Learn more about the Luxembourgish word “een”

The Luxembourgish word een has several meanings. Learn and practice in this lesson all about that small but useful word.

Meaning 1

een = the number one for masculine and neuter nouns

Beispiller (examples): 

  • Ech hunn een Hond an zwou Kazen. – I have one dog and two cats..
  • Mir hunn ee* Kand. – We have one child.



Don’t confuse een with the indefinite article for neuter and masculine nouns which is en.

Notice the difference and listen to the pronunciation of both een & en:

  • Ech hunn een Hond. – I have one dog. 
  • Ech hunn en Hond – I have a dog.



*een and en are subject to n-rule! You will often read and hear ee and e.

Meaning 2

een = someone / somebody

Beispiller (examples): 

  • Et huet een un der Dier geklappt. – Someone knocked at the door.
  • Dat ass een, deen net seriö ass. That’s someone ho is not serious. 


Meaning 3

ee vun = one of

Beispiller (examples): 

  • Hien ass ee vun de beschte Studenten. – He is one of the best students.
  • Den Tom ass ee vun eisen Noperen. Tom is one of our neighbours.


Meaning 4

een is also the word referring to a generic person, in impersonal statements.

But what does that actually mean?
Well, in language sometimes you want to make a statement about a reality without having an actual established protagonist, either because it’s a general statement or because you want to hide a little.

You can do that by using the English generic person one.

  • From the window, one can see the beach.

That use is not common in English, because English actually likes to personalize things and often makes general statements by saying you.

So, een is the Luxembourgish counterpart to the English impersonal one.
But it’s misleading to file that in the mental dictionary. Because then, een will always feel strange to you, when in reality it is super idiomatic and people use it all the time. 

So, instead of thinking of een as one or even you, try to get a feel for this concept of using a generic person.

Beispiller (examples): 

  • Däerf een zu Lëtzebuerg an engem Café fëmmen? – Can one smoke in a café in Luxembourg? (Is it allowed to smoke in a café in Luxembourg)


  • Wann ee Lëtzebuergesch léiere wëll, brauch ee vill Gedold. – If you want to learn Luxembourgish, you need a lot of patience.


  • Wann een e Marathon lafe wëll, muss een trainéieren. – If you want to run a marathon you need to train.



And let’s also mention the reflexive, which is sech.

  • Wann ee Lëtzebuergesch léiert, freet ee sech oft firwat. – When you are learning Luxembourgish, you often ask yourself why.




If you want to check how much you understood, you can take the little translation exercise I’ve prepared for you.

Let’s practice: 

Translate the following sentences into Luxembourgish:

  1. How do you say this in Luxembourgish?
  2. You are not / One is not allowed to smoke here.
  3. I know someone who can do this.

Check the solution by downloading the PDF and practice  with MORE sentences to translate !

Get the PDF!

I hope you liked it and found it useful. And …. why not sharing this lesson with your friends:-)


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