Talk:Cajun French

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cajun french audio language course[edit]

i'm looking for a cajun french audio language course that costs $30 or less. i can't really afford to pay several hundred dollars for one. Gringo300 20:45, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

"Je suis pris"[edit]

Past tense constructions are almost all made using the verb avoir (to have) in Cajun French whereas there are a few important verbs whose compound past tense is made using être (to be) in standard French. Thus, Cajuns may say "j'ai pris" (lit. "I have taken") where standard French would require "je suis pris," (lit. "I am taken"), or "il a parti" (lit. "he has departed/left") instead of the standard "il est parti" (lit. "he is departed/left").

Looking at past versions of the page, User:CharlesMartel and an anon at made several changes to the first example. The point in the article is that Cajun French may allow an intransitive verb to be conjugated with avoir, rather than être. "Passer" can be either transitive or intransitive depending on context, and can be translated in different ways, also depending on context. In the sentence, "J'ai passé un examen," "passer" is appropriately translated as "to take," but in the original example, the intended meaning was "to pass by." I have included an unambiguous example in the article. -- 02:38, 17 July 2006 (UTC)Joe

Although the word "Cajun" is found in many French dictionaries as a French word, it is not accepted as a French word by Cajun academics because it leads to bizarre pronunciations of the group name in French (Cajun, Cajune). It is generally believed that the name in French should either reflect the Cajun French pronunciation of “Cadjin, Cadjinne” or reflect the accepted French spelling of “Acadien” (Cadien, Cadienne). The consensus among Cajun academics is to use the spelling “Cadien, Cadienne” but to retain the pronunciation “Cadjin, Cadjinne.”

  • The version of French I am being currently tought is does not rely on "etre" for past tence. The version I am tought relies on "avoir". So that section makes no sense to me.-Rex Imperator

That's impossible. No offense, but I suggest you find a more competent teacher. 01:56, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

About the past tense being made with either "avoir" or "être": It depends on who you speak with whether or not you'll hear the past tense of certain verbs formed with "être." Some areas of Acadiana have more speakers who use "être" and some areas of Acadiana use "avoir" exclusively. Either way, this is trivial information.
I have no idea where y'all get this "je suis pris" business. Cajun French speakers don't use the detracted form "je suis." We use the contracted forms "j'sus" or "j'suis." "J'ai pris..." (I took... [something]) / "J'sus pris" (I'm stuck) / "Tu m'as pris" (You got me (stuck, stumped, etc.). RoyAlcatraz 00:28, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Influences into English?[edit]

How much has Cajun affected regional varieties of English? For example, I know that in the Southern US, some areas use the word "poke" to mean "bag" or "sack"—this is almost certainly from Cajun, on par with Jèrriais (Norman) "pouque", of the same meaning. Also, do we have any speakership statistics on Cajun? The Jade Knight 06:29, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually, poke was used in 15th century England to mean "bag" or "sack." The OED mentions Icelandic poki, Gaelic poc, and French poche as possible roots. GenericGabriel 23:50, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia in Cajun French?[edit]

Why isn't there any Wikipedia in Cajun French yet? It's time to start one, isn't it? Aaker 18:58, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I would really like to see a Louisiana French version of Wikipedia with articles written in Louisiana French. However, this brings up the question of who will write articles for the Louisiana French version of Wikipedia? This would also invite vandalism from International French speakers who want to "correct" Louisiana French because it's different from their own French or they see Louisiana French as "bad" French. If you can create it, I'd be glad to write articles for it just to give it a try. It's worth a shot. I'm a native speaker from Terrebonne Parish and I know other people who would also like to help with a Louisiana French Wikipedia project. RoyAlcatraz 19:00, 22 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree that a project for Cajun French should be started. There is already a very active community so it would be easy to promote the Wiki among them.--Billiot 13:07, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Done, Anyone wishing to voice an opinion about starting a Wikipedia in Cajun French please follow this link

--Billiot 17:04, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

Awesome! Here's a link to the Cajun French Test Wikipedia Cajun French Wikipedia

Why do we need a different WP for Cajun French? We currently only have one English wikipedia where several dialects coexist relatively peacefully. Can't you just create a template on the to indicate that a specific French article is using the Cajun dialect? I am not trying to start a wikiriot or anything, just asking... Dave (djkernen)|Talk to me|Please help! 21:11, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

Differences from Standard French?[edit]

I would like to see this section deleted and new sections like "dialects," "sounds," "orthography," "grammar" and "vocabulary" created so that this article can equal the french language article. There's no reason that "differences from standard French" should even be in an article about Cajun French since the French language article doesn't mention "differences from Cajun French." RoyAlcatraz 04:47, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

This section is incoherent even to me, a Cajun French speaker. RoyAlcatraz 15:24, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Also, at the beginning of the article it list two other kinds of French spoken in the area, but they link to the same entry. The redirect says one is an alt name for the other. (talk) 01:57, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

RoyAlcatraz, from a strictly theoretical viewpoint, of course, you could treat Louisiana French and Parisian French perfectly symmetrically, and turn around and study Parisian French through its differences from Louisiana French. The difference is that Parisian French is widely known and is well-described in reference works. Many people interested in Cajun French will in practice already know something about Parisian French or about the French language in general, and the fastest way to tell them what Cajun French is may be comparing it to something similar that they already know about. The article French language ought to be about the language in general, including all its varieties. (talk) 05:50, 20 February 2012 (UTC)
For the most part I agree, except for pronunciation, since it can be quite different. There's an old lead here [1]. Some of it might be dubious, and I don't have references other than personal knowledge, but I know Cajuns tend to palatalize [t] and [d], often to where they sound like [tʃ] and [dʒ] respectively. Also, rhotic vowels (as in /ar/ and /er/) often are pronounced as [æ], like in the last name Bergeron, where the first /er/ is pronounced [æ], or cher, pronounced [ʃæ]. As mentioned in the linked discussion, [a] is pronounced [ɑ] usually, and [wa] pronounced [we] in the same contexts as Québecois French. (talk) 05:21, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

Total Speakers[edit]

Can we really trust statistics that come from an organization whose mission is to make English the official language of America? Only 18,000 speakers? They must have missed a few hundred thousand people during their research. Something also must be said about the large population of people who are fluent Cajun French listeners who don't speak the language, but understand every word. RoyAlcatraz 02:57, 23 August 2007 (Utc)

As I've stated below, the Census Bureau seems to have drastically under-counted Cajun speakers in the 2000 Census in St. Charles Parish (40 Cajun speakers versus 1,149 who self-identified as speaking "French"). Part of this may be honest confusion on the part of respondents to the 2000 Census, since when I grew up there, no semantic distinction was made between the Cajun dialect and Metropolitan French (and there probably was and is some linguistic overlap between the two dialects in eastern St. Charles Parish over the years owing to its proximity to New Orleans). I'm pretty sure that state-wide, there HAS been an undercount of Cajun speakers and a dramatic one, if one relies on the 2000 Census numbers.loupgarous (talk) 05:10, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

250,000 speakers?! I can find no sources that claim this number. The ACS data reported on the ethnologue claims 25,600 speakers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

There is a dictionary which claims 250,000 speak some variety of French (I added citations and provided both numbers and dates, one from the ethnologue and one from the dictionary, albeit it is a little disorganized). It is no coincidence that the Louisiana Creole French also claimed 250,000. It may be that only 25,600 people speak Cajun French but 250,000 speak creole, standard French, or some other form of French in Louisiana. Brianc26 (talk) 16:37, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

The term for people who are fluent "listeners" but cannot speak the language is "passive bilingual". Passive bilinguals would never be counted as speakers because they cannot speak the language. Sometimes they are included in overall language data, for example 33% of Wales can understand the Welsh language [1] but only 19% can speak it. In a census however they would not be counted as speakers. I only included the 250,000 number because everytime someone put down the REAL number taken from a reputable source, it was deleted and replaced with "250,000", or in some cases "unknown" throughout the articles history. The dictionary which poses 250,000 once again does not claim "250,000 speakers of Cajun French", it simply poses "250,000 speakers of some variety of French" [2]. Any French-based language or creole in Louisiana can claim "250,000" because sources who posit that number are unspecific.

Census data is sometimes admittedly problematic especially when dealing with Prestige Language situations (where society might view one language variety as somehow more prestigious than another). For example people who speak Cajun French put down that they speak "French" on the census... similar problems have been encountered when dealing with languages of the Philippines as most Filipino immigrants are not native Tagalogs, but put down that they speak the Tagalog language at home on the census when they really speak the Ilokano language, or Cebuano language at home because Tagalog is the "national language". Brianc26 (talk) 00:13, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

OH ALSO we do have dates now, so someone needs to take down the "needs date" template (I do not know how to) Brianc26 (talk) 23:57, 13 March 2013 (UTC)Brianc26 (talk) 23:57, 13 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I took away the needs date flag by inserting a |date=2013 clause into the template. While I was at it I took the liberty of commenting out the 250,000 number and it's supporting reference, since everybody seems to agree that the 250,000 number is wrong and the only source is a dictionary which is not a reliable source for that kind of information. I will watch this page and make sure the correct number sticks. I would appreciate it if the rest of y'all do the same. Peace, Dusty|💬|You can help! 21:13, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Louisiana Regional French ???[edit]

Perhaps within the hallowed halls of Tulane it is appropriate to use the phrase, "Louisiana Regional French" -- this, however, is a term never used outside academia. If this phrase is uncommon (or non-existent outside of Tulane), does it rise to the standard to be mentioned as an a.k.a. on the main article page? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:02, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

More than one French in Louisiana[edit]

I notice that Louisiana French redirects here, and possibly is responsible for the highly dubious claims about where Cajun French is spoken. Perhaps "Louisiana French" should be a disambiguation, with a link to "Louisiana Creole French" as well. Greater New Orleans area Francophones were not historically Cajun of course. -- Infrogmation (talk) 08:22, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Since "Greater New Orleans" includes all of the neighboring parishes to Orleans Parish, I have to question the accuracy of that statement. I grew up in "Greater New Orleans," and my family's geneaology (compiled by my uncle David Perret, Sr.) includes many natives of the area who unquestionably self-identify as "Cajuns."loupgarous (talk) 04:56, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

As a native of St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, I have to express considerable skepticism about the 2000 Census figures as they concern the number of "Cajun" speakers (40) there versus the number of "French" speakers (1,149). I suspect that many speakers of Cajun French reported themselves as "French" speakers, since the Cajun population of that parish is considerable (a large portion of the parish's population). However, this is the only "authoritative" figure out there, so I used it, low-balling and all, to document St. Charles Parish's claim to having Cajun French speakers - but I caution Wikipedia users that it is in all probability an under-report, and by hundreds of people at least, of the true Cajun-speaking population of St. Charles Parish. I only hope that in its zeal to drum up more Democratic Party votes, the White House (which under the Obama Administration has taken control of the Census Bureau from the Department of Commerce) doesn't repeat the drastic under-count of the Cajun French population by the Clinton Administration.loupgarous (talk) 04:52, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, some people choose to identify themselves on the Census as Cajun-speakers, and others as French-speakers. This is their choice and not one that's imposed on them. I'm sure many factors go into the decision. Obviously, the vast majority of French-speakers there are Cajun, so it's sensible to add the two numbers. Cajun French is a kind of French, after all. (talk) 05:55, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

See the talk in the number of speakers section. The ACS report claims over 20,000 speakers but people keep editing the reported numbers with numbers in the hundreds of thousands... I decided to compromise and included both (and even found a semi-good source which claimed hundreds of thousands spoke "some variety of French". Brianc26 (talk) 00:05, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Still Endangered?[edit]

I can't find Cajun French on the UNESCO list of endangered languages. Is it still endangered? Or has it become more prominent? (talk) 11:32, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Between a decades-long effort by the state of Louisiana's Council For the Development Of French In Louisiana (CODOFIL), employing speakers of contemporary European French as instructors for Louisiana's public school children, to teach the young of Louisiana that Cajun French usages are "wrong" - very few of these instructors can even communicate in French with native speakers of Cajun French who have not also had instruction in the metropolitan dialect of French; the increasing death rate of native speakers who haven't really succeeded in passing their language to future generations; the radiation of Cajun French to numerous local dialects which are sometimes mutually unintelligible (apart from the variant use of "avoir" for "etre" as an indicative verb, German Coast Cajun French from some communities immediately up the Mississippi River from New Orleans has curiosities such as "ej" for the personal first person reflexive pronoun "je" - obviously an elision of the German "ich", and the textbook used to teach Cajun French at LSU when I was there in 1977 used Pointe Coupee French terms and made very few efforts to recognize other regions' dialects); wide variance of nouns for common objects from community to community such as "moustique" and "maringouin" for "mosquito", Cajun French is definitely endangered.

The State of Louisiana's own efforts to promote French in Louisiana have been directed at substituting European French for Cajun French in the public schools for decades. The best hope is salvage - creation of a common dialect of Cajun French which preservationists can agree retains what is good in the language, and replacement of the current CODOFIL program with something that actually tries to preserve Cajun French in some way (in the same way that both Italian and Hindustani were created to provide a populace with a multitude of local dialects with a commonly intelligible language).loupgarous (talk) 02:54, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

"Ej" is also used by Acadians in Nova Scotia... so I don't think it has anything to do with German influence. saɪm duʃan Talk|Contribs 07:55, 30 January 2011 (UTC)
Loupgarous, if they can't get enough local teachers, they should try to bring them in from New Brunswick instead of France. The teachers could get the kids fluent enough in Acadian French that they could start learning from the elders in the community. I think it's desirable for people in Louisiana to have two kinds of French - Colloquial Louisiana French for everyday use and a Standard Louisiana French used for international communication. This would be different from European French but still be useful for talking to Canadians and Europeans. The reason the second one is also important is that being able to connect with the outside world is likely to attract some young people to the language. By the way, educated Acadians from New Brunswick all have (at least) two ways of speaking French. For example, if you listen to a news program from there over the internet, you'll see that there's an Acadian way to speak Standard French. Oh, and moustique and maringouin are both used in Quebec too (and probably Acadia). (talk) 06:18, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

maringouin is a Norman word. See the corresponding Wiki page on the Norman version. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:48, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

According to the Ethnologue Cajun French's status is 7: Shifting. This means that "the child-bearing generation can use the language among themselves, but it is not being transmitted to children" (Lewis, 2013). Brianc26 (talk) 16:43, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

What is the lede saying?[edit]

I am having trouble understanding what is in the lede. A recent edit tried to clarify but only underscored the part that I find confusing. This is the sentence that I have trouble understanding:

However, there are significant populations of Louisiana Creoles—descended from European, African, and Native American ancestors—who continue to speak this variety of French. Parishes where this dialect is found include, but are not limited to, Avoyelles, Iberia, Pointe Coupée, St. Martin, St. Landry, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Terrebonne, Plaquemines, and other parishes south of Orleans.

Which variety of French do we mean when we say "this variety of French"? Are we talking about Cajun French (which is the topic of the article) or are we talking about Louisiana French Creole (which is technically not a variety of French but a separate language with very strong French influence)? I was going to make an edit to clear it up but am too confused to be bold. Also, if we are not talking about Cajun French but some other variety (or another related language) then do we need it in the lede? (The fact that it is in the lede at all is the only thing that makes me suspect we are talking about Cajun French and not the Creole language.) Dusty|💬|You can help! 13:57, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Wait, what?[edit]

So according to this article, Cajuns, living in Acadiana, don't speak Cajun French. The people Cajuns would say speak Creole actually speak Cajun. The only link that backs up this pretty bizarre assertion leads to nothing. The section listing the Acadiana parishes as the places where Cajuns all don't know what they speak is written in alarming grammar that tastes strongly of someone wedging an unsupported personal opinion into the article; it also includes a city listed as a parish and includes no links to back it up. If this is going to stay in this article, it needs documentation (and a good whacking with a grammar stick). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

Difference between "Cajun" and "Louisiana" French[edit]

Simply put, there is no difference between the two terms. The term "Louisiana French," while not so common in everyday speech, is a much more accurate and PC term to use, because Cajuns are not the only ones in the area who use Louisiana French, and there is no dialect of Louisiana French that only Cajuns (and not their neighbors) use. So, I'd suggest merging this article into Louisiana French to dispel the notion that the two terms somehow refer to different things, and to clean up duplicated sections. (talk) 20:33, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Consider adding Jim Soileau to Notable Louisiana French-speaking people[edit]

As the "Voice of KVPI" for nearly 50 years, his is one of the most widely known voices speaking Cajun French. If you listened to Cajun French radio in the last 50 years, there is a good chance you were listening to him. For much of that time period, he also conducted the live on location broadcast in Cajun French (including the life music coverage from Fred's Lounge in Mamou}. Even now in his late 70's and semi-retired, he still gives the news in Cajun French and co-host a Cajun French talk show twice a week.

He has been featured in articles about Cajun French by the New York Times[3] and Public Radio International[4]. He is also a major and predominant supporter of the preservation and revival of Cajun French. InfinityzeN (talk) 00:48, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^
  2. ^ Clint Bruce & Jennifer Gibson (2002). Cajun French-English/English-Cajun French. NY, New York: Hippocrene Books, Inc.
  3. ^ Fausset, Richard (14 February 2015). "In Louisiana, Desire for a French Renaissance". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Porzucki, Nina (4 March 2015). "This Louisiana radio station likes their news 'en Franglais'". Public Radio International. Retrieved 1 October 2016.