In the previous lesson I talked about the 3 most important rules of the word order in Luxembourgish independent phrases. This is part 2 of the series The Word Order in Luxembourgish sentences and an extract of my 10 Day-Course: The Basics of the Luxembourgish Sentence Structure.
And this lesson is all about the word order in dependent clauses:
Luxembourgish Subordinate Clauses
Subordinate clauses are those parts of a sentence that cannot stand alone and are dependent on another part of the sentence. They introduce more complicated word order rules in Luxembourgish.
The conjugated verb is placed at the end of a subordinate clause.
A Subordinate Clause is introduced by
a subordinating conjunction: datt, ob, well, wann, etc
or in the case of relative clauses by a relative pronoun deen, déi, dat.
Here are some examples of subordinate clauses in Luxembourgish and English. Notice that each Luxembourgish subordinate clause (in bold type) is set off by a comma.
a) Ech weess net, ob hien haut kënnt. I don’t know if / whether he comes today.
b) Ech ginn haut net an d’Schwämm, well ech krank sinn. I don’t go to the swimming pool today because I am sick.
c) Wéi ech haut Kaffi gedronk hunn, ware meng Kanner nach am Bett. When I had breakfast today, my children still were in bed.
d) Dat ass de Mann, dee mir gëschter gesinn hunn. That’s the man (that/whom) we saw yesterday.
e) Wann d’Wieder schéin ass, ginn ech lafen. – If the weather is good, I’ll go running.
Conjunction First – Verb Last
As you can see above, a Luxembourgish subordinate clause always starts with a subordinating conjunction and ends with the conjugated verb.
It is always set off from the main clause by a comma, whether it comes before or after the main clause.
The other sentence elements, such as time, manner, place, fall into the normal order.
The ONE thing you must remember is that when a sentence starts with a subordinate clause, as in example c) above, the very first word after the comma (before the main clause) MUST be the verb: the verb ware(n). (Note the differences between the English and Luxembourgish word order in that same example.)
Once the spring is there ….
Subordinating & other Conjunctions
One important aspect of learning to deal with subordinate clauses is to be familiar with the subordinating conjunctions that introduce them.
All of the subordinating conjunctions require the conjugated verb to go at the end of the clause they introduce.
Another technique for learning conjunctions is to learn the ones that are NOT subordinating, called coordinating conjunctions, since there are fewer of those. The coordinating conjunctions with normal word order are:
awer / mee (but), oder (or), entweder/oder (either/or) an (and).
Meng Eltere waren och am Kino, awer ech hu si net gesinn. – My parents were also at the movies, but I didn’t see them.
Du kanns mir d’Suen direkt ginn, oder du bezils dono. – You can give me the money straight away or you can pay later.
Entweder du waarts hei op eis, oder du gees mat. – Either you wait for us here, or you come with us.
Remark: After an, the subject (if it remains the same) can often be omitted because it is understood, so the verb often follows it immediately:
Ech iesse moies eng Schmier an drénken dobäi Téi. – I eat a slice of bread in the morning and to that I drink tea.
The word wéi is also used in comparisons (méi grouss wéi, bigger than), in which case it is not a subordinating conjunction. As always, you have to look at the context in which a word appears in a sentence.
Learn the most important Coordinating & Subordinate Conjunctions and practise with many exercises with my
1 Simple, declarative sentences are identical in Luxembourgish and English: Subject, verb, other.
2 The verb is always the second element in a Luxembourgish sentence.
3 With compound verbs, the second part of the verb goes last, but the conjugated part is still second.
4 Luxembourgish sentences are usually “Time, Manner, Place.”
5* After a subordinate clause / conjunction, the verb goes last.
Practise with this FREE lesson of my online course 10 day course: Understand the Basics of Luxembourgish Sentence Structure or by downloading the PDF copy of this lesson!
I hope you liked it and found it useful. And …. why not sharing this lesson with your friends:-)