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Franco-Responsibility, Louisiana Rises to the Challenge

What if "Franco-responsibility" was the key to guaranteeing the future of the French language in Louisiana? This new term was coined in Quebec to describe a simple goal — increasing the use of French in daily life. On Wednesday evenings in Lafayette, Louisiana, almost every customer in the Blue Moon Saloon speaks French. Everyone meets at 7 pm for the...

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Investing in French in Vermont and New Hampshire

Vermont and New Hampshire are developing the use of French to attract tourists from Quebec just over the American border. A strategy for economic and linguistic development that is starting to pay dividends. In Burlington, the biggest city in Vermont, even the parking meters are bilingual. At the airport and the marina, in public parks and the rooms of the...

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“Francophones in Louisiana Lack Visibility”

An advertising expert in Louisiana is hoping a website and a simple word — “Bonjour” — will give the state’s 250,000 Francophones more visibility. Three weeks ago, Brian Clary was looking for a Francophone hairdresser in the Lafayette region. The Virginia-born advertising consultant moved to Louisiana at the start of the summer and could easily have patronized an Anglophone salon....

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French on the Airwaves

Americans speaking to other Americans… but in French! From Brooklyn to San Francisco and from Boston to Minneapolis and Ville Platte (Louisiana), many radio stations and shows are now broadcast in French. It’s 7:30 pm (EST) on Radio Soleil. After the horoscope in Creole and a few bars of kompa blasted out on a trumpet, it’s time for the weekly...

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In Search of the Franc-Comtois People of America

Billy Fumey dreamed of being a cowboy when he was a child, but the young man has actually become an American "emissary" for his native French region of Franche-Comté. Guitar in hand, he tours Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, following in the footsteps of the first Franc-Comtois settlers. The inhabitants of Besançon in Eastern France know that their city shares...

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Fiddles, French, and the Quest to Save a Forgotten Dialect

Dennis Stroughmatt didn’t like French at school. Despite this fact, the American musician and historian has become the sole guardian of a quickly-vanishing French dialect from Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. Today he is fighting to keep Illinois French alive by teaching seminars and playing concerts throughout the United States. France-Amérique: How did you come upon “Illinois French”? Dennis Stroughmatt: I...

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The Musical Revival of Cajun French

Cajun French was forbidden in Louisiana until 1964. This dialect is a blend of French, English, Spanish and Caribbean influences, and is now being revived through the music of the Lost Bayou Ramblers. The band’s singer and violinist, Louis Michot, talked to us about his commitment to save Louisiana’s Cajun culture. France-Amérique: How did Cajun French arrive in Louisiana? Louis...

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French Dialects Fight for Survival in the United States

Integration and the law forced Francophones in the United States to abandon their language in the early 20th century, and language enthusiasts are now fighting for its survival. Paw Paw was a dialect spoken by the first French settlers to colonize the Midwest, and is being kept alive in classes taught by a young American linguist in Missouri. Other French...