei and ai are pronounced like the English word “by” as in:
Haiser (houses) Repeat after me, Gebai (building), bei (at) deier (expensive), Feier (fire)
this is pronounced “ay” as in the English word “say”:
Déier (animal), wéi (how), Schnéi (snow), fréi (early), léieren (to learn)
There is no equivalent in English. So listen to the sound an repeat along with me.
mäin (my), Wäin (wine), wäiss (white), räich (rich)
this is pronounced “ow” as in the English word “go”
wou (where), rout (red), frou (happy), Kou (cow), Brout (bread)
Listen to the difference between the single vowel o and the diphtong ou:
Fro (question) / frou – do you hear the difference?
We have 2 sounds
1. “ow”-sound as in the English word “now”. Then au is pronounced short
haut (today), Auer (watch/time), bauen (to build)
2. when au is pronounced long we have this sound
Haut (skin), Haus (house), Maus (mouse)
And in this word we have the 2 “au -sounds”: Sauerkraut
We have the “oy” like in the English word “boy“:
Moien (hello), moies (in the mornings), Euro, Europa (europe),
And we have French words which we took over in Luxembourgish and then the diphtong “oi” is pronounced like in French
Droit (jurispridence), Coiffer (hairdresser), Toilette (toilet)
Pronunciation of the Luxembourgish ie & ue
The two vowels in “ie” and “ue” go together but they are not diphtongs as they do not make a new sound but you slide from the first vowel to the second vowel.
liesen (to read), siechzéng (16), iessen (to eat), Wieder (weather)
You find this “ie-sound” as well in some one-syllable words ending un “ir” as in: mir (we) – fir (for) – Bir (pear)
fueren (to drive), huelen (to take), uechzéng (18), muer (tomorrow)
Sentence to Repeat Aloud:
Listen to this sentence and repeat after me:
Ech iessen haut um uechzéng Auer an drénken deiere roude Wäin zu Bréissel. I’m eating today at 6pm an drinking expensive red wine in Brussel.
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