As mentioned in a previous lesson where I explained how to say I used to … in Luxembourgish by using either soss or fréier, I want to take a closer look at the Luxembourgish small word
Be it in the smallest of all talks, at the market or at the bakery, you will for sure always hear the magic small word soss.
So …. soss is an important word, it is all over the place so it deserves no less than a more in-depth explanation.
If you look up soss in a dictionary you’ll most likely find else as the main translation. This is correct but soss can also be used as usually, before, besides or previously and I have heard from quite a few people that they find soss rather hard to grasp. Let me show you how to use this magic word!
An der Bäckerei:
•Wat kritt Dir haut? – So what will it be today?
◦Also, ech hätt gär 5 Bréidercher an eng Baguette. – I’d like to have 5 buns and a baguette.
•Soss nach eppes? – Anything else?
◦Nee, dat ass alles. – No, that’s all.
Huet soss nach een eng Fro? – Has anyone else a question?
Now, in the examples we had so far we had soss nach as a fixed phrase and you can’t really skip the nach. I think the reason is that we’re talking about countable items here and the nach helps getting the idea of “more items” across… .
The whole point is that soss can be used without nach, too… for example in small talk:
•An, wéi leeft op der Aarbecht? – And, how’s work going?
◦Oh, gutt gutt, ech hat gëscher blah blah blah.. – Oh good, good, yesterday I had blah …
•Ah sou! – Really!
◦Jo, jo… – Well, well …
•A soss? And otherwise/besides?
With a(n) soss? the person is asking for the other aspects of the persons life… like family or hobbies or pets or stuff… so it is asking for other thing than the one they have already talked about. The phrase a soss? has become kind of a fixed phrase that you can use to break a somewhat long pause in conversation … like, you sit around, you discuss something and then you’re done with the discussion and no one says anything… then people sometimes say a soss? to break the silence and at the same time acknowledge that they might have run out of topics.
So far we have used soss to refer to other items, other topics or other activities. But it can also refer to other points in time.
Wou ass de Claude? Hien ass dach soss ëmmer pénkltech.
Where is Claude? Usually, he is always on time.
So here, soss refers to basically all other meeting except this one. Here is another example:
Ech drénke soss ëmmer Kaffi awer haut drénken ech Téi.
Normally, I always drink coffee but today I’ll drink tea.
Now be careful:
soss is not really a translation of normally or usually. It only is if THIS time things are different. So if you just want to make a statement about how something is in general… do not use soss but normalerweis.
is also used to announce consequences.
Maach elo deng Hausaufgaben, soss kucks de kee Netflix!
Do your homework now or (else) you’ll not watch Netflix!
So here, soss refers to all situations in which the homework is not done and in all those realities, there will be no more series on Netflix. But couldn’t you just use oder in that case? Well you can but soss sounds more serious, severe.
But anyway … of course not all consequences have to be as severe.
Do dech waarm un, soss erkaals du dech!
Dress warm or you will catch a cold!
is a related word and it is quite useful. Ëmsoss has a double meaning:
for nothing in the sense of for free and in vain.
Ech war gëschter ëmsoss am Kino. Mäi Brudder huet mech agelueden.
I was at the movies for free yesterday. My brother invited me.
E Sonndeg kann een ëmsoss an d’Muséeë goen.
This Sunday you can go for free to the museums.
All eis Aarbecht war ëmsoss. – All our work was in vain.
That’s all. The theory about the origin says that soss is just a mumbled, fused together so net ass which basically means “if not so”. If we say “if not this” instead, we basically have the meaning of soss. It just refers to other things than what has been said before and the main translation is else.
And here a useful idiom you can use when you are leaving someone and you don’t know when you will meet again:
Bis soss eng Kéier! See you another time (but when???)
Watch the video so to practice what you have learned in this lesson – along with me!
If you want to learn Luxembourgish from scratch but you don’t have time to attend classes then this my online course is for you!