Field Method in Four Cajun Communities in Louisiana

  • Sylvie Dubois
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


Cajun French (CF), the speech variety of a community struggling against severe linguistic alienation, is still spoken in Louisiana, though there are only a few elderly monolingual Cajun speakers remaining. Exactly where CF is spoken, how widespread its use, and in what situations and how frequently it is used, however, are the domain of anecdote and speculation. No systematic empirical study involving a meaningful number of speakers has been previously undertaken on the use and the structure of spoken CF. The claims that have been made about the disappearance and survival of CF and the Cajun communities can be little more than guesswork and generalization based on researchers’ intuitions and experiences with a few speakers from one or two communities rather than on solid empirical tendencies. Even estimating the number of CF speakers is an uncertain enterprise. The 1990 census furnished information on the language use of Franco-Americans, but this information is of little use because the formulation of the question permitted respondents who have only limited or theoretical knowledge of French, and who do not actually use it, to consider themselves French-speakers.


Native Speaker Field Method Baton Rouge Speech Community Linguistic Ability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvie Dubois
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of French and ItalianLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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