Louisiana Creole is spoken by an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 people in the triangular French-speaking region of Louisiana, known as Acadiana. Unlike Cajun and Colonial French, Creoleis a language apart. It benefits from its own unique grammatical structure, but possesses aheavily influenced
(as opposed to Acadian) vocabulary.Created by Africans brought to Louisiana during its colonial years, today, Creole is spokenby a majority of people of African descent, but has become the mother tongue of some whites as well. Few remain monolingual speakers of the language.Four creole-speaking enclaves have been identified in Louisiana. First, the
, which includes St. Martin, Iberia, St. Mary and parts of St. Landry parishes. St.Martin Parish, especially in St. Martinville, Henderson, Breaux Bridge, Parks and Céciliaremain the most populated creole-speaking regions of the state today. Second, along
in Pointe-Coupée parish, near New Roads, there still are significant amounts of Creole-speakers in the area. The third region identified is nestled along the
Old German Coast
, which includes St. James and St. John the Baptistparishes. The fourth and last identifiable region of creole-speakers lies just north of the city of New Orleans, along
in St. Tammany Parish.
Currently, Louisiana Creole has not benefited from any “campaign to maintain or revitalizeit, as has Cajun French under the CODOFIL program.” There are many reasons whichpossibly explain this disinterest in the preservation and safeguard of Louisiana Creole. Onelies among creolophones themselves. For, never has the creole language in Louisiana beenregarded as a prestigious one. More often than not, it associates the language with slavery (given that most speakers of Creole descend from slaves). To better illustrate the low prestige of the language, the following are common terms often used in reference to thelanguage:
fransè nèg, gombo, nèg, nigger French, negro French
and so on. Whereas CODOFIL andthe State tourism department has found a way to revive pride in the Cajun identity andlanguage, mostly by linking Cajuns with Acadians in Canada and thereby showing that Cajunis arguably French and not a patois, Creolophones have not experienced quite the samerevitalization in identity, whether cultural or linguistic.
Actually, if Louisiana Creolophones knew just how many people spoke a French-basedCreole language similar to theirs, perhaps they would take pride in speaking and passing it onto younger generations. In fact, Creole French is the official language or language of thepeople in the Caribbean; such as Haïti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, the Dominican Republic,Saint Lucy, Dominica; in South America (French Guyana) and in the Indian Ocean(Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion Island). Linking Louisiana speakers of Creoles with thecurrent international linguistic movement would, furthermore, provide a sense of belonging and of importance, considering the importance of the language worldwide.