is a French Creole
A French Creole, or French-based Creole language, is a creole language based on the French language, more specifically on a 17th century koiné French extant in Paris, the French Atlantic harbors, and the nascent French colonies...
language spoken by the Louisiana Creole people
Louisiana Creole people refers to those who are descended from the colonial settlers in Louisiana, especially those of French and Spanish descent. The term was first used during colonial times by the settlers to refer to those who were born in the colony, as opposed to those born in the Old World...
of the state of Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...
. The language consists of elements of French
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...
There are over 2100 and by some counts over 3000 languages spoken natively in Africa in several major language families:*Afro-Asiatic spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel...
, and Native American
Indigenous languages of the Americas are spoken by indigenous peoples from Alaska and Greenland to the southern tip of South America, encompassing the land masses which constitute the Americas. These indigenous languages consist of dozens of distinct language families as well as many language...
Speakers of Louisiana Creole are mainly concentrated in south and southwest Louisiana, where the population of Creolophones is distributed across the region. There are also numbers of Creolophones in Natchitoches Parish on Cane River
Cane River is a lake and river formed from a portion of the Red River that is located in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. In the 19th and 20th centuries, it has been best known as the site of a historic Creole de couleur culture that has centers upon the National Historic Landmark Melrose...
and sizable communities of Louisiana Creole-speakers in Southeast Texas
Southeast Texas is a subregion of East Texas located in the southeast corner of the U.S. state of Texas. The subregion is geographically centered around the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown and Beaumont–Port Arthur metropolitan areas...
Beaumont ,Texas (Houston
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...
, Port Arthur
-Demographics:As of the 2000 census, there were 57,755 people, 21,839 households, and 14,675 families residing in the city. The population density was 696.5 people per square mile . There were 24,713 housing units at an average density of 298.0 per square mile...
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...
) and the Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...
has the most Creole speakers of any state outside Louisiana, and the number of speakers may surpass that of Louisiana . Louisiana Creole speakers in California reside in Los Angeles
Los Angeles County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of 2010 U.S. Census, the county had a population of 9,818,605, making it the most populous county in the United States. Los Angeles County alone is more populous than 42 individual U.S. states...
, San Diego
San Diego County is a large county located in the southwestern corner of the US state of California. Hence, San Diego County is also located in the southwestern corner of the 48 contiguous United States. Its county seat and largest city is San Diego. Its population was about 2,813,835 in the 2000...
Riverside County and San Bernardino
San Bernardino County is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 2,035,210, up from 1,709,434 as of the 2000 census...
counties and in Northern California (Alameda
Alameda County is a county in the U.S. state of California. It occupies most of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 1,510,271, making it the 7th most populous county in the state...
, Berkeley ,Oakland , San Jose , San Marino , Sacramento
Sacramento County is a county in the U.S. state of California. Its county seat is Sacramento, which is also the state capital. As of 2010 the county had a population of 1,418,788....
, San Francisco
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...
Mendocino County is a county located on the north coast of the U.S. state of California, north of the greater San Francisco Bay Area and west of the Central Valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 87,841, up from 86,265 at the 2000 census...
Plumas County is a county located in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California. The county gets its name from the Spanish words for the Feather River , which flows through the county. As of the 2010 census, the population 20,007, down from 20,824 at the 2000 census...
Tehama County is a county located in the northern part of the U.S. state of California. It is bisected by the Sacramento River. As of 2010 its population was 63,463, up from 56,039 as of 2000. The county seat is Red Bluff.-History:...
Siskiyou County is a county located in the far northernmost part of the U.S. state of California, in the Shasta Cascade region on the Oregon border. Yreka is the county seat. Because of its substantial natural beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities, and Gold Rush era history, it is an important...
Napa County is a county located north of the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. state of California. It is coterminous with the Napa, California, Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2010 the population is 136,484. The county seat is Napa....
Sierra County is a county located in the Sierra Nevada of the U.S. state of California, northeast of Sacramento on the border with Nevada. As of the 2010 census the population was 3,240, down from 3,555 at the 2000 census. The county seat is Downieville....
Mono County is a county located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of California, to the east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,202, up from 12,853 at the 2000 census...
Yuba County is a county located in the U.S. state of California's Central Valley, north of Sacramento, along the Feather River. As of the 2010 census, its population was 72,155. The county seat is Marysville. Yuba County is part of the Greater Sacramento area.-History:Yuba County was one of the...
counties; notably in Tennant, California
Tennant is a census-designated place in Siskiyou County, California, United States. The population was 41 at the 2010 census, down from 63 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Tennant is located at ....
St. Martin Parish forms the heart of the Creole-speaking region. Other sizeable communities exist along Bayou Têche in St. Landry, Avoyelles ,Iberia and St. Mary Parishes. There are smaller communities on False River in Terrebone Parish , Pointe-Coupée Parish], and along the lower Mississippi River in Ascension, St. Charles, and St. James and St.John the Baptist parishes (Klingler; Marshall; Valdman).
The grammar of Louisiana Creole is very similar to that of Haitian Creole. Definite articles in Louisiana Creole vary between the le
used in standard French (a testament of possible decreolization in some areas) and a
for the singular, and yé
for the plural. In St. Martin Parish, the masculine definite article, whether le
, is often omitted altogether.
In theory, Creole places its definite articles after the noun, unlike French. Given Louisiana Creole's complex linguistic relationship with Colonial French
Colonial French or Colonial Louisiana French is one of the three dialects into which Louisiana French is typically divided . Formerly spoken widely in what is now the U.S...
and Cajun French
Cajun French is a variety or dialects of the French language spoken primarily in Louisiana, specifically in the southern and southwestern parishes....
, however, this is often no longer the case. Since there is no system of noun gender, articles only vary on phonetic criteria. The article a
is placed after words ending in a vowel, and la
is placed after words ending in a consonant.
Another aspect of Louisiana Creole which is unlike French is the lack of verb conjugation. Verbs do not vary based on person or number. Verbs vary based on verbal markers (e.g., té
(past tense), sé
(future)) which are placed between the personal pronouns and conjugated verbs (e.g. mo té kourí au Villaj
, "I went to Lafayette"). Frequently in the past tense, the verbal marker is omitted and one is left to figure out the time of the event through context.
The vocabulary of Louisiana Creole is of French, African, Native American and Spanish origin. Most local vocabulary, i.e. topography, animals, plants are of regional Amerindian origin - mostly substrata of the Choctaw or Mobilian Language group. The language possesses vestiges of west and central African languages (namely Bambara, Wolof, Fon) in folklore and in the religion of voodoo. The grammar, however, remains distinct from that of French (Midlo Hall; Klingler; Valdman).
Included are the French numbers for comparison.
|| Louisiana Creole
|| Louisiana Creole
||nou, nou-zòt (nous-autres)
||vou, zòt, vou-zòt (vous-autres)
|| Louisiana Creole
|How are things?
||Comment vont les affaires?
|How are you doing?
||Konmen to yê?
||Comment allez-vous? Comment vas-tu? Comment ça va?
|I'm good, thanks.
||Çé bon, mèsi.
||Ça va bien, merci.
|See you later.
||Wa (twa) pli tar.
||Je te vois (vois-toi) plus tard. (À plus tard.)
|I love you.
||Mo laimm twa.
||Soigne-toi. (Prends soin de toi.)
||Bonswa. / Bonnwí.