BlackFacts Details

Louisiana Creole

Louisiana Creole (kréyol la lwizyàn; French: créole louisianais) is a French-based creole language spoken by far fewer than 10,000 people, mostly in the state of Louisiana.[3] Due to the rapidly shrinking number of speakers, Louisiana Creole is considered an endangered language.[4]

Louisiana Creole was spoken initially by those living in the French slave colony of Louisiana. Many of the enslaved Africans came from Senegambia region of West Africa beginning in about 1719. These people originally spoke a Mande language related to Manlike and they were in contact with other languages such as Ewe, Yoruba and Kikongo. [5]

Louisiana Creole is a contact language that arose from interactions between speakers of French and various African languages in the 18th century. For this reason, prior to its establishment, the precursor to Louisiana Creole was considered a pidgin language. In its historical backdrop, this pidgin was born to facilitate communication between African slaves and francophone land owners. Once the pidgin tongue was transmitted to the next generation (who were then considered the first native speakers of the new grammar), it could effectively be considered a creole language.

In the case of Louisiana Creole, a diglossia resulted between Louisiana Creole– a language spoken almost exclusively by African slaves and their descendants – and Plantation Society French (PSF) also known as Colonial French. The latter was frequently associated with plantation owners, plantation overseers, small landowners, military officers/soldiers and bilingual, free people of color. Over the centuries, Louisiana Creole’s negative associations with slavery have stigmatized the language to the point where many speakers are reluctant to use it for fear of ridicule. In this way, the assignment of “high” variety (or H language) was allotted to PSF and that of “low” variety (or L language) was given to Louisiana Creole (please refer to diglossia for more information on H and L languages).[6]

As a result of Louisiana becoming one

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