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 dialects in Louisiana and Maine have also been threatened with extinction, but are refusing to go quietly.
The small town of Old Mines in the Ozarks Mountains of Missouri is home to the descendants of 17th-century French settlers. A sign near the Bar & Grill and the local church reads Bienvenue à La Vieille Mine. The town was once part of the former French Louisiana which stretched across Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, and today a handful of its inhabitants stand out fr [...]