When speaking Luxembourgish, you may know lots of vocabulary and grammar, but still, be a terrible communicator.
In order to speak Luxembourgish well and do well on the Sproochentest Speaking test, you will need to improve your communication skills, as well as your language knowledge.
It’s important to practice these daily to improve your communication – like confidence, it is a muscle you can develop over time.
The 6 tips I’m going to give you in this lesson are the following:
1 speed – how fast you should speak
2 emphasis – how to use stress effectively
3 speaking clearly
5 communicating ideas
6 copy others
And read until the end because I’ve got a great bonus for you. I’m going to tell you at the end, the most powerful question, that all great communicators use.
Communication Tip #1: Speed
Fluency in Luxembourgish is not determined by your speed, so don’t speak too fast. Did you know that effective communicators speak slightly more slowly than normal conversation speed? So that the listener will grasp the main idea and understand what they are saying (communicating).
A problem for many students, especially if you speak quickly in your mother tongue is that you think that that’s fluency.
But speed and fluency are not the same.
In fact, speaking too quickly is a sign that your pronunciation is not good, or that you don’t feel comfortable with the grammar and you would like to avoid using some words (such as prepositions or articles) and you think that speaking fast would avoid you using them.
You should be pausing before you speak and in the middle of your speech.
Pausing is one of the best things you can do when you are in a speaking situation. It is powerful to pause at the beginning and midway of your speech.
Here are the reasons why:
- Pausing gives you time to think
- Pausing helps you use effective phrasing – that means using chunks and pauses in the right place
- Pausing builds trust with the listener
For example, if I asked you the question:
- Wat géift Dir maachen, wann Dir am Lotto gewannt?
You might answer by saying
- Wann ech am Lotto gewannen, da kafen ech mir eng schéi Villa mat Schwämm a Spuenien a verbréngen de ganze Wanter dohannen.
Let’s try to improve that: If we break it into chunks it might look like the next example below, with a pause at end of each chunk:
- Wann ech am Lotto gewannen – pause
- da kafen ech mir eng schéi Villa mat Schwämm – pause
- a – pause
- verbréngen de ganze Wanter dohannen.
The pause at the beginning is very powerful because it tells the listener that you are paying attention. It helps build trust and respect with the listener whether it’s a friend, a colleague, or an examiner in a speaking test.
Communication Tip #2: Emphasis
Emphasis allows your listeners’ attention to fall on the most important part of your speech. By using stress, you can convey and emphasise your message more effectively.
But you need to think about stressing the right
You can do this by using adverbs for example. Adverbs really help you emphasise the meaning of something
- Wann ech Suen hätt, géif ech bestëmmt eng schéi Villa a Spuenien kafen.
Using the adverb bestëmmt you are conveying the meaning without doubt, for sure. Or a synonym of bestëmmt is sécher:
- Wann ech Suen hätt, géif ech sécher eng schéi Villa a Spuenien kafen.
or another example to put emphasize
- Wann ech Suen hätt, géif ech natierlech eng schéi Villa a Spuenien kafen.
Communication Tip #3: Speak clearly
Remember to enunciate your words when you speak so that your listeners can understand you. Open your mouth and speak up!
It’s like a bit of exercising muscles in the gym, so don’t mumble and let your voice be heard.
One of the most effective methods to improve your communication skill is to over-exaggerate when you practice. Practice doing this in front of a mirror and watch your mouth as you speak and enunciate the words.
Let’s try it out with the sentence we just used. Watch my mouth and try it out yourself – it can be great fun!
When you’re practicing at home go a bit over the top and then when you’re in conversation you’ll speak more naturally.
FROM ZERO TO SPROOCHENTEST
is a complete and proven step-by-step program that helps you successfully take the language exam to acquire Luxembourgish citizenship in just 6 months!
Communication Tip #4 : Simplicity
There are many differences between spoken and written Luxembourgish.
These differences include:
- Simpler language
Spoken Luxembourgish is generally simpler. And has more repetition – which is logical. Because when you’re writing, you can read things again and again. You don’t need to repeat those words.
But when you’re speaking words disappear, people forget or did not catch what you’ve just said. So you need to repeat things. Often in a slightly different way, BUT with a lot of repetition.
So the idea of keeping language simpler is an important one when communicating effectively.
Let’s take our sentence we used before in this lesson:
- Wann ech am Lotto gewannen, kafen ech mir e aristokratescht Härenhaus mat enger wonnerschéiner Piscine matzen an engem majesté a Spuenien.
Wann ech am Lotto gewannen,
kafen ech mir e grousst Haus mat Schwämm
en aristokratescht Härenhaus mat enger wonnerschéiner Piscine sounds a bit poetic whilee grousst Haus mat Schwämmis more natural.
Now maybe you’ll lile to show off in your next conversation and you look up for nice words in the dictionary, but that aren’t always the words used in spoken language
A native speaker wouldn’t use the poetic words in spoken language – that doesn’t sound natural. So avoid looking up better synonyms if you would like to communicate effectively.
Here is a tip for you as a learner: When you learn to speak Luxembourgish LISTEN to your audience, and pay more attention to the words/language they use.
Now you can see the importance of simplicity in spoken Luxembourgish.
Now I hear you asking. but Anne in Sproochentest Oral Exam we need to show off our range of vocabulary, right? Yes and no. There is nothing in the evaluation criteria about complex vocabulary. You are supposed to have a wide enough vocabulary range to discuss a variety of topics and make meaning clear. Use the right words in the right place.
Simplicity helps you communicate effectively!
Communication Tip #5: Communicating ideas
Communication is about getting your idea across. It’s not about speaking perfect Luxembourgish.
In order to communicate an idea, you need to have an idea to communicate.
If you don’t have any ideas, then you have nothing to communicate!
And this is a common problem for many students, who ask me Anne
“What do I do in the oral exam if I have no idea about the topic?”
To overcome this problem I recommend that you BECOME an avid reader, watch interesting and varied things (get links about interesting resources in this lesson)
As part of your practice, ask yourself this question everyday:
- Wat ass Är Meenung iwwer …? – What do you think of …
- eleng an de Kino goen
- Fastfood iessen
- den Handy wärend dem Iessen benotzen
- Vakanz doheem maachen
- Schoul doheem
- vun doheem aus schaffen
- méi wéi 3 Sprooche schwätzen
Answer questions like this every day, make it a habit.
You can also make flashcards (little cards) or using software to create your own online flashcards, one card a day then practice your Luxembourgish fluency.
And if you can’t find an answer, go and read something that can help me get some ideas about it.
Communication Tip #6: Copy others
The last tip I have for you to improve your communication skills in Luxembourgish is to copy others.
Spend some time watching great speakers (for example on rtl.lu), observe how they communicate, and try to imitate everything.
- Emphasis – volume
- Simplicity of language
- Body language
- Key ideas
Take 2 or 3 of their sentences and mimic them. Record yourself until you sound and look just like them!
Why does ‘imitating actors’ work?
- Identity is a key part of language speaking.
- When you ‘pretend’ to be someone else, it is sometimes easier to pick up the right pronunciation and intonation.
- You stop being you, and become someone else.
All of this helps to improve your Communication Skills. But wait, there’s more! I have a bonus tip for you.
The most powerful question great communicators use!
- Wat mengt Dir domat? – What do you mean exactly?
Makes the other person think you are interested in them and their ideas.
It’s also a question you can ask the examiner in the Sproochentest Speaking test if you don’t fully understand the question.
I hope this helps you see that good communication is not just about good Luxembourgish. There’s so much more to it.
Communication in Luxembourgish is a skill you need to develop, so keep practicing and improve your communication skills in Luxembourgish today.