From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Native toCanada
RegionAcadians in southeastern New-Brunswick
Language codes
ISO 639-3
An immigrant couple living in Massachusetts, U.S. speaking a version of Chiac.

Chiac (or Chiak, Chi’aq), is a patois of Acadian French spoken mostly in southeastern New Brunswick, Canada.[1] Chiac is often characterized and distinguished from other forms of Acadian French by its borrowings from English, and is thus often mistakenly considered a form of Franglais.

The word "Chiac" can also sometimes be used to describe an ethnic Acadian of rural southeastern New Brunswick, which are not considered French Canadian historically and ethnically, due to having their separate and distinctive history, they are considered ethnically as "Chiac-Acadian"[2] or simply "Chiac".


As a major modern day variety of the Acadian-French language, Chiac shares most phonological particularities of the dialect. However, Chiac contains far more English loanwords compared to other Canadian French dialects. Many of its words also have roots in the Eastern Algonquian languages, most notably Mi'kmaq. These loanwords generally follow French conjugation patterns; "Ej j'va aller watcher un movie" uses the English derived loanword "watch" as if it were an -er verb. The most common loans are basic lexical features (nouns, adjectives, verb stems), though there are a couple conjunctions and adverbs borrowed from English (but, so, anyway).


Chiac originated in the community of specific ethnic Acadians, known as "Chiacs, Chiaks or Chi'aq",[2] living on the southeast coast of New Brunswick, specifically near the Shediac Bay area.

While some believe that Chiac dates back as far as the 17th or 18th century, others believe it developed in the 20th century, in reaction to the dominance of English-language media in Canada, the lack of French-language primary and secondary education, the increased urbanization of Moncton, and contact with the dominant Anglophone community in the area. The origin of the word "Chiac" is not known; some speculate that it is an alteration of "Shediac" or "Es-ed-ei-ik".

Geographic distribution[edit]

Chiac is mostly spoken by native Acadian French speakers in the southeast region of New Brunswick. Its speakers are primarily located in the Westmorland County of southeastern New Brunswick. Further north along the coast, Acadian French resembling Québécois French is more common as one approaches the border with Quebec. To the immediate east, west and south, fully bilingual speakers of French and English are found, and beyond are typically unilingual Anglophones.

In culture[edit]

Acadian writers, poets and musicians such as Lisa LeBlanc, Radio Radio,[3] Fayo,[4] Cayouche, Les Hay Babies, 1755, Antonine Maillet[5] and many others have produced works in Chiac.

Chiac is also featured in Acadieman, a comedy about "The world's first Acadian Superhero" by Dano Leblanc.[6]


  1. ^ "Chiac | The Canadian Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  2. ^ a b Dorion, Leah; Préfontaine, Darren R.; Barkwell, Lawrence J. (1999). "VI: Métis Culture and Language". Resources for Métis Researchers (PDF). Gabriel Dumont Institute and The Louis Riel Institute. p. 14. Chiac, the little-known mixed Algonquian-Acadian French language of the Metis people in Maritime Canada bears a remarkable similarity in syntax to Michif
  3. ^ Radio Radio: Comment ça va?, retrieved 2022-03-17
  4. ^ Laberge, Corinne (2007-06-28). "Le monde de Fayo". Retrieved 2007-08-09.
  5. ^ Morrow, Martin (18 February 2023). "Acadian actor Viola Léger embodied the iconic character La Sagouine". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 17 January 2024. La Sagouine's use of chiac, the type of Acadian French native to rural New Brunswick.
  6. ^ "C'est la vie". C'est la vie. 2006-12-08.

Further reading[edit]

  • King, Ruth. "Overview and Evaluation of Acadie's joual," in Social Lives in Language – Sociolinguistics and multilingual speech communities: Celebrating the Work of Gillian Sankoff edited by Miriam Meyerhoff and Naomi Nagy (2008) pp 137ff
  • Chiac: an example of dialect change and language transfer in Acadian French. National Library of Canada, 1987.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]