Multi-lingual melting pot

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 June, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 June, 1998, 12:00am

Geography gives Luxembourg a huge advantage in today's Europe where borders have become increasingly meaningless.

Living at a continental cross-roads surrounded by France, Germany and Belgium has created a multi-lingual nation.

Most Luxembourgers speak four languages; some are fluent in six or seven.

Meanwhile, the Grand Duchy's expatriates - representing companies from more than 60 countries and accounting for one- third of the population - contribute further to the linguistic melting pot.

Luxembourgers grow up learning the Germanic language, Luxembourgish, at home. At primary school, they quickly tackle German, followed by French. At secondary school, they are taught English.

A recent survey by the Eurobarometer research group found that Luxembourgers were Europe's most confident speakers in foreign languages and the most accomplished in French and German.

But multi-lingualism brings more benefits than simply getting on with neighbours. It gives firms in Luxembourg a distinct advantage when dealing with customers from different parts of Europe.


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