The Info List - Louisiana Creole

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Creole (kréyol la lwizyàn; French: créole louisianais) is a French-based creole language spoken by far fewer than 10,000 people, mostly in the state of Louisiana.[3] Due to the rapidly shrinking number of speakers, Louisiana
Creole is considered an endangered language.[4]


1 Origins 2 Language shift, endangerment and revitalization 3 Geographic distribution 4 Grammar

4.1 Personal pronouns [16]

5 Vocabulary

5.1 Numbers 5.2 Greetings 5.3 The Lord's Prayer

6 Phonology

6.1 Consonants 6.2 Vowels

7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Origins[edit] Louisiana
Creole was spoken initially by those living in the French slave colony of Louisiana. Many of the enslaved Africans came from Senegambia region of West Africa beginning in about 1719. These people originally spoke a Mande language related to Manlike and they were in contact with other languages such as Ewe, Yoruba and Kikongo. [5] Louisiana
Creole is a contact language that arose from interactions between speakers of French and various African languages in the 18th century. For this reason, prior to its establishment, the precursor to Louisiana
Creole was considered a pidgin language. In its historical backdrop, this pidgin was born to facilitate communication between African slaves and francophone land owners. Once the pidgin tongue was transmitted to the next generation (who were then considered the first native speakers of the new grammar), it could effectively be considered a creole language. Language shift, endangerment and revitalization[edit] In the case of Louisiana
Creole, a diglossia resulted between Louisiana
Creole and Plantation Society French (PSF) also known as Colonial French. The latter was frequently associated with plantation owners, plantation overseers, small landowners, military officers/soldiers and bilingual, free people of color. Over the centuries, Louisiana
Creole’s negative associations with slavery have stigmatized the language to the point where many speakers are reluctant to use it for fear of ridicule. In this way, the assignment of “high” variety (or H language) was allotted to PSF and that of “low” variety (or L language) was given to Louisiana
Creole (please refer to diglossia for more information on H and L languages).[6] The social status of Louisiana
Creole further declined as a result of the Louisiana
Purchase. The promise of upward socioeconomic mobility prompted many speakers of Louisiana
Creole to abandon their stigmatised language in favor of English.[7] Additionally, the development of industry, technology and infrastructure in Louisiana reduced the isolation of Louisiana
Creolophone communities and resulted in the arrival of more English-speakers, resulting in further exposure to English. Because of this, Louisiana
Creole exhibits extensive influence from English, including loanwords, code-switching and syntactic calquing.[8][9][10] Today, Louisiana
Creole is spoken by fewer than 10,000 people.[3] Though national census data includes figures on language usage, these are often unreliable in Louisiana
due to respondents' tendencies to identify their language in line with their ethnic identity. For example, speakers of Louisiana
Creole who identify as Cajuns
often label their language 'Cajun French', though on linguistic grounds their language would be considered Louisiana
Creole.[11] Efforts to revitalize French in Louisiana
have placed emphasis on Cajun French, to the exclusion of Creole.[12] However, community organisations such as CREOLE, Inc. have led a handful of community-level efforts to promote the language.[9] CREOLE, Inc., for example, has organised a 'Creole Table' in St. Martinville, as well as a number of other language-focused events.[13] In addition, there is an active online community of language-learners and activists engaged in language revitalization, led by language activist Christophe Landry.[14] These efforts have resulted in the creation of an semi-standardized orthography[15] and a digitalized version of Valdman et al.'s Louisiana
Creole Dictionary.[16] A first language primer was released in 2017.[17][18] Geographic distribution[edit]

Creole-speaking parishes in Louisiana

Speakers of Louisiana
Creole are mainly concentrated in south and southwest Louisiana, where the population of Creolophones is distributed across the region. St. Martin Parish forms the heart of the Creole-speaking region. Other sizeable communities exist along Bayou Têche in St. Landry, Avoyelles, Iberia, and St. Mary Parishes. There are smaller communities on False River in Pointe-Coupée Parish, in Terrebone Parish, and along the lower Mississippi River in Ascension, St. Charles Parish, and St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.[19] There are also numbers of Creolophones in Natchitoches Parish on Cane River and sizable communities of Louisiana
Creole-speakers in adjacent Southeast Texas
(Beaumont, Houston, Port Arthur, Galveston) and the Chicago
area. Louisiana
Creole speakers in California
reside in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino counties and in Northern California
(San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento County, Plumas County, Tehama County, Mono County, and Yuba County.)[9]. Historically, there were Creole-speaking communities in Mississippi and Alabama (on Mon Louis Island), however it is likely that no speakers remain in these areas.[20] Grammar[edit]

This section's factual accuracy is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on Talk: Louisiana
Creole. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced. (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Definite articles in Louisiana
Creole vary between the le, la and les used in standard French (a testament of possible decreolization in some areas) and a and la for the singular, and yé for the plural.[dubious – discuss] Louisiana
Creole exhibits subject-verb-object (SVO) word order.[21] Personal pronouns [16][edit]

Subjective Subjective Objective Objective Possessive Possessive

English Creole English Creole English Creole

1st person I mo me mò mine mokin/mochin (masculine) makènn/mochènn (feminine)

2nd person you to you twa yours tokin/tochin tokènn/tochènn

3rd person he, she li, ça him, her li his, her, hers sokin/sochin sokènn/sochènn

1st plural we no, not, nouzòt us nouzòt, nou, zòt our, ours nokin/nochin nokènn/nochènn

2nd plural you vos, vouzòt you vou, vouzòt your, yours vokin/vochin vokènn/vochènn

3rd plural they yé them yé their, theirs yékin/yéchin yékènn/yéchènn

In theory, Creole places its definite articles after the noun, unlike French. Given Louisiana
Creole's complex linguistic relationship with Colonial French
Colonial French
and Cajun French, however, this is often no longer the case. Since there is no system of noun gender, articles only vary on phonetic criteria. The article a is placed after words ending in a vowel, and la is placed after words ending in a consonant.[dubious – discuss] Another aspect of Louisiana
Creole which is unlike French is the lack of verb conjugation. Verbs do not vary based on person or number. Verbs vary based on verbal markers (e.g., té (past tense), sé (conditional), sa or "a[alé]" (future)) which are placed between the personal pronouns and conjugated verbs (e.g. Mo té kourí ô Villaj, "I went to Lafayette"). Frequently in the past tense, the verbal marker is omitted and one is left to figure out the time of the event through context. Vocabulary[edit]

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The vocabulary of Louisiana
Creole is of primarily of French origin, as French is the language's lexifier. Some local vocabulary, such as topography, animals, plants are of Amerindian origin. The language has a small number of vocabulary items from west and central African languages (namely Bambara, Wolof, Fon) in folklore and in the religion of Voodoo.[22] Much of this non-French vocabulary is shared with other French-based creole languages
French-based creole languages
of North America, and Louisiana
Creole shares all but a handful of vocabulary with Louisiana
French.[23] Numbers[edit] Included are the French numbers for comparison.

Number Louisiana
Creole French

1 un un

2 dé deux

3 trò/trwa trois

4 kat quatre

5 cink cinq

6 sis six

7 sèt sept

8 wit huit

9 nèf neuf

10 dis dix


English Louisiana
Creole French

Hello Bonjou Bonjour

How are things? Konmen lé-zafè? Comment vont les affaires ?

How are you doing? Konmen to yê? Konmen ç'ap(é) kouri? Comment allez-vous ? Comment vas-tu?

I'm good, thanks. Çé bon, mèsi. Mo bien, mèsi. Ça va bien, merci.

See you later. Wa (twa) pli tar. Je te vois (vois-toi) plus tard. (À plus tard.)

I love you. Mo laimé twa. Je t'aime.

Take care. Swinn-twa. Soigne-toi. (Prends soin de toi.)

Good Morning. Bonjou. Bonjour.

Good Evening. Bonswa. Bonsoir.

Good Night. Bonswa. / Bonnwí. Bonne nuit.

The Lord's Prayer[edit] Nouzòt Popá, ki dan syèl-la Tokin nom, li sinkifyè, N'ap spéré pou to rwayomm arivé, é n'a fé ça t'olé dan syèl ; paréy si la tèr Donné-nou jordi dipin tou-lé-jou, é pardon nouzòt péshé paréy nou pardon lê moun ki fé nouzòt sikombé tentasyon-la, Mé délivré nou depi mal. Phonology[edit] Consonants[edit]

Consonants of Louisiana

Labial Dental/ Alveolar

Postalveolar/ Palatal


Nasal m n ɲ ŋ

Plosive p b t d     k ɡ

Affricate         tʃ dʒ    

Fricative f v s z ʃ ʒ    

Tap   ɾ    

Approximant w   j  

Lateral   l



Oral and nasal vowels of Louisiana
Creole [24][9][10]

  Front Central Back

unrounded rounded

Close oral i y


Close-mid e ø


Open-mid ɛ œ ɔ

nasal ɛ̃ œ̃






See also[edit]

portal French language
French language
and French-speaking world portal Languages portal

Creole people Louisiana
French Haitian Creole


^ "APiCS Online -". apics-online.info. Retrieved 2017-08-15.  ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). " Louisiana
Creole". Glottolog
3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.  ^ a b "APiCS Online -". apics-online.info. Retrieved 2017-08-15.  ^ " Louisiana
Creole". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-08-15.  ^ Sylvie Dubois and Megan Melançon (2000), "Creole Is, Creole Ain't: Diachronic and Synchronic Attitudes toward Creole Identity in Southern Louisiana," Language in Society Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 237-258 ^ Carlisle, Aimee Jeanne. "Language Attrition in Louisiana
Creole French" (PDF). linguistics.ucdavis.edu. University of California, Davis. Retrieved March 27, 2016.  ^ Brown, Becky (March 1993). The Social Consequences of Writing Louisiana
French. Cambridge University Press. pp. 68–92.  ^ Valdman, ed. by Albert (1997). French and Creole in Louisiana. New York [u.a.]: Plenum Press. p. 111. ISBN 0-306-45464-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ a b c d e A., Klingler, Thomas (2003). If I could turn my tongue like that : the Creole language
Creole language
of Pointe Coupee
Pointe Coupee
Parish, Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press. ISBN 0807127795. OCLC 846496076.  ^ a b c Neumann, Ingrid (1985). Le créole de Breaux Bridge, Louisiane: étude morphosyntaxique, textes, vocabulaire. Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. ISBN 9783871186974.  ^ Klingler, Thomas A. (2003). "Language labels and language use among Cajuns
and Creoles in Louisiana". University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 9 (2).  ^ Squint, Kirstin L. (2005-05-04). "A Linguistic Comparison of Haitian Creole and Louisiana
Creole". Postcolonial Text. 1 (2).  ^ "About Us". www.louisianacreoleinc.org. Retrieved 2017-11-05.  ^ Mayeux, Oliver. 2015. “New Speaker Language: The Morphosyntax of New Speakers of Endangered Languages.” MPhil dissertation, Cambridge, United Kingdom: University of Cambridge. ^ Landry, Christophe; St. Laurent, Cliford; Gisclair, Michael; Gaither, Eric; Mayeux, Oliver (2016). A Guide to Louisiana
Creole Orthography. Louisiana
Historic and Cultural Vistas.  ^ a b " Louisiana
Creole Dictionary". www.louisianacreoledictionary.com. St. James Consulting. Retrieved 2018-01-11.  ^ Wendte, N. A.; Mayeux, Oliver; Wiltz, Herbert (2017). Ti Liv Kréyòl: A Louisiana
Creole Primer. Public Domain.  ^ "Ti Liv Kréyòl: A Louisiana
Creole Primer - Louisiana
Historic and Cultural Vistas". Louisiana
Historic and Cultural Vistas. 2017-08-14. Retrieved 2017-11-05.  ^ Kirstin Squint, A Linguistic and Cultural Comparison of Haitian Creole and Louisiana
Creole, postcolonial.org, Accessed March 11, 2014 ^ Marshall, Margaret (1991). "The Creole of Mon Louis Island, Alabama, and the Louisiana
Connection". Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages. 6: 73–87.  ^ A., Klingler, Thomas (2003). If I could turn my tongue like that : the Creole language
Creole language
of Pointe Coupee
Pointe Coupee
Parish, Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana
State University Press. ISBN 0807127795. OCLC 846496076.  ^ Albert Valdman, Dictionary of Louisiana
Creole, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 3-4. ^ Neumann-Holzschuh, Ingrid (2016). "Entre la Caraïbe et l'Amérique du Nord: le créole louisianais et son lexique à la lumière de ses contacts linguistiques et culturels". In Ette, Ottmar; Müller, Gesine. New Orleans and the global South : Caribbean, Creolization, carnival. Hildesheim: Georg-Olms-Verlag AG. ISBN 3487155044. OCLC 973171332.  ^ a b Klingler, Thomas A.; Neumann-Holzschuh, Ingrid (2013). " Louisiana
Creole". In Susanne Maria Michaelis; Philippe Maurer; Martin Haspelmath; Magnus Huber. The survey of pidgin and creole languages. Volume 2: Portuguese-based, Spanish-based, and French-based languages. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-967770-2. 

Further reading[edit]

Fortier, Alcée (1895). " Louisiana
Folk-Tales in French Dialect and English Translation". Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society. II. Retrieved 11 April 2015.  Kein, Sybil (2005). Learn to Speak Louisiana
French Creole: An Introduction. Gumbo People Products.  Kein, Sybil (2006). Maw-Maw's Creole ABC Book. Gumbo People Products.  Valdman, Albert; et al. (1998). Dictionary of Louisiana
Creole. Indiana University Press.  Klinger, Thomas A. (2003). If I could turn my tongue like that: The Creole Language of Pointe-Coupée Parish, Louisiana. Louisiana
State University Press.  laFleur II, John; Costello, Brian (2013). Speaking In Tongues, Louisiana's Colonial French, Creole & Cajun Languages Tell Their Story. BookRix GmbH & Co. KG.  Brasseaux, Carl (2005). French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana. Louisiana
State University Press.  Hail, G.M. (1992). Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.  Brown, B. "The Social Consequences of Writing Louisiana
French". JSTOR 4168410.  Missing or empty url= (help) Dubois & Horvath. "Creoles and Cajuns: A Portrait in Black and White". American Speech.  Valdman, A. (1997). French and Creole in Louisiana. Plenum Press.  Wendte, N. A.; Mayeux, Oliver; Wiltz, Herbert (2017). Ti Liv Kréyòl: A Louisiana
Creole Primer. Public Domain. 

External links[edit]

Creole Dictionary - Online Learn Louisiana
Creole Online (Kouri-Vini) Learn Pointe-Coupée Parish Creole Brian J. Costello – La Language Créole de la Paroisse Pointe Coupée Centenary University Bibliothèque Tintamarre Texts in Louisiana Creole Louisiana
Languages Channel Le bijou sur le Bayou Teche Cajun French
Cajun French
(Creole dialect): "C'est Sophie Guidry" by: Emily Lopez on YouTube "Allons Manger" Cajun French
Cajun French
with Creole dialect Oral History Forum I Raphaël Confiant on YouTube Bernard, S. "Creoles". KnowLA: Encyclopedia of Louisiana.  " Louisiana
Creole". The Endangered Languages Project. 

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