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Old 09-23-2018, 02:13 PM
Location: The Heart of Dixie
10,214 posts, read 15,917,484 times
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Think this would be an interesting topic. All the welcome signs to the state are bilingual in French (Bienvenue a Louisiane) and there's some French phrases in tourist materials sometimes like about the "bon temps". At least South Louisiana has a lot of French and Cajun French heritage. But how prevalent is French where y'all live?

I spent the first 12 years of my life in Metairie and now live in Livingston Parish though I work a lot in Baton Rouge and spend a lot of time there.

I've never heard French spoken anywhere in the Baton Rouge area, not a single time. When visiting the New Orleans area, I've only heard it from French tourists on a French language tour, not by any of the locals.

I've been to Lafayette just a few times and though that's supposed to be the heart of Cajun country I actually never hard any locals speaking Cajun French, only a tour guide in Vermillionville talking to tourists from France. Same goes for Henderson.

Alexandria/Pineville - never

The only time I've actually heard French spoken in Louisiana by locals was in Lake Charles, and both times it was at the waterfront park on Prien Lake. So I guess nowadays besides Lake Charles you have to go deep into the rural areas to hear any French?

Across the state I hear more Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese being spoken than French.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:21 PM
Location: southern california
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Patois is spoken in south east Louisiana but educated people there can speak Parisian French
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Old 09-23-2018, 08:43 PM
Location: Lafayette, La
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At work sometimes I hear some slang spoken but those workers are from west of Lafayette. Youre more likely to hear it out in Eunice or ville platte or south of Lafayette in the swamp parishes
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:18 AM
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SWLA here. Hear it every once in a while. I picked up some words when younger. Still say them to this day. Few curse words too hahaha.

My grandparents spoke it fluently. My grandfather used to play in Cajun French bands.

I'm one of those people that wish I could go back and learn Cajun French.

Every now and then I'll listen to an album that my grandfather made. Also on the weekends, I'll ride around listening to 101.1. Especially when it's cold and cooking a gumbo or something outside.

One thing I don't care for is Zydecho. Or that "newer" Cajun music. Give me some Balfa Bros, Iry LeJeune, Nathan Abshire, DL Menard.....
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Old 09-24-2018, 05:49 AM
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Cajun French music is often played at McNeese Football tailgate parties in Lake Charles and is often heard in many Catholic churches in the area too.
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Old 09-24-2018, 09:35 AM
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The Vacherie area is the only place I can think of. Or, does listening to Vernon Roger on TV as a kid count?
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Old 09-24-2018, 11:52 AM
Location: Louisiana to Houston to Denver to NOVA
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Only around Lafayette.
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Old 09-24-2018, 06:52 PM
Location: Canada
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I thought no one spoke French at all anymore. In what towns do they still speak French?
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Old 09-25-2018, 01:12 AM
Location: USA
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I knew these two Cajun ladies (elderly) who spoke a broken French. They would often finish the sentence in English. That was in the 1980s in a small town called Cecilia, not far from Lafayette.
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Old 09-25-2018, 05:48 PM
Location: New Orleans
1,554 posts, read 3,033,238 times
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My grandmother pretty much only speaks French with friends from her generation (from Abbeville). She never learned to read and write it but in terms of speaking, it´s her first language without a doubt. I can understand more or less; I love when one of her friends calls and she starts laughing, it´s like even though she gets jokes in English, that Cajun sense of humor is what really has her rolling.

English-only education took hold way early on, and apparently during WW2 the powers that be started to question Cajuns about how ¨American¨ they really were if French got equal attention at home. The irony of this of course is that all the Acadiana boys were highly coveted by the military to act as informal translators when the Allies landed in France, and they were often moved around to ensure that enough platoons could get a French speaker around if needed. It´s hard to compare the standard Parisian to what Cajun French sounded like. Was it like the difference between Shakespearean English and modern day English? Was it like Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese? Hard to tell. I know Cajun French is archaic in many ways, but that words from Spanish, African and Indigenous languages crept in as well. All I know is the men in my family who served told me that the peasants in the countryside of France adored them, the GIs from Iowa or wherever would get the Cajun boys to go knock on doors to get water or bread and they´d come back an hour later with a bottle of wine, a hunk of cheese and whatever else the farm produced, ha! When they got to big cities like Paris is when people started to belittle their dialect and coin the insult ¨coonass¨ upon us.

People were ashamed to rep their Cajun roots until maybe about the 1980´s, so my mom didn´t learn it at home. In fact, my grandparents´ generation used to switch to French if they didn´t want their kids to understand everything they were saying. My aunt spent more time at my great-grandmother´s house, and that was French only, no exceptions. I am so thankful for passing time there as a kid, it helped me become a sponge for languages in general.

I guess you could say the efforts to suppress the language (this includes hitting kids who conversed in French in class) certainly worked, since it´s limited to a generation that won´t be here much longer. However, organizations like CODOFIL at least are supplanting modern-day French into Acadian society, and I know that French immersion is very popular in school districts like Lafayette. I know that being exposed to it at least helped me a ton with French class.
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