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A map of Louisiana, USA

Louisiana Creole: Learn the Local Lingo

Image Credit: | Above: A map of Louisiana, USA

Bonjou! Konmen lé-z'affè?

Sound familiar? That's because it's Louisiana Creole, a French Creole language spoken by the Louisiana Creole people of the state of Louisiana. It possesses elements of French, Spanish, African and Native American, and is mainly favoured by adults over 60, with those under 30 generally preferring English. With around 70,000 native speakers, its origins lie in the Acadian and French immigrants and French and African Creoles who migrated to Louisiana from the West Indies during the eighteenth century.

Want to speak Creole? Here are some useful sayings:

Joie de vivre (zhwa-d-veev) An upbeat attitude towards life.

Pirogue (pee-row) A Cajun canoe for two.

Cajun (cay-jun) Slang for Acadians, the French-speaking people who migrated to South Louisiana from Nova Scotia during the eighteenth century. Now generally applies to the people, culture and cooking.

Andouille (ahn-do-ee) A spicy country sausage used in Gumbo and other Cajun cuisine.

Bayou (bi-yoo) The streams crisscrossing Louisiana. Usually sluggish and marshy.

Gumbo (gum-boe) A popular, thick soup with countless variations.

Lagniappe (lon-yap) Cajun for ‘something extra’. An unexpected nice surprise.

Fais do do (fay-doe-doe) A party where traditional Cajun dance is performed. The phrase literally means ‘to make sleep'.