|Kréyol La Lwizyàn|
|Spoken in||Louisiana, particularly St. Martin Parish, Natchitoches Parish, St. Landry Parish, Jefferson Parish and Lafayette Parish, Illinois and a small community in East Texas. Significant community in California; chiefly in Northern California|
|Total speakers||~70,000 (as of 1985)|
|Language family||Creole language
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.|
Louisiana Creole (Kréyol La Lwizyàn) is a French Creole language spoken by the mixed Louisiana Creole people of the state of Louisiana. The language consists of elements of French, Native American, Spanish, and West African roots.
Speakers of Louisiana Creole French 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 and sizable communities of Louisiana Creole-speakers in Southeast Texas (Houston, Port Arthur, Beaumont, Galveston) and the Chicago area. California has the most Creole speakers of any state outside of Louisiana, and the number of speakers in California may in fact surpass that of Louisiana. Louisiana Creole French speakers in California reside in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino counties and in Northern California (Alameda, Sacramento, San Francisco, Mendocino, Plumas, Tehama, Siskiyou, Napa, Sierra, Mono and Yuba counties; notably in Tennant, California).
St. Martin Parish forms the heart of the Creole-speaking region. Other sizeable communities exist along Bayou Têche in St. Landry, Iberia and St. Mary Parishes. There are smaller communities on False River in Pointe-Coupée Parish, and along the lower Mississippi River in Ascension, St. Charles, and St. James 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, la and les used in standard French (a testament of possible decreolization in some areas) and a and la for the singular, and yé for the plural. In St. Martin Parish, the masculine definite article, whether le or -a, 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 and Cajun French, 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 (conditional), sa (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.
|we||nous, nous-zòt (Nous autres)||nous|
|you (plural)||vous, zòt, vous-zòt (vous autres)||vous|
|How are things?||Konmen lé-z'affè||Comment vont les affaires?|
|How are you doing?||Konmen to yê?||Comment allez-vous? Comment vas-tu? Comment ça va?|
|I'm good, thanks.||C'est bon, mèsi.||Ça va bien, merci.|
|See you later.||Wa toi pli tar.||Je te vois (vois-toi) plus tard. (À plus tard.)|
|I love you.||Mo laime toi.||Je t'aime.|
|Take care.||Swinye-toi.||Soigne-toi. (Prends soin de toi.)|
|Good Night.||Bonswa.||Bonne nuit.|