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Luxembourgish Lessons #20: The Pluperfect Tense

Welcome to number twenty of the Luxembourgish lessons, which will be discussing how to use and form pluperfect tense verbs.

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The pluperfect tense details events in the way-back past to a time that happened in the past and ended in the past, translated as "had + past participle" (ex. I had walked).

Forming the Pluperfect Tense

Forming the pluperfect tense is almost identical to forming the perfect tense, with one exception. The pluperfect tense is formed by combining a verb's past participle, but this time with an imperfect conjugated form of either hunn (to have) or sinn (to be) (haten and waren respectively). Again, most verbs will take the auxiliary verb hunn, with sinn usually reserved for intransitive verbs (verbs that do not take a direct object).

I've already talked about forming past participles in the previous lesson, but to quickly sum up, many (if not most) verbs will take the prefix ge- while changing the vowel of the stem verb or the whole stem whatsoever (ex. huelen "to take" -> geholl "taken").

There are some exceptions to this rule, including:

  • Verbs that already begin with "ge-" (ex. gewannen "to win" -> gewonnen)
  • Verbs that change their stem without attaching the "ge-" prefix (ex. bleiwen "to stay" -> bliwwen)
  • Verbs with inseparable prefixes (ex. verëffentlechen "to publish" -> verëffentlecht)
  • Verbs that are flat out irregular (ex. sinn "to be" -> gewiescht)
  • Verbs that do not change whatsoever (ex. ginn "to give" -> ginn)

Separable prefixes on verbs will have the prefix moved to the beginning, followed by the ge- prefix (ex. undeiten "to suggest" -> ugedeit "suggested"). Keep in mind that separable prefixes are still affected by the Eifel rule.

Below are a few examples of how the pluperfect tense is formed:

drénken - to drink

lafen - to run

For reference, check out lod.lu for full verb conjugations.

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February 7, 2017


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