Throughout my Louisiana adventures, many differences have been found between my home life in Chicago, IL and my college home in Thibodaux, LA. The list begins with the food being different, the pace of life being different, and the climate being different. But beyond these differences, most likely the single biggest change between my two homes would have to be the change in dialect.
There are no words to describe what exactly a Cajun English accent consists of, but I had the opportunity to interact with many throughout the time I have spent in Thibodaux so far. I’ll be honest. I can’t understand the weakest of Cajun accents, let alone the strongest of them. I find it helpful to stare at the speaker’s mouth in hopes of reading their words straight from their lips. In most cases that doesn’t work, and I end up nodding my head a lot and agreeing in conversation. It makes me feel like more of an asshole than I normally am.
This project presented me with an opportunity to look into what makes a Cajun English accent so unique compared to the rest of the state of Louisiana as well as the south in general. I found that the South Louisiana culture has not only been influenced by France, much to outsider belief. The culture is a melting pot of countries including France, Germany, Ireland, Vietnam, Spain, Italy, the Canary Islands, as well as others. The cultures of so many different countries and backgrounds have culminated over time to create a very unique culture of its own.
Each aspect of this project helped me gain more of an understanding of the Cajun English language and how it evolved to what it is today. Not only do I get to continue to experience it, but I can continue to understand it.