If you’ve already been studying Luxembourgish for a while, you are probably still struggling when to say mech, ech, du, dech, dir, iech … when building a sentence, right? Indeed It can be difficult to understand why you hear or use one instead of another. Those of you who have some knowledge of Luxembourgish know that the cases are one of the most tricky parts of learning Luxembourgish.
Take a look at the following two sentences about the boy and the dog:
1 De Jong kuckt den Hond. – The boy looks at the dog.
2 Den Hond bäisst de Jong. – The dog bites the boy.
What changes in these 2 sentences?
In sentence 1, The boy – De Jong – is the subject.
In sentence 2, De Jong – is the direct object.
We have here for de Jong a change in cases from nominative (sentence 1) to accusative (sentence 2).
Let’s look at the difference between the nominative and accusative cases:
Nominative Case & Accusative Case
In sentence 1
De Jong is the one doing the action (kuckt) to the dog. This means that de Jong is in the nominative case.
The nominative word in a sentence is the subject: the person or thing that is doing the action indicated by the verb.
Den Hond having an action done to it, is accusative. This is called the direct object in English.
The accusative word in a sentence is the direct object: the person or thing that is being acted upon.
In sentence 2
Den Hond is the one doing the action (bäisst) to the boy. This means that den Hond is in the nominative case and hence is the subject.
The Luxembourgish articles (d’, den, en, eng) do NOT change in the accusative case, i.e. they remain the same as in the nominative case. As in sentence 1 and sentence 2.
BUT the personal pronouns DO change!
In the previous lesson I introduced you to the 3 Luxembourgish cases and in this lesson I will go more in depth about the personal pronouns in the accusative case.
The Personal Pronouns in the Accusative
Take a look at the following sentence:
Ech hunn dech gär. – I love you.
We don’t say “Ech hunn du gär” no, no, no!
⇒ du (personal pronoun in the nominative case) becomes dech in the accusative.
To express in Luxembourgish that you love someone you use the block ee gär hunn which requires us to always use the accusative.
ech I mech me
du you dech you
hien he hien him
hatt she hatt her
si she si her-formal
mir we eis us
dir/Dir you iech/Iech you-plural/formal
si they si them
Examples with verbs requiring the accusative case
héieren – to hear
- Héiers du mech? – Do you hear me?
- Jo, ech héieren dech. – Yes, I hear you.
gesinn – to see
- Ech gesinn hien net. – I don’t see him.
- Kanns du si gesinn? – Can you see them?
verstoen – to understand
- Verstees du hatt? – Do you understand her?
- Ech hunn iech net verstanen. – I haven’t understood you.
froen – to ask
- Ech hunn hien eppes gefrot. – I have asked him something.
- Ech froe mech, wou meng Kaz ass. – I am wondering, where my cat is.
kennen – to know
- Ech kenne si guer net. – I don’t know them at all.
- Säit wéini kenns du hatt?- Since when have you been knowing her?
My learning tip:
Those are just just a few verbs requiring the accusative case but it is just good to know a few verbs, the most common ones and to use them WELL, rather than knowing many and hesitating in conversation. AND keep practicing!! Practicing makes perfect! That’s the most efficient way that is sticks in your head:-)
Watch this lesson on my Youtube channel so to learn some more verbs by practicing along with me (Übungen – exercises)!!
Translate the following sentences into Luxembourgish:
- Do you (informal) know him?
- Can I ask you (informal) something?
- Have you (formal) seen her (informal) today?
Check the solution by downloading the PDF and practice with MORE sentences to translate !
I hope you liked it and found it useful. And …. why not sharing this lesson with your friends:-)
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