Brayon

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Brayon
Brayon, Brayonne
Regions with significant populations
Canada, concentrated in the Madawaska region of New Brunswick.
Languages
French (native language), English (as a second language)
Religion
Primarily Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
French, Québécois, Acadians, Cajun, Métis, French-speaking Quebecer, Franco-Ontarian, Franco-Manitoban, French American

Brayons are a francophone people inhabiting the area in and around Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. In French, they are called les Brayons or feminine les Brayonnes, and both terms are also used as adjectives, as in Brayon culture, or la culture brayonne. Given their location in New Brunswick, a Canadian Maritime province, they are considered by many to be Acadians; however most residents relate more to Quebec and the majority have strong roots and ancestral ties to Quebec as compared to Acadia, considering that at one point the Madawaska region was considered part of Quebec.

The Brayons view themselves as neither Acadian nor Québécois, affirming that they are a distinctive culture with a history and heritage linked to farming and forestry in the Madawaska area, unlike both the primarily maritime heritage of the modern Acadians and the St. Lawrence Valley history of the Québécois.

Dialect[edit]

Classification of Brayon as a dialect within Quebec French is largely disputed, as unlike Acadian French, for example, Brayon does not possess its own words or definition. The primary difference consists in a simple denotation of certain words due to their pronunciation. In French language, it is a generally found denotation as many words, such as masculine and feminine adjective endings, or the past tenses of some verbs, are homophone. However, both Brayon and Acadian are dialects not complete languages in their own right.

One basic distinctive trait of Brayon, however, is made in words such as tache ("stain") and tâche ("task"), where the "a" tends to resemble an open back unrounded vowel /ɑ/, notwithstanding of the circumflex. This in turn highlights the difference of pronouncing "a" in a (3rd singular of the verb avoir, "to have") and à (pronoun "at"), already strong in Quebec French, as compared to Standard French. The same rule also applies to /ɛ/ in maigre ("skinny") and vinaigre ("vinegar"), which transforms into /ɛː/, as in fête ("feast").

Boundaries[edit]

The border between New Brunswick and Quebec, and to some extent Maine, does not mean much to the people who live in that area, hence the commonalities and close relationship between Brayons and Québécois and parts of northern Maine; likewise, Brayon French is not completely restricted to Madawaska County.

This view of uniqueness led (at least jokingly) to the founding of the République du Madawaska during the Aroostook War, wherein some Brayons, disgusted with the actions of both British and American interlopers on their historical lands, declared themselves allied with neither, and independent. Of course, the “république” was never formally recognized and was ultimately split by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty into American and Canadian parts.

Cultural echoes[edit]

The spirit of the République du Madawaska lives on at least in the hearts and minds of local residents. The république has its own flag (designed in 1938), which flies in and around Edmundston.[1] The honorary Président de la République (President of the Republic) is the sitting Mayor of Edmundston, there is the Republic Provincial Park and there is a small Musée de la République (Museum of the Republic) in Edmundston dedicated to Brayon history. The heritage of les Brayons is celebrated annually in the Foire Brayonne, a music and cultural festival.

Other uses[edit]

Brayon(ne) is also the name of the inhabitants of the Pays de Bray in northwestern France (Seine-Maritime and Oise départements).

References[edit]