According to the United States Census Bureau, more Spanish is spoken in Louisiana than Cajun French.

United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau


According to the Census Bureau's website (as of 2018), over 160,000 Louisiana residents speak Spanish, while only about 120,000 speak other Indo-European languages, the category in which French falls.

I've witnessed the slow decrease in the use of French in Acadiana, specifically Cajun French, throughout my life. My grandparents (on both sides) spoke more Cajun French than English (my paternal grandfather spoke only broken English). My parents both grew up speaking mostly Cajun French in the house, but were punished if they spoke Cajun French at school. As the older generation does what older generations do, the number of Cajun French-speaking people in Louisiana will continue to dwindle.

There is a push to combat the loss of our native language, though.

There are great French Immersion programs in Acadiana and, through speaking with a coworker, I found out that his kids were taught a combination of French dialects, including Metropolitan (Parisian) and Cajun French.

Also, Cajun musicians are still rolling out songs in Cajun French, though not as much as in years past.

If we can expand these immersion programs and encourage those of Cajun heritage to continue to record songs and use the language more, we may be able to keep that part of our heritage alive.

My parents didn't teach me or my siblings Cajun French, though most of us are able to remember a few words and phrases here and there. I think they didn't teach us the language because it was an easy way for them to keep secrets from us.  I now wish that I would have paid more attention to their conversations.


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