Episode 15: Barry Ancelet, part 1, on Louisiana French

This week we begin a three-part series on Louisiana French with Dr. Barry Ancelet, noted folklorist and expert in Cajun culture. We talk about how French came to be spoken in Louisiana, how it thrived, how it was threatened, and the work that has been to help maintain it going forward.

PHOTO CREDIT: Philip Gould


  • The establishment of CODOFIL
  • The choice of “what French” to use in the beginning of CODOFIL
  • political questions of English and other languages in the development of the nation
  • the establishment of English in Louisiana and how that affected political discussions in Louisiana
  • important events in Louisiana history that affected French in Louisiana
  • how French persisted in the rural areas of Louisiana
  • the banning of French in schools
  • the effect of WWII on French in Louisiana
  • the counter-culture movement in the US, and how it played out in Louisiana
  • the effect of radio on French in Louisiana
  • “What would have been our books, if we had been able to write?”
  • literature and the lack of books in Louisiana
  • the change from French to Louisiana in “expressive culture”
  • the transition from orality to written language
  • how to represent “non-standard” variation
  • the euphonic z as liaison in Louisiana French
  • coming to agreement on how to write Louisiana French
  • traditional patterns of spelling vs “accurate” spellings
  • some features are explained by the creolization process
  • what about the term “Standard French”


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