What is a Cajun?
I have been thinking, maybe some people don't know what Cajun is or where the term comes from. The term derives from where they came from in Canada. The area they resided was Acadia. When they miagrated to Louisiana they were called "Acadians". Because of pronunciations and mispronunciations it morphed into "A'cajian" to "Cajian" then to "Cajun". Most cajuns refer to themselves as Acadie not cajun, especially the older generation. Why did they move to Louisiana? It is a long story but the basics is this. They settled in the new world Nova Scotia and had lived and florished there, the British came and decided that they would take over. They wanted the Acadians to bow to the King of Englend and they would not. Some left, some stayed. Eventually, they had to leave and they were only allowed to take what they could carry. Some walked, some took ships. Not all made it to Louisiana. In Halifax, they were taken prisoners. I myself have ancestors that spent time at Halifax before finally making it to Louisiana. This took years, it didn't happen over night. Interestingly, when cajuns married men/women from other cultures the people they married became more cajun and less of what they were. Many German families lived in Louisiana and intermarried with the cajuns. There are many Cajun names today that derive from German origin, Huval, Schexnayder, Wauespack, and Zeringue. However, not even one German word was intergrated into the cajun langage. It is the same with the Spanish. There are many cajun families with the names Ortegos, Diaz and Romeros. There are some spanish words in the cajun language. Just about everyone in the world is familiar with one of them "Tabasco".
There are 3 main dialects in cajun french "le francais de meche" Marsh French, "Le francaise de grand bois" Big Woods French and "le francais de prairie" Grand Prairie. My family speaks mainly Marsh French. Cajun french was not a written language and was passed down from person to person....and because of pronunciation or mispronunciation or speech impediments....it can vary from family to family.
We call what they speak in France "Standard French". In Standard French, at this time is "a cette heure". In Louisiana it is "aseteur", the seperate words blended together to make one.
Wow Cohphanta, that was fascinating. Like most people I've heard the term thrown about, but I never knew it's origins. Thanks for sharing!
you should travel to Prince Edward Island if you ever have a chance Cohphanta , the Acadian side of the island was very interesting to me. There are still whole sections of the island and new brunswick that are strictly french speaking.
I have plans to go....someday. I actually have been contemplating it for vacation next year. Every year I usually go home and visit family.....