The Info List - Louisiana Creole

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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 languages.


* 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


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 .

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 known as Colonial French
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 Louisiana
Creole 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
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

Speakers of 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
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 Alabama too.


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 only SOV.



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


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


1st plural we no, not, nougat us nougat, nou, zòt our, ours nokin/nochin


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


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


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
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 context.


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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
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.


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



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.


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.


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



b voiced bilabial stop bobo -sore

d voiceless dental or alveolar stop malad -sick

g voiced velar stop bagas ‘bagasse’



a a, á, â, Æ low front unrounded

e e, é, è, ê, ë upper-mid front unrounded

i i, í, ì, î, ï high-front unrounded

o o, ó, ò, ô, ö, Œ upper-mid back rounded

ou ou high-back rounded

u u high front rounded


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

* Louisiana Creole people
Louisiana Creole people
* Louisiana
French * Haitian Creole
Haitian Creole


* ^ 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). " Louisiana
Creole". 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 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. * ^ https://intersolinc.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/louisiana-creole-language/ * ^ Sturgis, Sue. "CENSUS WATCH: In Louisiana, the Census gets a dose of Cajun pride". Institute for Southern Studies. Retrieved March 29, 2016. * ^ Kirstin Squint, A Linguistic and Cultural Comparison of Haitian Creole and Louisiana
Creole, postcolonial.org, Accessed March 11, 2014 * ^ http://resolver.ebscohost.com/openurl?genre=book&atitle=&title=If+I+could+turn+my+tongue+like+that%3a+the+Creole+language+of+Pointe+Coupee+Parish%2c+Louisiana&isbn=0807127795&volume=&issue=&date=20030101&aulast=Klingler%2c+Thomas+A&spage=&pages=&sid=EBSCO%3aAfrica-Wide+Information%3aSO-1603-832652&site=ftf-live * ^ * 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 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 ">(PDF). American Speech. * Valdman, A. (1997). French and Creole in Louisiana. Plenum Press.


* Louisiana
Creole Dictionary - Online * Learn Louisiana
Creole Online (Kouri-Vini) * Learn Pointe-Coupée Parish Creole * Brian J. Costello – La Language Créole de