Document Type



Presented at the Language as a Social Justice Issue Conference. Held on the 26th November, 2014 at Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Campus, Perth, Western Australia.


Louisiana’s strong French influence makes it really unique in the USA. It is a bilingual state where French and English both have a de facto status but neither language is made official by law. Three French dialects exist due to its strong French heritage. The most spoken French dialect is Cajun French. However, it is declining rapidly day by day. Several factors have been identified. First, the number of speakers of French Cajun has diminished over the last fifty years; and secondly, it is used essentially at home and mainly by elderly people, which, in a way, prevents it from being passed on to the younger generations. In addition, many parents have decided deliberately not to teach their children Cajun in order to encourage English language fluency in the hope of a better life for them in a predominantly English speaking nation. Will Cajun survive for another generation? How can the language be passed on to children in order to enhance bilingualism? Since the 70’s, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL), which is a state agency created by the Louisiana legislature, has been in charge of French language and culture preservation and expansion in Louisiana. How, and to what extent, does the language policy in place address this situation? In this paper, we will look at actions that help Cajun French maintenance and transmission among the young. For the purpose of this study, semi-structured interviews among children and parents and participant observation were conducted in a southern parish in Louisiana.