(Historical) Word Formation of the Mosel-Frankish-Luxembourg Region (WBLUX)

Tandem project

Project leader and staff: Heinz Sieburg, Peter Gilles, Britta Weimann (and others)
Duration: 2009-2011 and 2013-2017

Despite the existence of a written tradition in the Moselle-Franconian-Luxembourg language area since the early Middle Ages, there is still no scientifically appropriate description of this area, which is extremely interesting in terms of language history and linguistics. This applies both to the diachronic development of recent Luxembourgish and to its Moselle-Franconian precursor. The aim of the project is to close this research gap at least to some extent by focusing on one of the most important and most topical subject areas, i.e. word formation.

Using a corpus analysis, the project will examine Luxembourgish (as a linguistic variety from the 19th century onwards) and the Mosel-Frankish of the old Luxembourgish region as its precursor variety. A two-phase model suffices for this purpose. Phase 1 will cover the medieval and early-modern preconditions; phase 2, modern developments since the creation of the national language. The project’s objectives require interdisciplinary cooperation from the outset between German studies (phase 1) and Luxembourg studies (phase 2).

Precisely because of its intermediate position between morphology and syntax, and the conspicuous affinity of the German language for word formation, research on word formation has become one of the most innovative and intensively used linguistic research fields within German studies in recent decades. The ‘word formation boom’ thus triggered concentrated initially on synchronic word formation in the present language, but has increasingly extended to diachronic research for some time now.

The present study is based on the concepts developed here. Its results are also intended to be part of an overall language history of Luxembourgish that has yet to be written.