|comment : I
enjoy your 'blog' and the news you share along with your experiences. I
am a teacher of modern French, it's true, but I also teach my students
the 'equivalent' expressions used in our wonderful old French dialect
called 'Cajun' or 'Creole'; the differences between these two pale, but
still known only to those among us who still know the languages and the
patterns they follow from region to region in our state.
The more than 21+ dialects in France should reassure those among us who
doubt, or who just don't know, that while we don't speak (and should
not) modern (Parisian) French, neither have the French, notwithstanding
Mitterand's dictum and agelong efforts of L'Academie Francaise. Parisian
French IS the STANDARD for France, and consequently, for most schools
I endeavor to teach my students the 'differences' between modern French
and our very old and venerable historic French. I point out that like
modern French, our historic French speakers in early Louisiana
interacted and depended upon the Indians and several other groups to get
around the strange new land of 'Louis et Ana'.
Being men of adventure, culture and, in many cases, often overlooked,
educated, they prided themselves on assimilating 'exotic' words to
enrich their stories and impress their hearers back in the old country
who eagerly awaited such tales as seen in the works of Chateaubriand.
He actually wore leather and a coon hat to the court starting a fad in
Paris itself! The French still view Louisiana as 'exotique'. I travel to
France almost every year, as both guide and interpreter, and inevitably,
I'm asked to 'say it as you would in louisiana'; I do and they rejoice,
saying: "Il parle comme nos ancetres!" (He speaks like our ancestors!)
Few realize that the French, today, marvel at how 'proper' not at how
'incorrect' our French dialect still is; notwithstanding two centuries
of discontinued use of writing in the language!
Of course, there are those occasional visitors at the Festival
International, in Lafayette, who come expecting, as do many fellow
Americans, who expecting to understand us because "I have studied
French" they say, who leave confused and disappointed at their inability
to comprehend the now 300 year old dialect. I wonder if they are so
ill-informed as to believe French remained in it's earliest form, never
changing or evolving? The answer is obvious from the conclusions they
We DO NOT SPEAK MODERN FRENCH, never have, never claimed to.
Assimilation of Indian, African or any other words is NOT a valid
measure or whether or not, we "SPEAK REAL FRENCH". If this were the
case, or standard, then modern Parisian French is no more a valid form
of French than English is a valid form of English since Elizabethan
It's too bad that such ignorance so confuses the perception, as does the
indifference of many 'teachers' of "French" such as those fossilized in
the 'ALLIANCE FRANCAISE'. This attitude of disdain, and general
cynicism, will kill everyday usage and ultimately, will result in
'extinction' of our beloved Louisiana French.
Far from feeling 'inferior' to modern French users, or the ignorant who
pretend to know any "French" at all, and who don't know the difference
between old and modern, let us continue to SPEAK IN FRENCH among
ourselves, with our friends, children and any who want to hear.
I would also call for an expulsion of the CODOFIL AND ALLIANCE PEOPLE
who refuse to teach RESPECT for our old Louisiana French.
We invite you to keep Louisiana French alive by joining (free of
charge) the efforts being made to get together throughout Acadiana to do
just that, while enjoying coffee, lunch or any other recreation soon to
The only way to guarantee that our French will survive is to start
hiring qualified, literate Louisiana French teachers; not ethnocentric
Parisians who look down on OUR culture and OUR form of FRENCH, and most
of whom our children/students don't relate to or understand, while they
look down upon us. We need people of pride and who are determined,
through use and instruction, to carry on. We need to honor those of OUR
There is an attempt, thank God and sensible men and women who care, to
do just that.
Arnaudville, I'm told is spearheading a movement for those who want to
meet to speak, eat and recreate while using OUR, FRENCH along with the
modern form, side by side, for stimulation of interest, immersion and
just to have a good time, cher!
Let me invite any who are interested to join us. I live in Washington,
La. in a place once a Creole French plantation, owned by Jean-Batiste
LaFleur, and now a Bed'n Breakfast Guesthouse & Tea Room (COURTABLEAU
We will also begin a French conversation class at the new, Washington
Municipal Library on Main St. starting in the Spring. Classes will be
free and open to the public. One of our instructors will be Agnes
Courville, who is French, from Lyon, but who has great respect for OUR
French. I will join her to guide instruction to include OUR FRENCH,
along with helping our own folks grow into modern FRENCH! Yeah, cher,
we CAN HAVE OUR GATEAU AND EAT IT TOO!
thank you for this lovely forum,
We are open to the interested public every Saturday afternoon from
1:00-5:00pm for FREE coffee and all the French you want to learn. We
are located at 225 W Carriere St. in downtown Washington, two doors
behind the only bank in town, Washington State Bank. VENEZ CAUSER AVEC
NOUS AUTRES! ON VA FAIRE DU BON CAFE (MELLO JOY OU COMMUNITY) CALL US AT
337 331 5681 OR EMAIL;
This attitude, even among 'leaders' of the Alliance Francaise, is a
contagion which will ultimately