A Structural Sketch of the Cajun French Spoken in Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes

  • Robert A. Papen
  • Kevin J. Rottet
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes together constitute a former delta of the Mississippi River known as the Lafourche Basin. Geographically, the area is crossed by a number of bayous, and the Gulf Coast is in fact extensive marshland. Undoubtedly due to the relative geographic isolation of much of the area, the levels of retention of Cajun French (CF) are reported to be higher here than in most other parts of Acadiana (Trépanier, 1989), with retention reaching its highest point in the communities of small-scale fishermen (Larouche, 1979) and among the Houma Indians of the coastal marshes. The Houma Indians, who have inhabited the area since the late 18th century, have embraced in large part the lifestyle and language of their Cajun neighbors, and in some Indian families, the children still receive their primary socialization in French. This is not the case in the vast majority of Cajun families, among whom the language is in serious decline and is no longer the language of homes in which there are young children. Although there are no studies on the CF of the Houma Indians, it is regarded by the community as being the same as or very similar to that of the Cajuns.


Relative Clause Baton Rouge Personal Pronoun Past Participle Short Stem 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Papen
    • 1
  • Kevin J. Rottet
    • 2
  1. 1.Département de linguistiqueUniversité du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Creole InstituteIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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