How To Speak Cajun French – Two languages related to French, both endangered, are still spoken in Louisiana today. One is a type of regional French that developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through contact between francophones of various origins, including the French, Quebecois, Acadians, and Haitians, and was further influenced by contact with American Indians, Africans slaves, Spanish colonists, and Americans. European origin. The second is the French Creole language, which emerged mainly from contact between French and African colonists on plantations in Louisiana; It is reminiscent of other French creole languages of the world, especially Haitian. Although different labels are sometimes applied to these linguistic varieties in Louisiana, the former is often called “Cajun” and the latter is usually called “Creole”. However, these language labels, or glossonyms, are ambiguous and sometimes cause confusion about who speaks what in French-speaking Louisiana. Take, for example, the ambiguity surrounding the label “Cajun.”
When used colloquially, the term “Cajun” is problematic because of the close association it creates between Cajun French and the ethnic group also known as Cajuns. While the language is spoken mostly by people who identify this way, many self-identified Creoles (usually people of color) and American Indians also speak a French language that is similar, if not identical, to the their Cajun neighbors, but sometimes avoid calling him what They speak “Cajun” because of their ethnicity. This is less common among Native Americans than among Creoles of color, as many self-identified Native Americans also claim Cajun ethnicity and are therefore less hesitant to call their language “Cajun” (although the the term “French” is also common among Francophone Indians, and more recently some have begun to use the label ‘French Indian’).
How To Speak Cajun French
Another reason “Cajun” is problematic as a glossonym is the common misconception that the Cajuns are the descendants of Acadian settlers driven from their homeland by the British in 1755, and that the French they speak of later are descendants direct. The Acadian French were taken with them into exile in Louisiana. In fact, the history and ancestry of the Cajuns and their language is much more complex. As the historian Carl Brasseau has shown, the Acadian settlers in the nineteenth century assimilated many members of other groups, who at the same time spoke English.
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(as they were called by the French-speaking population of Louisiana) began to use the ethnonym Cajun to refer generally to poor, rural, French-speaking whites, regardless of origin.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the word Cajun, which was previously used as an insult, was used with pride and increasingly to sell cultural goods.
This semantic expansion and rehabilitation of the Cajun label explains why Avoille Parish, which was not the site of an Acadian settlement, today calls itself the “Cajun Crossroads” and why the Parish of ‘ Evangeline, whose French-speaking population comes mostly from France and Quebec, rather than Acadia. , named after Longfellow’s Acadian heroine. Like the people called Cajuns, the French “Cajun” has many sources, only one of which is the French brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. To avoid associating the language with a particular ethnic group or implying that it has a specifically Acadian origin, some linguists prefer the more neutral term Louisiana Regional French, or simply Louisiana French.
In a future column, we will look at the label “Creole,” another example of how mixing ethnonyms and terms can lead to uncertainty and confusion.
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Thomas A. Klingler is the Richard V. and Ceola Arno Edwards Professor of French at Tulane University, where he teaches courses in French and linguistics. He is the author
Curious Corners of Regional Identity South Louisiana’s vast local music scene—including various forms of Cajun music, zydeco, swamp pop, Crescent City R&B, and New Orleans jazz—can sometimes be confusing to its fans. Want to brush up on your Cajun French or maybe learn from scratch? There’s an app for that.
In 1921, a new Louisiana constitution was passed that unfortunately targeted the Cajun culture, prohibiting any teaching of the French language in all public schools.
According to Wikipedia “In 2011, there were approximately 150,000 to 200,000 people in Louisiana who spoke French. By comparison, there were approximately one million native French speakers in Louisiana around 1968.”
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Fortunately, the Council for the Development of the French Language in Louisiana, or CODOFIL, was created in 1968 to preserve the French language and culture.
Fast forward to the age of smartphones and now we have apps to help you learn Cajun French.
Developed by Luke Romero, the LearnCajun app has continued to improve over the past few years and now includes twice as many Cajun words and phrases as its initial release.
“In an effort to preserve the Cajun language, we recorded family members, friends and ourselves saying random words in Cajun French. We took those recordings and made them easily accessible through this app.”
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The LearnCajn app seems to do a great job of teaching Cajun French. It currently has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
This app is described as “Beginner Cajun French is a simple and straightforward Cajun language learning app designed as an introduction for beginners and enthusiasts.”
The only problem users seem to have with this Cajun French app is that it doesn’t include audio pronunciation like the LearnCajn app does.
Iconic (and sometimes silly) toys, technology and electronics have been usurped since their big debut, either by advances in technology or advances in common sense. See how many things on this list bring back childhood memories—and which ones were here and gone so quickly that you’ve completely lost sight of them. How to Speak Cajun Try some new Cajun expressions! You’ll look like a local in no time.
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Century to describe the Acadian people of Louisiana. The Acadians were descendants of French Canadians who settled in southern Louisiana and the Lafayette region of the state. They spoke a form of French, and today the Cajun language is still widely spoken. The Cajuns greatly influenced the culture of Louisiana, bringing different cuisines, musical styles and dialects to the region.
You have to experience the Cajun lifestyle and culture for yourself, which includes trying out some new phrases for yourself! Come down to Louisiana and spend some time enjoying the diversity of the Cajun Center of South Louisiana and maybe even try a word or two of Cajun. Check out the quick guide to Cajun idioms below and learn to speak Cajun French. When using the pronunciation guide, (n) represents a nasal vowel.
Cher [sha]: A term of endearment usually used for women, equivalent to “dear” or “sweet.” “Would you like another cup of coffee, Cher?”
Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon): A rich, spicy tomato-based soup or stew made with fish fillets, onions, and sometimes mixed vegetables.
Big French Dance By Ron Stanford — Kickstarter
Craving [ah(n)-vee] Craving or hunger to do or eat something. Other Southerners may use the word “will” where the Cajun uses “jealousy.” “I envy some boudins.”
Fais do-do [fay doe-doe]: Cajun dance party. (Also an expression used by adults when they want children to sleep.) “Do you want to see you at the fair?”
Gris-gris [gree-gree] To curse someone. It is often used in jest rather than in relation to actual black magic. “My grandma got so mad when I ate her pie, she spilled bacon on me.”
Honte [hont]: ashamed or embarrassed. “I drank too much and fell into the beach, boy was he right!”
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Laissez les bons temps rouler [Lay say lay boh(n) toh(n) roo lay]: Let the good times roll. With more than 400 festivals each year, these words sum up Louisiana’s fun-loving nature.
Ti (masculine) or ‘Tee (feminine) [tee or teet]: Cajun equivalent to “smaller”, but placed before the name, not after. “I had dinner with John and his son T-Jin.”
Veiller [vay-yay]: spend the evening chatting with friends. The Cajun equivalent of “shoot the breeze.” “He was celebrating with all his friends on the porch”
It’s not that hard now, you know, right? Then dive in and learn about the catchy rhythm of Cajun music. Now, when you go to Fais-Do-Do, you will feel at home!
Sounds Like . . . Cajun Country
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