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Acadiana, the tradtitional Cajun homeland and the stronghold of both the Cajun French and English dialects.

Cajun English is the dialect of English spoken by Cajuns living in southern Louisiana and, to some extent, in eastern Texas. Cajun English is significantly influenced by Cajun French, the historical language of the Cajun people, a direct descendant of Acadian French, which differs somewhat from Metropolian or Parisian French in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary, particularly because of the long isolation of Acadians, and even more so Cajuns, from the Francophone world. English is now spoken by the vast majority of the Cajun population, but French influence remains strong in terms of inflection and vocabulary, and the accent is quite distinct from the General American[1].


Part of the Cajun identity

While Cajun French is considered by many to be an endangered language, mostly used by elderly generations, Cajun English is spoken by even the youngest Cajuns, and is considered to be part of the identity of the ethnic group.

Features of Cajun English

Cajun English distinguishes itself with some of the following features:

  • Many vowels which are separate in General American English are pronounced the same way, for example, the words hill and heel are homophones, both being pronounced /hɪɹl/.
  • Stress is generally placed on the second or last syllable of a word, a feature directly inherited from French.
  • The voiceless and voiced alveolar stops /t/ and/d/ often replace dental fricatives, a feature used by both Cajun English speakers and speakers of Louisiana Creole French (Standard French speakers generally render dental fricatives as alveolar). Examples include "bath" being pronounced as "bat" and "they" as "day."
  • Cajun English speakers generally do not aspirate the consonants /p/, /t/, or /k/. As a result, the words "par" and "bar" can sound very similar.
  • The inclusion of many loanwords, calques, and phrases from French, such as "nonc" (uncle, from the French oncle), "cher" (dear, pronounced /ʃæ/, from the French cher), and "making groceries" (to shop for groceries, a calque of the Cajun French faire des groceries (épicerie))

These are a few other examples.

English Cajun English (pronounced)
Ask Aks
They Dey
Them Dem
Those Dose
Something Sometin
Think Fink or Tink
Enough Nuff
Respect Respek
Except Sept

Other Examples of Cajun Vocabulary

  • Allons!: Let's go!
  • alors pas: of course not
  • fais do do: to go to sleep or a dance party
  • Dis-mon la vérité! : Tell me the truth!
  • quo' faire? : Why?
  • magasin: store
  • en colère: to be angry
  • mo chagren: I’m sorry
  • suçette: pacifier
  • une piastre: a dollar
  • caleçon: underwear
  • sha (or cher) (a is pronounced like a in apple): dear or darling(used as an interjection)
  • mais no, cher: of course not, dear!



  1. ^ Do You Speak American . Sea to Shining Sea . American Varieties . Cajun | PBS

See also



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