SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

The situation of French in Louisiana and its relationship to ethnicity is often presented in an oversimplified way. Misunderstandings of the terms Cajun and Creole tend to lead to a perception that Louisiana Francophone categories are easy to define or correspond simply to language varieties bearing the same names. In fact, historical changes to both Cajun and Creole identities have led to today’s conflation of terms that belies a much more complex state of affairs featuring considerable linguistic diversity. Furthermore, the focus on these two terms has ignored a third group of Francophones, American Indians. Linguistic fieldwork reveals that Cajuns, Creoles, and Indians all express their identities by manipulating the language differently, but that labels given are not always reliable indicators of the type of French spoken.