Creole French, also known as Louisiana Creole and Louisiana French Creole, was labeled as an endangered language in 2010 due to the rapid decline in the number of its speakers. The Oxford University Press showed that in 2013 there were 7,000 native Creole French speakers worldwide.
Thomas A. Klingler and Ingrid Nuemann-Holzschuh from “Louisiana Creole” said its language is in danger of dying out.
“Louisiana Creole has long occupied the lowest portion of the hierarchy of prestige among language varieties In Louisiana,” Klingler and Nuemann-Holzschuh wrote.
Although these studies showed Creole French to be an unpopular language, those who speak the language seem to have a different opinion.
Francesca Delva, a Haitian-born sophomore majoring in interior design at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said she doesn’t think Creole French is a dying language because there are so many Haitians around who speak the language.
“Where you find one Haitian, just know there are more down the street,” Delva said. “New Haitians who speak the language are coming to America all the time.”
Delva said she has been speaking Creole French since she was a baby, adding her mother forced her and her siblings to speak the language, afraid for them to lose their culture.
Creole French may be considered unpopular and endangered by researches, but others say that the language has the ability to bring unity to a community. Connie Fields-Meaux, 44, from Rayne said it gives you a chance to be more personable with older natives in this area.
“It feels great to be a part of a community with such a rich culture, and I hope it continues to flourish,” Fields-Meaux said.
Delva said she believes the language is a part of a culture that is worthy of remembrance.
“It is important to know your heritage,” Delva said. “Not everything is necessary to know, but there are some things that are very important, like the language itself.”
This language is one that has been passed down for generations, according to Fields-Meaux, who said she originally learned the language around the age of four. At the time, she was taught by her great aunt and uncle because she was always around them and had to translate for them.
Delva also learned from her family whom she spent much time with. She said she was always with her mother who spoke the language all the time because she was afraid that they were going to forget the language if they were not surrounded by it.
Field-Meaux said Creole French is a language that will always be a part of people’s culture, adding how most native speakers agree that if the language is continued to be passed down to younger generations, it may have a better chance of canceling its endangerment.
“Creole French will live on,” Field-Meaux said. “As long as we continue to take pride in where we come from, there will be those who happily inherit the language.”
Delva also said the language can live on if more people were involved.
“If we get more famous people with a positive image, not only will that stop the deterioration of individuals who speak it,” Delva said.”But that will also make it more likely for our generation and our kids to want to learn it.”