Francophile Louisiana

Clai Rice cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU
Wed Jun 11 15:22:18 UTC 2003

Here at U. Louisiana at Lafayette (used to be Southwestern Louisiana) we
have an active Francophone Studies program, with some activity on Cajun
French.  Debbie Clifton offers courses in both Cajun French and Louisiana
Creole; Dominique Ryon has a long term project, Corpus Valifloui
(, to
digitize and mark up our extensive holdings of field interviews done by
Barry Ancelet, Alan Lomax, and others.

Along different lines, Journal of English Linguistics just published an
article by Sylvie Dubois and Barbara M. Horvath, Verbal Morphology in Cajun
Vernacular English.  Sylvie is at LSU, and has been working on both Cajun-
and Creole-influenced varieties of English.  In this article, as elsewhere,
she states her belief that Cajun is rapidly vanishing; there are no
monolingual speakers of Cajun left, and efforts to maintain or revive the
language, by providing full-immersion French programs in the public schools
for example, are standardizing Cajun toward literate French.

As far as I can tell, she is correct about the monolingual speakers.
Long-time residents that I have asked about monolingual Cajun speakers
uniformly tell me that there haven't been any for a while.  However, in
classes this year I had at least 10 students who claimed that their families
spoke exclusively "French" at home.  So maybe there is some chance that the
destigmatization of the variety, which is recent and still not complete,
might allow its survival.

Clai Rice

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Goodrow [mailto:richard20009 at HOTMAIL.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2003 8:33 AM
Subject: Francophile Louisiana

Does the Louisiana French ("Cajun" or Acadian) have a chance of surviving?
It seems many make efforts towards saving and preserving this language, but
it may not be enough. Does anyone have experience or insight in this region?


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