Louisiana Creole

Louisiana Creole is an endangered French creole spoken by Blacks, Whites, and Creoles of Color in several disparate locations in south Louisiana. While no reliable figures exist, we estimate that there are today well under 10,000 speakers of the language; we are not aware of any remaining monolingual speakers. The most fluent speakers are generally elderly, and younger speakers often have gaps in their lexicon and practice frequent codeswitching between Creole and English. We have chosen as the default lect the variety spoken in and around the town of Breaux Bridge, first, because a detailed description of this variety exists (Neumann 1985), and second, because it is in this area that the largest concentration of Louisiana Creole speakers is to be found. The APiCS description of Louisiana Creole also includes two additional lects, identified as geographical (Pointe Coupee) and old texts. Geographical (Pointe Coupee) refers to the variety spoken in and around the town of New Roads in Pointe Coupee Parish as described in Klingler (2003), while old texts refers to the basilectal variety of the language that is represented in nineteenth-century texts such as those found in Neumann-Holzschuh (1987), our main source for this lect. Louisiana Creole co-exists with a regional variety of French (commonly called “Cajun French”) and, especially, English. Both languages have had profound effects on the way that Creole is spoken. Borrowing and codeswitching are common, and it seems likely that contact with regional French is at least partly responsible for the differences that can be observed between the default lect described here and the more basilectal variety found in the old texts lect.

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No. Feature Value % lect Details Source
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

øhigher mid front rounded oral vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)
œlower mid front rounded oral vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source