Episode 18: Amanda Lafleur, part 1, on the development of the Dictionary of Louisiana French

This week we continue our conversation about Louisiana French with the first of three episodes taken from our interview with Amanda Lafleur. Dr Ancelet’s interview was about the socio-historical context, while our discussion with Amanda gets more into the actual features of Louisiana French. The first third of the interview talks about the development of the Dictionary of Louisiana French and many of the dynamics involved.


  • the work of developing the Dictionary of Louisiana French
  • a wonderful set of Masters Theses published in the 1930s and 1940s
  • the labels “Cajun French” vs “Louisiana French”
  • waves of French migration into Louisiana, and continued contact with France
  • innovations vs conservations in Louisiana French
  • language and power dynamics
  • archaisms and déformations
  • SEXI verbs
  • prescriptive vs descriptive dictionaries


  • chevrette for ‘shrimp’ : see here
  • je vas and je vais : ‘I am going’
  • offrir ‘to offer’, past participle offert
  • couvrir ‘to cover’, past participle couvert
  • couver ‘to brood (as a chicken)’
  • carton ‘cardboard’ “Do not say cartron.” (Daigle 1984)


  • 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.
  • Daigle, Jules O. 1984. A Dictionary of the Cajun Language. Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers.
  • Lafleur, Amanda. 1999. Tonnerre Mes Chiens!: A Glossary of Louisiana French Figures of Speech. Ville Platte, LA: Renouveau Publishing.
  • Allen, Jarrette K. 2014. “i’ay recours a vous: An Historical and Discursive Analysis of the Lettres Circulaires Des Décédées of the Ursuline Order in Old and New France during the Louisiana French Colonial Period.” Louisiana State University.
  • Grégoire, Henri. 1794. “Rapport Sur La Nécessité et Les Moyens d’anéantir Les Patois et d’universaliser l’usage de La Langue Française.” Paris.
  • La BDLP: Base de données lexicographiques panfrancophone: https://www.bdlp.org

Some of the Masters Theses mentioned in the beginning of the episode:

  • Dugas, Alice M. 1935. “A Glossary of the Variants From Standard-French Used in the Parish of Saint James.” Louisiana State University.
  • Phillips, Hosea. 1935. “A Glossary of the Variants From Standard French Used in Evangeline Parish.” Louisiana State University.
  • Blanc, Bertrand Francois de. 1935. “A Glossary of Variants From Standard French Found in St. Martin Parish , Louisiana.” Louisiana State University.
  • Viator, Audrey Bernard. 1935. “A Glossary of Neologisms, Loan-Words and Variants From Standard-French in the Parish of St. John the Baptist.” Louisiana State University.
  • Parr, Una M. 1940. “A Glossary of the Variants From Standard French in Terrebonne Parish: With an Appendix of Popular Beliefs, Superstitions, Medicine, and Cooking Recipes.” Louisiana State University.
  • Voorhies, Edward T. 1949. “A Glossary of Variants From Standard French in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana: Followed by Some of the Folklore of the Parish.” Louisiana State University.
  • Montgomery, Erin. 1946. “A Glossary of Variants From Standard French in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana.” Louisiana State University.

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