Louisiana Creole French

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Louisiana Creole
Native to Louisiana, (particularly St. Martin Parish, Natchitoches Parish, St. Landry Parish, Jefferson Parish, Lafayette Parish and Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana); also in California (chiefly Southern California), Illinois, and a small community in East Texas.[citation needed]
Native speakers
unknown (70,000 cited 1985)[1]
French Creole
  • Louisiana Creole
Language codes
ISO 639-3 lou
Glottolog loui1240[2]
Linguasphere 51-AAC-ca
Louisiana French.svg
French spread in Louisiana. Parishes marked in yellow are those where 4–10% of the population speak French or Louisiana French at home, orange 10–15%, red 15–20%, brown 20–30%.

Louisiana Creole (kréyol la lwizyàn; French: créole louisianais) is a French-based creole language spoken by some of the Creole people of the state of Louisiana. The language largely consists of elements of French and African languages.


Creole-speaking parishes in Louisiana

Speakers of Louisiana Creole 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 (Beaumont, Houston, Port Arthur, Galveston) and the Chicago area. Louisiana Creole speakers in California reside in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino counties and in Northern California (San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento County, Plumas County, Tehama County, Mono County, and Yuba County.)[citation needed]

Speaker demographics

St. Martin Parish forms the heart of the Creole-speaking region. Other sizeable communities exist along Bayou Têche in St. Landry, Avoyelles, Iberia, and St. Mary Parishes. There are smaller communities on False River in Terrebone Parish, Pointe-Coupée Parish, and along the lower Mississippi River in Ascension, St. Charles Parish, and St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.[3]


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 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., (past tense), çé (conditional), ça (future)) which are placed between the personal pronouns and conjugated verbs (e.g. Mo té kourí ô 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 primarily of French origin, with some influences from African and Native American languages. Most local vocabulary, such as 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 and Louisiana Creole is not the same as Haitian Creole. There are also different dialects of Louisiana Creole some are mixed with Spanish and sound almost like Portuguese.[4]


Included are the French numbers for comparison.

Number Louisiana Creole French
1 un un
2 deux
3 trò/trwa trois
4 kat quatre
5 cink cinq
6 sis six
7 sèt sept
8 wit huit
9 nèf neuf
10 dis dix

Personal pronouns[5]

English Louisiana Creole French
I mo je
me mwin moi
you (informal) to tu
you (formal) vou vous
he li, sa il
she li, sa elle
we nou, nou-zòt (nous-autres) nous
you (plural) vou, zòt, vou-zòt (vous-autres) vous
they (masculine) ils
they (feminine) elles


English Louisiana Creole French
Hello Bonjou Bonjour
How are things? Konmen lé-zafè? Comment vont les affaires ?
How are you doing? Konmen to yê? Konmen ç'ap(é) kouri? Konmen ça va? Comment allez-vous ? Comment vas-tu ? Comment ça va ?
I'm good, thanks. Çé bon, mèsi. Mo bien, mèsi. Ça va bien, merci.
See you later. Wa (twa) pli tar. Je te vois (vois-toi) plus tard. (À plus tard.)
I love you. Mo laimé twa. Je t'aime.
Take care. Swinn-twa. Soigne-toi. (Prends soin de toi.)
Good Morning. Bonjou. Bonjour.
Good Evening. Bonswa. Bonsoir.
Good Night. Bonswa. / Bonnwí. Bonne nuit.

The Lord's Prayer

Nouzòt Popá, ki dan syèl-la
Tokin nom, li sinkifyè,
N'ap spéré pou to
rwayomm arivé, é n'a fé ça
t'olé dan syèl ; paréy si la tèujr
Donné-nou jordi dipin tou yé jou,
é pardon nouzòt péshé paréy nou pardon
lê moun ki fé nouzòt sikombé tentasyon-la,
Mé délivré nou depi mal.

Common verbs

Galopé: to run upon
Parlé: to speak
Manjé: to eat, (n) food
Vini: to come
Sayé: to try
Bliyé: to forget
Pélé: to call
laimé: to love, to like
Hayi: to hate, to dislike
vwyajé: to travel
Ri: to laugh
Arêté: to stop
Fé(r): to do, to make
Dormi: to sleep
Shanté: to sing
Dansé: to dance
Jonglé: to ponder
Pensé: to think
Maré: to attach
Kouri: to run, to go
Ganyé, gain: to have
Di: to say, to tell
Souveni: to remember
Tandé: to hear, to listen
Ekri: to write
Ekouté: to listen
Mèt: to put
Mouri: to die
Pran: to take
Konté: to count
Kwa: to believe
Wa(r): to see
Gardé: to watch
Trouvé: to find
Kaçhé: to hide
Héré: to be happy
Tristé: to be sad
Kontan: to be content, satisfied
Asi: to sit
Rekont: to meet
Voyé: to send
Konné: to know
Swèt: to hope, wish, believe
Twé: to kill
Frappé: to hit
Mélanjé: to blend
Boukané: to smoke (food)
Okipé/Busy: to be occupied,
Advancé: to advance
Endromî: fall asleep
Las: to be exhausted
Ouvrajé: to labor, to work
Sijesté: to suggest
Yê: to be, ex. Konmen to yê: how are you, "how you be." literally
Navigé: to navigate
Pliyé: to fold
Édé: to help
Ini: to unite
Separé: to separate
Divorcé: to separate, divorce
Bwa/Bwé/Bwéson: to drink
Swaf: to have thirst, to be thirsty.
Kontinué: to continue
Pran: to take
Aprann/pran: to learn
Kombaté/Baté: to fight
Engajé: to engage
Oulé/Olé/Vlé: to want
Gélé: to freeze
Friyé: to fry
Fumé: smoke cigarettes
Sharé/Kozé/Paré: to chat, gossip

See also


  1. Louisiana Creole at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Louisiana Creole". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Kirstin Squint, A Linguistic and Cultural Comparison of Haitian Creole and Louisiana Creole, postcolonial.org, Accessed March 11, 2014
  4. Albert Valdman, Dictionary of Louisiana Creole, Indiana University Press, 1998, pp. 3-4.
  5. * Louisiana Creole Dictionary

Further reading

  • Fortier, Alcée (1895). "Louisiana Folk-Tales in French Dialect and English Translation". Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society. II. Retrieved 11 April 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kein, Sybil (2005). Learn to Speak Louisiana French Creole: An Introduction. Gumbo People Products.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Kein, Sybil (2006). Maw-Maw's Creole ABC Book. Gumbo People Products.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Valdman, Albert; et al. (1998). Dictionary of Louisiana Creole. Indiana University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Klinger, Thomas A. (2003). If I could turn my tongue like that: The Creole Language of Pointe-Coupée Parish, Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • laFleur II, John, Costello, Brian (2013). Speaking In Tongues, Louisiana's Colonial French, Creole & Cajun Languages Tell Their Story. BookRix GmbH & Co. KG.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Brasseaux, Carl (2005). French, Cajun, Creole, Houma: A Primer on Francophone Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links