Louisiana French in Children’s Literature

2015 Louisiana Studies Conference Presentation Abstract

“Louisiana French in Children’s Literature”

Presented by Taylor Deville, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Louisiana has done a great deal of work in trying to preserve its unique use of Louisiana French throughout the state, such as French Immersion schools and various festivals. However, the reality of Louisiana French used organically as well as the amount of literature in Louisiana French is lacking. What is written in Louisiana French is mostly targeted towards an older generation. An area that can greatly benefit is children’s literature. Children’s stories today, if they are the subject of Louisiana French or the culture of Louisiana, are written in English, and if they do contain Louisiana French, it is only a single word or a common phrase that is written down in the story. What I propose is a children’s story totally in Louisiana French. Not only would the story be in Louisiana French, but it would also come directly from the mouth of someone who speaks the language. One would interview someone who speaks the language fluently, the interview would be recorded and transcribed, and then written down to form a storybook that showcases the language, not only showing that it is writable, but that it contains historical information, a lesson, or a funny joke. Along with the written story would be an audio book so that the pronunciation is not left up to the imagination. This can also be a useful teaching tool in classes to discuss culture or interesting vocabulary and lexical items in Louisiana French. For my presentation, I will showcase the book that I created and illustrated in one of my undergraduate classes.