LOUISIANA CREOLE (kréyol la lwizyàn; French : créole louisianais)
is a French-based creole language spoken by some of the Louisiana
Creole people of the state of
Louisiana . The language largely
consists of elements of French , Native American , and African
* 1 Origins
* 2 Language Shift/Attrition
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Speaker demographics
* 4 Grammar
* 4.1 Personal pronouns
* 5 Vocabulary
* 5.1 Numbers
* 5.2 Greetings
* 5.3 The Lord\'s Prayer
* 5.4 Common verbs Used
* 6 Sounds/Phonology
* 6.1 Consonants
* 6.2 Vowels
* 7 See also
* 8 References
* 9 Further reading
* 10 External links
Louisiana Creole French was spoken initially by those living in the
French slave colony of
Louisiana . The size of
Louisiana you see today
was not always the actual size. Instead the colony was much bigger and
it was spread though most of the Midwest all the way up to Canada.
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 and Yoruba .
Louisiana Creole French (LCF) 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 LCF 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 .
In the case of
Louisiana Creole French (LCF), a diglossia resulted
between LCF – a language spoken almost exclusively by African slaves
and their descendants – and Plantation Society French (PSF) also
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, LCF’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 LCF (please refer to diglossia
for more information on H and L languages).
As a result of
Louisiana becoming one of the United States of
America, matters only worsened for the social status of LCF. With the
United States being one of the wealthiest countries in the world and
English being one of the most globalized languages, the promise of
upward mobility prompted many speakers of LCF to abandon their
language. Being that LCF was associated with slavery and all of the
negativity that linkage entails, it had no room for mobility in terms
of expansion. Additionally, the geographical position of Louisiana
in unison with technological advances has made the entire region
accessible to other areas. This not only exposes
French to more linguistic competition, but also reinforces the divide
between H and L languages since most people who enter the region are
typically English speakers.
Moreover, efforts to revitalize francophone languages have placed
emphasis on the prestigious varieties such as
Cajun French . While
national data, such as that provided by the census, could be an
invaluable source in helping allocate resources to more endangered
languages, it is also riddled with misrepresentations and inaccuracies
that contribute to the attrition. An example of this is linked to the
structure of questions which may be wrongfully interpreted.
Creole-speaking parishes in
Louisiana Creole are mainly concentrated in south and
southwest Louisiana, where the population of Creolophones is
distributed across the region. 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 .). There are some creoles in Mississippi and
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.
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. In
St. Martin Parish, the masculine definite article, whether le or -a,
is often omitted altogether.
Louisiana Creole French uses the
subject-verb-object (SVO) syntax. This form of formatting sentences is
similar to that of English and is the second most used syntax behind
his, her, hers
no, not, nougat
nougat, nou, zòt
In theory, Creole places its definite articles after the noun, unlike
Louisiana Creole's complex linguistic relationship with
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.
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), çé
(conditional), ça (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
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The vocabulary of
Louisiana Creole is of primarily of French origin,
with some influences from African and Native American languages. Most
local vocabulary, such as topography, animals, plants are of regional
Amerindian origin - mostly substrata of the Choctaw or Mobilian
Language group. The language possesses vestiges of west and central
African languages (namely Bambara, Wolof, Fon) in folklore and in the
religion of Voodoo . The grammar, however, remains distinct from that
of French and is similar but is not quite the same as
Haitian Creole .
There are also different dialects of
Louisiana Creole; some are mixed
with Spanish and sound almost like Portuguese.
Included are the French numbers for comparison.
How are things?
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.
Soigne-toi. (Prends soin de toi.)
Bonswa. / Bonnwí.
THE LORD\'S PRAYER
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 tèujr
Donné-nou jordi dipin tou yé jou,
é pardon nouzòt péshé paréy nou pardon
lê moun ki fé nouzòt sikombé tentasyon-la,
Mé délivré nou depi mal.
COMMON VERBS USED
Galopé: to run upon
Parlé: to speak
Manjé: to eat, (n) food
Vini: to come
Sayé: to try
Bliyé: to forget
Pélé: to call
laimé: to love, to like
Hayi: to hate, to dislike
vwyajé: to travel
Ri: to laugh
Arêté: to stop
Fé(r): to do, to make
Dormi: to sleep
Shanté: to sing
Dansé: to dance
Jonglé: to ponder
Pensé: to think
Maré: to attach
Kouri: to run, to go
Ganyé, gain: to have
Di: to say, to tell
Souveni: to remember
Tandé: to hear, to listen
Ekri: to write
Ekouté: to listen
Mèt: to put
Mouri: to die
Pran: to take
Konté: to count
Kwa: to believe
Wa(r): to see
Gardé: to watch
Trouvé: to find
Kaçhé: to hide
Héré: to be happy
Tristé: to be sad
Kontan: to be content, satisfied
Asi: to sit
Rekont: to meet
Voyé: to send
Konné: to know
Swèt: to hope, wish, believe
Twé: to kill
Frappé: to hit
Mélanjé: to blend
Boukané: to smoke (food)
Okipé/Busy: to be occupied,
Advancé: to advance
Endromî: fall asleep
Las: to be exhausted
Ouvrajé: to labor, to work
Sijesté: to suggest
Yê: to be, ex. Konmen to yê: how are you, "how you be." literally
Navigé: to navigate
Pliyé: to fold
Édé: to help
Ini: to unite
Separé: to separate
Divorcé: to separate, divorce
Bwa/Bwé/Bwéson: to drink
Swaf: to have thirst, to be thirsty.
Kontinué: to continue
Pran: to take
Aprann/pran: to learn
Kombaté/Baté: to fight
Engajé: to engage
Oulé/Olé/Vlé: to want
Gélé: to freeze
Friyé: to fry
Fumé: smoke cigarettes
Sharé/Kozé/Paré: to chat, gossip
voiced bilabial stop
voiceless dental or alveolar stop
voiced velar stop
a, á, â, Æ
low front unrounded
e, é, è, ê, ë
upper-mid front unrounded
i, í, ì, î, ï
o, ó, ò, ô, ö, Œ
upper-mid back rounded
high front rounded
French language and French-speaking world portal
* Languages portal
Louisiana Creole people
Louisiana Creole people
Louisiana Creole at
Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
* ^ Neumann-Holzschuh & Klingler (2013).
Louisiana Creole. Oxford
University Press. pp. 228–240.
* ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank,
Sebastian, eds. (2016). "
Glottolog 2.7 . Jena: Max
Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
* ^ 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
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.
* ^ Sturgis, Sue. "CENSUS WATCH: In Louisiana, the Census gets a
dose of Cajun pride". Institute for Southern Studies. Retrieved March
* ^ Kirstin Squint, A Linguistic and Cultural Comparison of Haitian
Louisiana Creole, postcolonial.org, Accessed March 11, 2014
* ^ *
Louisiana Creole Dictionary
* ^ *
Louisiana Creole Dictionary
* ^ Albert Valdman, Dictionary of
Louisiana Creole, Indiana
University Press, 1998, pp. 3-4.
* 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
* Valdman, Albert; et al. (1998). Dictionary of
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
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
JSTOR 4168410 . Missing or empty url= (help )
* Dubois ">(PDF). American Speech.
* Valdman, A. (1997). French and Creole in Louisiana. Plenum Press.
Louisiana Creole Dictionary - Online
Louisiana Creole Online (Kouri-Vini)
* Learn Pointe-Coupée Parish Creole
* Brian J. Costello – La Language Créole de