Cajun French: Connections to our Roots

Louisiana is a unique state.  The state itself is shaped like a boot, it is the only state in the country to have parishes instead of counties, and the people and the culture are one of a kind.  The Cajun culture runs deep in Louisiana, and with that culture comes a unique language: Cajun French.  During the Great Migration, French-speaking l’Acadiens were expelled en masse from their home in Canada known as Acadia and found themselves in what is now Louisiana.  The Acadians adapted to their new home, isolated from many, and a culture and language unique to the area developed. 

The language is spoken across ethnic and racial boundaries, and up until recent generations was typically the first language spoken by children until their introduction to English at school.  The Acadians developed a life for themselves in Louisiana, and their language followed suit.  Native American words, Creole words, and English words made their way into the Cajun French language and adapted to the tongue of the Acadians. 

As time wore on and public schools were built, the English language made its way into Acadiana.  Children were taught to speak only English in school under the threat of punishment.  The threat of extinction looms over the Cajun French language, but recently, efforts to preserve the heritage of l’Acadiens have blossomed and sparked a cultural renaissance of sorts.  French is being taught in schools again and the younger generations are learning to play traditional music and cook the traditional food of their people.