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Old 01-27-2019, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Canada
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I know French is spoken in a few places. Do these places share a similar accent? What are some of the differences? I know there is also Patois spoken in Haiti. What about other places? Can a French speaker from France or Quebec understand them easily enough>?
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Old 01-27-2019, 09:40 AM
 
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Guadeloupe is French speaking and is full of Canadian French speaking tourists. They seem to have no problem and what little French I understood and spoke was adequate, so... I would assume the same would be true of neighboring Martinique.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:50 AM
 
Location: DC metropolitan area
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I used to be a language fanatic, so I'll take a *stab* (pardon the metaphor) at this.

I lived on St Lucia, which is immediately to the south of Martinique. French is no longer spoken on St Lucia, but a French-based Creole is. St Lucians actually call it Patois, as you do, OP, or commonly "broken French".

St Lucia is a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and for the past three+ decades France has maintained a mission on the island to train St Lucian teachers to teach French in the primary and secondary schools. However, I never met a St Lucian who could speak good French, unless they were originally from Martinique or had lived some time on Martinique.

I grew up on working-class/lumberjack, uneducated Canuck French in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, but took many undergraduate and graduate courses in French so now I'm *refined*. To my ear, when I was there (years ago) Martinicans' French sounded similar to Metropolitan French (French of France), with some differences in intonation and phonetics, depending on the speaker. However, when I hear a Haitian speaking French, they sound Haitian (African) to me almost invariably. French is now by far the most common first language in Martinique, but for most Haitians it is a second or even foreign language. In terms of the place of Creole versus French, Guadeloupe is probably between Martinique and Haiti, but closer to Martinique. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe are beautiful places. I've never been to Haiti.

There's a tiny island called Saint Barthélemy that has a lot of white (European-descended) people living there. I've never been there, but they likely have their own speech patterns, too. I read once that Acadians from Canada settled there after the Grand Dérangement. In 2003, islanders voted in referendum to break away from their tutelage under Guadeloupe and now report directly to Paris.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:39 AM
 
Location: The Heart of Dixie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ner View Post
I used to be a language fanatic, so I'll take a *stab* (pardon the metaphor) at this.

I lived on St Lucia, which is immediately to the south of Martinique. French is no longer spoken on St Lucia, but a French-based Creole is. St Lucians actually call it Patois, as you do, OP, or commonly "broken French".

St Lucia is a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and for the past three+ decades France has maintained a mission on the island to train St Lucian teachers to teach French in the primary and secondary schools. However, I never met a St Lucian who could speak good French, unless they were originally from Martinique or had lived some time on Martinique.

I grew up on working-class/lumberjack, uneducated Canuck French in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, but took many undergraduate and graduate courses in French so now I'm *refined*. To my ear, when I was there (years ago) Martinicans' French sounded similar to Metropolitan French (French of France), with some differences in intonation and phonetics, depending on the speaker. However, when I hear a Haitian speaking French, they sound Haitian (African) to me almost invariably. French is now by far the most common first language in Martinique, but for most Haitians it is a second or even foreign language. In terms of the place of Creole versus French, Guadeloupe is probably between Martinique and Haiti, but closer to Martinique. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe are beautiful places. I've never been to Haiti.

There's a tiny island called Saint Barthélemy that has a lot of white (European-descended) people living there. I've never been there, but they likely have their own speech patterns, too. I read once that Acadians from Canada settled there after the Grand Dérangement. In 2003, islanders voted in referendum to break away from their tutelage under Guadeloupe and now report directly to Paris.
There are some who love claiming South Louisiana is an extension of the Caribbean. While I disagree with that in a modern day context, its interesting how you mention the Acadians in New England since some of the older Cajuns here are very proud of their Cajun French dialect. A few decades ago there was an effort to revitalize French in South Louisiana and they brought in teachers from France who really looked down on Cajun French. Most Cajuns identity specifically with Cajun French and not with France itself. Cajun French IS mutually intelligible with European French.
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Old 01-28-2019, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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I can contribute to this, being Cajun myself. The true answer? It´s more complicated than people realize. Yes, as previously said, when we were all expelled from Canada by the British, some of us settled in the Caribbean. We generally didn´t do too well in the Sugar Islands, but we didn´t exactly adapt to life back in France either. When we looked into the story of my family, we discovered that a good chunk of our French-speaking relatives first went to Cuba (obviously still a Spanish colony at that point) before settling in Louisiana. The Spanish Crown was very kind to us in general; people don´t always realize that when the Cajuns settled in southwest Louisiana, it was in fact in Spanish hands. I know plenty of latino-looking Cajuns with French last names, and very pasty white people in that region with Spanish last names like Nunez (it lost the ñ over time), Miguez and Romero. This is a result of both intermarriage as well as some families deciding to adopt last names from the other country out of respect. New Iberia was founded by Analucians and many Canary Islanders settled in Louisiana as well.

The Cajun dialect is both archaic as well as bastardized. Old words were sometimes kept around long after the language envolved in places like Paris and even Québec, for example the word for car in Cajun French is chariot (carriage). We sometimes adopted indigenous, Spanish, English or African words, presumably when new things around out that had no equivalent in France or Canada were around.

My great uncles were split up prior to D-Day and distributed into different platoons to basically serve as informal translators during the liberation of France. Most Cajuns originally came from Normandy and northern France in general, and they were received quite well in the countryside. The long separation resulted in some struggles to communicate from time to time, but there wasn´t a serious issue. The warm welcome went cold in cities like Paris, where people essentially told them they spoke the ugliest French they´d ever heard!

Many Haitians of all colors immigrated to Louisiana during the slave uprisings, but I´m afraid I don´t know enough of their story to say much about it.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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Compared to 2ner I am more of an armchair linguistic scholar, but I'll weigh in on a few things.


I am originally an Acadian from the Canadian Maritimes, and a native French speaker though I did much of my schooling in English. I've lived in Quebec in a very predominantly French environment for quite a few years.


I find that when I've spoken to Cajuns from Louisiana it isn't too hard for me to understand their French. That's probably due to a lot of their slang or colloquialisms being similar in origins to ours; even if in our case many of them have faded into disuse, I can still get the meaning. Also I speak English well enough to decipher any of the anglicisms that pepper their French.


My impression is that someone from France would not have it so easy understanding Louisiana Cajun French, compared to me.


In our cases (Louisiana vs. Quebec/Acadia) the colloquial varieties of our languages are truly long lost distant cousins.
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Old 01-28-2019, 12:29 PM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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As for the Caribbean islands, a good rule of thumb is that the more *official* the status of the French language is, the easier it will be for French speakers to communicate with locals in French.


So im places that are actually administratively associated with France like Guadeloupe, Martinique, St-Barthélémy and St-Martin, it won't be much more difficult to communicate than it is in France.


Haiti is a bit different in that the people's main language is Haitian Creole which is recognized as its own language. As a French-based creole, it can be deciphered to some degree by French-only speakers, especially in its written form. While the majority of Haiti's population speaks limited to no French, anyone with some degree of education can get by in the language, and if you deal with cops, hotel staff, taxi drivers, and even to a decent degree shopkeepers and waiters, they'll generally speak at least some French.


Islands that have a history with French (Grenada, Dominica, St. Lucia, etc.) but where it hasn't had any official status or use for generations, would be the most difficult place to use your French down there. As has been stated the local informal language is referred to as patois, and while it is French-derived it has usually evolved on its own and away from the standardization that officialdom brings. Though I gather that people from Martinique and Guadeloupe can communicate with them in patois. Similar to how I can communicate with the Cajuns, given that our colloquial speech has common roots.
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Old 01-28-2019, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post

I find that when I've spoken to Cajuns from Louisiana it isn't too hard for me to understand their French. That's probably due to a lot of their slang or colloquialisms being similar in origins to ours; even if in our case many of them have faded into disuse, I can still get the meaning. Also I speak English well enough to decipher any of the anglicisms that pepper their French.


My impression is that someone from France would not have it so easy understanding Louisiana Cajun French, compared to me.


In our cases (Louisiana vs. Quebec/Acadia) the colloquial varieties of our languages are truly long lost distant cousins.
I need to get up to French Canada, and not just Québec province, but all of it. My Spanish far exceeds my French these days, but I still have an ear for French and teach a French I elective at my school in Colombia. What I wanted to add, which directly corresponds to what you have said, is that listening to a video of French speakers in New Brunswick took me back to my relatives´ houses in Acadiana for sure (southwest Louisiana). For one, I feel like we both speak in a much more nasal way than in France, or is it just me? I agree with you that I think Canada and Louisiana can understand each other easier than we can French speakers from across the pond. Cheers.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,811 posts, read 4,433,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ner View Post
I used to be a language fanatic, so I'll take a *stab* (pardon the metaphor) at this.

I lived on St Lucia, which is immediately to the south of Martinique. French is no longer spoken on St Lucia, but a French-based Creole is. St Lucians actually call it Patois, as you do, OP, or commonly "broken French".
Interesting. I got confused. I meant to say Creole. I will have to look up some of the St lucian Creolo.

St Lucia is a member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and for the past three+ decades France has maintained a mission on the island to train St Lucian teachers to teach French in the primary and secondary schools. However, I never met a St Lucian who could speak good French, unless they were originally from Martinique or had lived some time on Martinique.

Quote:
I grew up on working-class/lumberjack, uneducated Canuck French in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, but took many undergraduate and graduate courses in French so now I'm *refined*
.

Is that closer to Quebec or New Brunswick. Are there any French speaking Acadians communites in Maine?


Quote:
To my ear, when I was there (years ago) Martinicans' French sounded similar to Metropolitan French (French of France), with some differences in intonation and phonetics, depending on the speaker. However, when I hear a Haitian speaking French, they sound Haitian (African) to me almost invariably. French is now by far the most common first language in Martinique, but for most Haitians it is a second or even foreign language. In terms of the place of Creole versus French, Guadeloupe is probably between Martinique and Haiti, but closer to Martinique. Both Martinique and Guadeloupe are beautiful places. I've never been to Haiti.
I was under the impression French was more wide spread in Haiti.

There's a tiny island called Saint Barthélemy that has a lot of white (European-descended) people living there. I've never been there, but they likely have their own speech patterns, too. I read once that Acadians from Canada settled there after the Grand Dérangement. In 2003, islanders voted in referendum to break away from their tutelage under Guadeloupe and now report directly to Paris.[/quote]

Interesting. Thanks for the reply.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Canada
4,811 posts, read 4,433,356 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lennox 70 View Post
There are some who love claiming South Louisiana is an extension of the Caribbean. While I disagree with that in a modern day context, its interesting how you mention the Acadians in New England since some of the older Cajuns here are very proud of their Cajun French dialect. A few decades ago there was an effort to revitalize French in South Louisiana and they brought in teachers from France who really looked down on Cajun French. Most Cajuns identity specifically with Cajun French and not with France itself. Cajun French IS mutually intelligible with European French.
I hope their efforts to revitalize Cajun French works out.
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