Reviving a once-forbidden dialect: ‘All French is good French’
In Louisiana, Cajun French is being introduced to a new generation.
When Janice Prejean was growing up, if she wanted to speak with her grandparents, she had to do it in French. To crack the code of the private conversations and jokes that flew over the heads of children at family gatherings, she also needed to know the language.
“My lifestyle as a child and a young adult was immersed in moving between the Cajun world and les Americains,” she says.
Prejean, who was raised in Ossun, a tiny, unincorporated community in southwest Louisiana, is 64 now. Her story is an echo of the thousands of people in the region with Francophone ancestry. What makes her version a little different, however, is that she learned the language. Many people her age never did.