01 September 2009

The State of French in Louisiana: 20 Years Later - How Far Have We Come?

"James Domengeaux, an aging Lafayette attorney, pounded the cluttered desk in his office..."

It is interesting to read this article that was written in 1975 and reflect on where we today with the same issues.

My commentary:

-Firstly, the language is closer to extinction than ever before.

-Secondly, preserving the language (in any form) does not preserve the culture. This was very evident two weeks ago at Congrès mondial acadien. Everyone, young and old spoke French but their traditions culture were all but gone. But here we have keep the culture but the language is all but gone.

-Thirdly, CODOFIL in the decades its been operating, has neither saved nor killed the Cadien language/culture. This may be because it continues to be neutered by lack of funding and public disinterest in the organization.

-Fourthly, the reason schools didn't want to build upon the French language is because of the prevailing,
über patriotic attitudes of the time (Post WW I).

-Fifthly, the school boards, 20 years later, are still the ignorant bastards that keep French out of schools. But at the same time they are pushing for Spanish to be taught. And yes, we -les Cadiens- are the ones to blame for the lost of the language. We quite speaking it
and we didn't fight for it and we still don't. We are 30-40% of the vote in Louisiana. We could move mountains if we wanted to. We can get together tens of thousands, for festivals but we can't get together to force our elected leaders to SERVE US.

-Sixthly, the bitching and moaning about teaching kids standard French instead of "Cajun" French is simply and excuse to not fund French education. Soon after a person learns the very basics of standard French they can speak to someone who speaks le Français Cadien and pick up to words and phrases that make the local French special.

It is funny that somethings don't seem to have changed in the 20 years since this article. And we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Lâche Pas!


Buddy said...

It's not about how far we've come. We know exactly how far we've come: 34 years. The question is: What have we created for our children to inherit? Have we become the change we want to see in Louisiana? You save a language by using a language, not by "preserving" it. That's why the Acadians have their language: they use it. That's why we have our traditions: we use them. Bottomline: Use it or lose it.

Lucius A. Fontenot said...