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French Americans or Franco-Americans are Americans of French descent. About 11.8 million U.S. residents are of French descent, and about 1.6 million speak French at home. An additional 450,000 U.S. residents speak a French-based creole language, according to the 2000 census. While Americans of French descent make up a substantial percentage of the American population, French Americans arguably are less visible than other similarly sized ethnic groups. This is due in part to the tendency of French American groups to identify more strongly with "New World" regional identities such as Québécois, French Canadian, Acadian, Cajun, or Louisiana Creole. This has inhibited the development of a wider French American identity. The majority of Americans of French descent are descendants of those who first settled in Canada in the 17th century (known as New France at the time), which later became the Canadian Province of Quebec after Canadian Confederation in 1867. The majority of Americans of French descent, mostly resident in New England, are descendants of the Quebec Diaspora, while few are of Acadian descent from the Canadian Maritime provinces.

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The French language is spoken as a minority language in the United States. According to year 2000 census figures, 1.6 million Americans over the age of five speak the language at home; making French the fourth most-spoken language in the country, behind English, Spanish, and Chinese. French-speaking communities have historically been located in southern Louisiana and in northern New England. French is the second most-spoken language in four states: Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

There are four major groups of French dialects that came to be spoken in what is now the United States: Louisiana French, Missouri French, Acadian, Quebec French (or New England French) and European French.

French has traditionally been the foreign language of choice for English-speakers across the globe. That distinction has since been claimed by Spanish, particularly in the United States – likely a consequence of heavy immigration from, and increased general interest in, Latin America. French is currently the second-most studied foreign language in the country, behind Spanish and ahead of German. Read more...

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Jean-Louis "Jack" Kerouac (/ˈkɛræk, ˈkɛrəwæk/; March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet. He is considered a literary iconoclast, and alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his spontaneous method of writing covering topics such as jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. His writings have inspired other writers, including Hunter S. Thompson, Tom Robbins, Thomas Pynchon, Lester Bangs, Will Clarke, Richard Brautigan, Ken Kesey, Haruki Murakami, and Bob Dylan. Unsympathetic critics of his work have labeled it "slapdash", "grossly sentimental", and "immoral". Kerouac became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the Hippie movement. At age 47 in 1969 Kerouac died from internal bleeding due to long-standing abuse of alcohol. Since his death Kerouac's literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, among them: On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Mexico City Blues, The Subterraneans, Desolation Angels, Visions of Cody and Big Sur. Read more...

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Paul LePage, Governor of Maine

Paul Richard LePage was elected 74th Governor of Maine and took office on January 15th, 2011. He is the first Franco-American Governor of the state of Maine, born in Lewiston, Maine. A Republican, he was previously mayor of Waterville from 2003 to 2011. He worked in the private sector as general manager of the 14-store discount chain, Marden's Surplus and Salvage, from 1996 to 2011.

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The cities with the highest percentage of Franco-Americans and francophones are in northern Maine. The cities of Madawaska, Van Buren, Caribou, Fort Kent, and Frenchville, all boast more than 80% French-Canadian descent. Not far behind, are the cities of Berlin, New Hampshire, Lewiston, Sabattus, Greene, and Biddeford, in southern Maine.



Related portals

Portal:French language and French-speaking world
Portal:French and Francophone literature

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Portal:New France
Portal:Kingdom of France
Portal:Indigenous peoples of North America


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