06 March 2015

ARTICLE: Viator on Creoles, Cajuns, and Language Law in Louisiana

Adams & Reese Distinguished Professor of Law James Etienne ViatorCreoles, Cajuns, and Language Law in Louisiana

Our friend, James Etienne Viator, of Loyola University (New Orleans) College of Law, has published an interesting article in Louisiana’s laws and languages. The article is available in Cajun French and English and in (Standard) French; they are also in (2014) 60 Loyola Law Review 273 and (2014) 60 Loyola Law Review 273 respectively.

The abstract of the first read:

This article, written in Cajun French and English, examines the word “Creole” and the history of laws about the French language in Louisiana. In recent decades, a growing awareness of the historical diminution of linguistic minorities and their languages around the world has led to increased efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of such minorities. In Louisiana, after decades of relegating Cajun French to second class status, in 1968 the Louisiana legislature created the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), a state agency tasked with preserving “Louisiana’s French language, heritage and culture.” The act establishing CODOFIL mandated that the Council “do any and all things necessary to accomplish the development, utilization, and preservation of the French language as found in the State of Louisiana.” But instead of teaching Cajun French, most Louisiana schools taught standard French, the purpose of CODOFIL was never fully realized, and both the Cajun French language, and culture, are still at risk of disappearing.

The abstracts of the second read:


French Abstract: Cet article, en français, examine le mot «créole» et l'histoire des lois sur la langue française en Louisiane. Au cours des dernières décennies, une prise de conscience de la diminution historique des minorités linguistiques et leurs langues à travers le monde a conduit à redoubler d'efforts pour préserver le patrimoine culturel de ces minorités. En Louisiane, après des décennies de reléguant Cajun français au statut de seconde classe, en 1968, la législature de la Louisiane a créé le Conseil pour le développement du français en Louisiane (CODOFIL), un organisme d'État chargé de la préservation de la "langue française, le patrimoine et la culture de la Louisiane." acte établissant CODOFIL mandat que le Conseil "faire toute et toutes les choses nécessaires pour accomplir le développement, l'utilisation et la préservation de la langue française que l'on trouve dans l'État de la Louisiane." Mais au lieu d'enseigner le français cadien, la plupart des écoles de la Louisiane a enseigné le français standard, le but du CODOFIL n'a jamais été pleinement réalisé, et les deux la langue français cadien, et la culture, sont toujours à risque de disparaître.

English Abstract: This article, in French, examines the word “Creole” and the history of laws about the French language in Louisiana. In recent decades, a growing awareness of the historical diminution of linguistic minorities and their languages around the world has led to increased efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of such minorities. In Louisiana, after decades of relegating Cajun French to second class status, in 1968 the Louisiana legislature created the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), a state agency tasked with preserving “Louisiana’s French language, heritage and culture.” The act establishing CODOFIL mandated that the Council “do any and all things necessary to accomplish the development, utilization, and preservation of the French language as found in the State of Louisiana.” But instead of teaching Cajun French, most Louisiana schools taught standard French, the purpose of CODOFIL was never fully realized, and both the Cajun French language, and culture, are still at risk of disappearing.

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