Wëssen and kennen both translate to to know
I know that for a lot of English speakers, it does not make sense to have two verbs for a simple verb.
A real problem… unless your mother tongue is, say, Spanish or Italian because these languages have two words as well.
For a native speaker of English having two options for to know is really something to get used. So today we’ll look a straight forward way to tell them apart.
A best and easy rule of thumb for when to use wëssen and kennen (regular verb) is this:
wëssen is for information that is expressed using a verb
kennen is for things, persons, places
Listen to the podcast of this lesson for the correct pronunciation.
is used when we want to express that we are familiar with a person or something or a place .
A good hint is: the answer should be either a noun or a pronoun:
Kenns du den neien Noper? Do you know the new neighbour?
Nee, ech kennen hien nach net. No, I don’t know him yet.
Ech kennen dat Buch schonn. I already know that book.
Ech kenne Lëtzebuerg, well ech do gelieft hunn. I know Luxembourg, because I lived there.
should be used when we want to express a fact or something that we have knowledge about.
Ech weess dat. I know that.
Ech weess Bescheed. I know, I am informed.
A good guideline: the answer would require a phrase as opposed to a noun or pronoun and most of the time you would have a subordinate clause which starts with datt, wéi, wann, wou, wien, firwat, ob, wéini ….
Weess du, wéi al hien ass? Do you know how old he is?
Ech weess, datt hien 12 Joer al ass. I know that he is 12 years old.
Weess du, wéini d’Reunioun ufänkt? Do you know when the meeting begins?
Mir wëssen net, ob hien haut kënnt. We don’t know, if he is coming today.
And the word iwwer goes with wëssen:
eppes wëssen iwwer means “to know something about“. Even if you refer to a person you would use wëssen in this case.
Ech weess vill iwwer hien. I know a lot about him.
De Proff weess vill iwwer lëtzebuergesch Geschicht – The teacher knows a lot about Luxembourgish history.
Hie kennt vun Tuten a Blosen näischt. He doesn’t know anything.
Wie mengt, dee weess näischt. If you are not sure about something, then you should not talk about it.
Translate the following sentences into Luxembourgish:
- I know him.
- Do you know when the next bus is coming?
- The teacher knows a good Luxembourgish restaurant at the station.
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:-)