Today, I’m going to be dealing with one topic you all really love:-) No, not the gender. No, not the cases either. What? Adjective endings?! Oh no and it’s not the word order…
The thing we’ll look at today are what in jargon is called “pronominal adverbs”. We know them as …
do-words such as domat, dofir, doriwwer, dorun ….. always consist of the word do and a preposition like un (of), mat (with), iwwer (about)….
Do-words are always used in combination with verbs that are used with a preposition such as sichen fir (to look for), sech erënneren un (to remind of/ remember), fuere mat (to travel with).
In a sentence the do replaces the object (whenever the object isn’t supposed to be mentioned or repeated again).
In English you’d translate do with it or that for example: domat = with it, doriwwer = about it, dovun = of it/that …
Listen here to the Video of this lesson:
- Wat méchs du mat dem (mam) Vëlo? – What are you doing with the bike.
⇒ Ech fueren domat op d’Aarbecht. – I go to work with it.
Domat replaces the object “mat dem (mam) Vëlo”.
- Ech freeë mech op de Weekend. – I am looking to the weekend.
⇒ Ech freeë mech dorop. – I’m looking forward to it.
Dorop replaces “op de Weekend”.
- Erënners du dech un eis lescht Vakanz? – Do you remember our last holiday?
⇒ Jo, ech erënnere mech dorun. – Yes, I remember it.
Dorun replaces “un eis lescht Vakanz”.
In the last example we have the verb sech erënneren un which is reflexive so to say I remember in Luxembourgish is ech erënnere mech and in English you don’t have any preposition, you just say Do you remember …something? but in Luxembourgish there is the preposition un ⇒ Erënners du dech un …..?
“do-words” only replace objects but not people and not most animals
- Ech spille mat mengem Brudder. Ech spillen
domat.– I play with my brother. I play with it.
You cannot say that. No, no, no…! That sounds very strange. “Brudder” is not an object BUT a person so you replace it by the personal pronoun (in the dative case as the preposition mat requires the dative case) and so the correct sentence would be:
⇒ Ech spille mat him. – I play with him.
With “r” and without “r”?
Now you’ll have noticed that there some do-words with an “r” between the do and the preposition and some others without “r”. Well, there is no “r” with prepositions starting with a consonant such as
without “r”: fir, mat, vun ….. ⇒ dofir, domat, dovun ….
and there is an “r” with prepositions starting with a vowel such as
with “r”: un, an, iwwer, op …. ⇒ dorun, doran, doriwwer, dorop …
What’s up with the dr-stuff?
Let’s have a look at the weird dr-stuff. What do I mean by dr-stuff? Well, I said that a do-word consists of do and the preposition. So we have do + mat becomes domat, do + fir becomes dofir and so do + op should become dorop … But it doesn’t. It becomes drop:
- Ech freeë mech drop. I’m looking forward to that.
All the do-words where the preposition starts with a vowel, so all the ones that have an r in the middle will drop the “o” of do. dorop becomes drop, doran becomes dran, doriwwer becomes driwwer and so on.
- Meng Elteren hunn en Hond kritt. Mir hunn de ganzen Owend driwwer geschwat.
My parents got a dog. We talked about it the whole evening.
- Mäi Mann beschwéiert sech oft iwwer d’Wieder. Firwat beschwéiert hien sech driwwer?
My husband often complains about the weather. Why does he complain about it?
In these examples we have the object en Hond, d’Wieder but in both sentences, the word that we have to use to replace the object we are talking about is always the same d(o)riwwer…In the 1. sentence we use the verb schwätzen iwwer (to talk about) and in the 2. sentence “sech beschwéieren iwwer” (to complain about)
Mistakes to avoid
Here are some mistakes my students often make when trying to translate literally from English into Luxembourgish:
- Ech hunn net vill Zäit fir
dat, if you want to say I don’t have much time for it.
In English you say “to have time for it” whereas in Luxembourgish we would not use dat (it) as the object but instead the do-word ⇒ Zäit hunn dofir and so the correct sentence would be
⇒ Ech hunn net vill Zäit dofir. – I don’t have much time for it.
- Ech hat keng Ahnung vun
dat, if you want to say I had no idea about it
The phrase Ahnung hunn (to have an idea) is used with the preposition vun (about) but again we would not use dat (it) as the object but instead the do-word ⇒ Ahnung hunn dovun and so the correct sentence would be
⇒ Ech hat keng Ahnung dovun. – I had no idea about it.
- One reason, why do-words give learners of Luxembourgish a hard time is the simple fact that you have to change the order of things… instead of saying “with it” you have to think and say “it-with”. It is just the twisted illogical way of Luxemburgers to say “with it”, “from it”, “for it” and so on. If you are not used to it, you will talk and then maybe say “with” still wondering what preposition needs to follow, but it is already too late… you just can’t get it right anymore and you would have had to have used a d0-word. When you want to replace things that are connected by a preposition you say d0-and then the preposition.
- BUT – neither case nor gender do matter for the do-words… they are always the same. So when you talk and you come to a point where you have to say something like “on it”, “to it”, “from it”, “with it” etc. you do not need to know the Luxembourgish gender of it… just say domat, driwwer, dovun, drun or whatever the preposition may be, and you will be correct… 100% top native speaker correct.
So that is it. That is the mystery about the do-words.