Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Overcoming the fear of speaking another language

“Each year thousands of people learn Luxembourgish in the Grand Duchy. But for those who do not have Luxembourgish friends or colleagues, they can easily find themselves tongue-tied when it comes to speaking. 

Help is at hand in Luxembourg, however, where a number of initiatives including theatre, tandems and language cafés are gaining in popularity. 

Anola Bracaj of ‘Projet Ensemble’ perfected her Luxembourgish through a tandem with a Luxembourgish woman. ‘I began a tandem with an old woman who really helped me a lot,’ she said, adding: ‘It’s about not being afraid to speak, then everything else comes together automatically.’

Ms Bracaj now coordinates a tandem in Dudelange with Projet Ensemble. Every Tuesday from October to May, speakers of different languages meet in pairs and use free course materials as prompts for conversations. ‘We know that people when they reach a certain level will quit classes because they feel they cannot learn any more and just want to speak,’ Ms Bracaj said. 

The project has been running for two years and organisers have noticed participants are taking the initiative to meet up at other times and work independently using the materials provided.”

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Languages do matter!


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