Structure dataset 53: Louisiana Creole

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 53.

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


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d k g
Sibilant affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z ʃ ʒ
Non-sibilant fricative f v h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap ɾ
Trill r
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative ɬ
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel yhigh front rounded vowel nasalized high front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel nasalized high back rounded vowel ɪlowered high front unrounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel øhigher mid front rounded oral vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel œlower mid front rounded oral vowel ɛ̃nasalized lower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel ɔ̃nasalized lower mid back rounded vowel æraised low front unrounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel ɑlow back unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value lect Details Source