Episode 17: Barry Ancelet, part 3, on the future of Louisiana French

This week, we finish our discussion with Barry Ancelet. We turn to the future of Louisiana French, how it’s expressing itself, and the positive signs that there is a bright future ahead for French in Louisiana.

PHOTO CREDIT: Philip Gould


  • the stigmatization and the “double minority status” of Louisiana French
  • questions that arise in being part of the Francophone world
  • organized standardization of French
  • writing (or the lack of) Louisiana French
  • the loss of French through the generations
  • how Louisiana French was de-stigmatized
  • how music today is a representative of Louisiana French “in motion”
  • Louisiana French and the younger generation
  • the effect of immersion programs on the language today
  • How much hope is there for the future of French in Louisiana?
  • how young people are finding ways to use French
  • French in Louisiana as a “performance language”
  • What is a “grammar”? Does an oral language have one?
  • the importance of vetting transcriptions, and working together to do them
  • What is a mondegreen?
  • the value of using French, writing French, and teaching French


  • C’est pas comme ça que ça se dit. = That’s not how you say that.
  • Ça ne se dit pas. = Nobody says that.
  • Oui, ça se dit, je viens de le dire. = Sure people say that, I just said it.
  • C’est intéressant comment vous dites ça. = It’s interesting how you all say that.
  • Non, ici c’est pas intéressant, ici c’est normal. Ici, vous êtes intéressant(s). = No, it’s not interesting. Here, it’s normal. Here, you are interesting.
  • la francophonie = the French-speaking world
  • L’école a détruit le français, l’école doit le restaurer. = School killed French, school should restore it.
  • Écrire en français, c’est parier sur l’avenir. = In Louisiana, writing in French is betting on the future.


  • Brown, Becky. 1993. “The Social Consequences of Writing Louisiana French.” Language in Society 22 (1): 67–101.
  • Arceneaux, Jean. 2012. Le Trou Dans Le Mur: Fabliaux Cadiens. Moncton: Éditions Perce-Neige.
  • Grégoire, Henri. 1794. “Rapport Sur La Nécessité et Les Moyens d’anéantir Les Patois et d’universaliser l’usage de La Langue Française.” Paris.
  • Hadley Castille, “200 Lines: I Must Not Speak French“: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ky2wwhnOaA
  • Valdman, Albert, Kevin J. Rottet, Barry Jean Ancelet, Richard Guidry, Thomas A. Klingler, Amanda LaFleur, Tamara Lindner, Michael D. Picone, and Dominique Ryon, eds. 2010. Dictionary of Louisiana French: As Spoken in Cajun, Creole, and American Indian Communities. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
  • Allain, Mathé, Barry Jean Ancelet, Tamara Lindner, and May Rush Gwin Waggoner. 2017. Anthologie de la littérature louisianaise d’expression française de 1682 à nos jours. Lafayette, LA: UL Lafayette Press.
  • Festivals Acadiens et Créoles: https://www.festivalsacadiens.com
  • Ancelet, Barry Jean. 1988. “A Perspective on Teaching the ‘Problem Language’ in Louisiana.” The French Review 61 (3): 345–56.

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