Cajun French

From Academic Kids

Cajun French is a dialect of the French language, spoken primarily in the American state of Louisiana. It is derived from another French dialect, Acadian, which is spoken in the state of Maine and in Canada's Maritime Provinces.

There is a lot of debate on whether the cajun language will survive another generation. The number of people who speak Cajun has declined dramatically over the last 50 years. Many grandparents purposely did not teach their children the Cajun language so that the children would have a better life in an English speaking nation. However, many of these same grandparents are finding out that their grandchildren are researching and trying to learn the language. A lot of the interest among the younger generation is due to the Cajun music. Cajun music is still popular and is sung almost entirely in Cajun French. Many young adults are learning enough Cajun to understand the Cajun music lyrics ( Also, there is now a trend to use the Cajun language web sites ( to learn the dialect. Undoubtedly there will be some of the language around for the next generation, but whether many people can carry on a full conversation in it is still an uncertain question.

The deportation of about 75% of Acadian population living in the province of Nova Scotia in 1755, during the French and Indian War, caused many of them to resettle in Louisiana, thereby establishing the language there. Through Acadian, Cajun is ultimately descended from the dialects of Anjou and Poitou (see Poitevin-Saintongeais). This heritage has left a few archaic words in the dialect : for example, crevette (shrimp) is said chevrette.

The term Cajun is derived from the English pronunciation of the French word Acadien. Some cajuns call themselmes cadiens, which doesn't derive from the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation. The primary region where Cajun French is spoken is called Acadiana (not to be confused with Acadia, which refers to the region where Acadian French is spoken). Cajun areas of Louisiana sometimes form partnerships with Acadians in Canada who send French teachers to teach the language in schools.

Many residents of Acadiana are bilingual, having learned French at home and English in school. In recent years the number of speakers of Cajun French has diminished considerably, but efforts are being made to reintroduce the language in schools. The Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) was established during the late 1960s to promote the preservation of French language and culture in Louisiana.

In 1984, a Catholic priest named Father Jules O. Daigle published A Dictionary of the Cajun Language (, the first dictionary devoted to Cajun French. It is generally considered the authority on the language, though it is not exhaustive and does not contain some alternate spellings and synonyms which Father Daigle deemed "perversions" of the language, that are nonetheless popular among Cajun speakers and writers.

Differences from standard French

Template:IPA notice Cajun differs in some areas of pronunciation and vocabulary from the accepted standard of Parisian French. In some cases these are differences that are retained from the western langues d'oïl from which Cajun is descended.

Over the years, Cajun French speakers have incorporated many anglicisms (such as truck) directly into the language instead of adopting the neologisms of the Académie française. This can be disconcerting to non-natives.

The majority of Cajun speakers have never been instructed in modern French orthography; as a result, much written Cajun has non-standard or anglicised spelling. E.g. Cajun Les le bon ton rouller for standard Laisse le bon temps rouler.

See also

External links

Dialects of the French language

France French (français méridional, Orléanais, Bourbonnais-Berrichon) – Canadian French (Acadian, Quebec) – African French (Maghreb)

Belgian FrenchCajun FrenchCambodian French

français d'AosteSwiss French

de:Cajun (Sprache)

fr:Français cajun nl:Cajun Frans


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