List of Louisiana Pronunciations Goes Viral—Is This the Ultimate Guide?
The way we pronounce things here in Louisiana is truly one-of-a-kind.
First and foremost, our state's history and melting pot of cultural influences play a big role in why our pronunciations sound different from other places.
Cajun heritage is a big part of Louisiana's unique pronunciation. Cajuns are the descendants of French-speaking Acadians who settled in Louisiana after being exiled from Canada in the 18th century. Cajun French has a distinct pronunciation compared to standard French or English. The "r" sound is more pronounced in Cajun French, and it's trilled strongly, which makes it sound different from the way "r" is pronounced in English.
Cajun English is also different from standard American English. It drops the "g" sound at the end of words, and it often uses different vowel sounds, making it sound quite different to outsiders.
When you combine all these influences, it's no wonder Louisiana's pronunciation is so unique. Twitter user Matt Dawson (@saintRPh) posted a list of "Louisiana pronunciations" that has gotten lots of traction over the past few weeks.
We've seen a similar list before—oftentimes used for people who routinely hire people from out of state to get them acclimated with the area and, in some cases, allow them to speak the language of the locals depending on where they live.
Of course, people had their own Louisiana pronunciations to add to the list—some funnier than others.
Other factors that contribute to Louisiana's pronunciation include the French and Spanish languages, which are widely spoken there. The yat dialect, mainly spoken in New Orleans, has its own way of pronouncing things, such as dropping the "r" at the end of words and adding an "r" after some vowels.
Louisiana's African American heritage also plays a role in its pronunciation. African American English, or AAVE, is a dialect that's spoken by many African Americans in Louisiana and all over the country. It's got its own distinct way of pronouncing things, like dropping final consonants in words (like "walkin'" instead of "walking") and using double negatives (like "ain't got no money"). This can make it hard for people who aren't familiar with it to understand what's being said.
By the way, Dawson continued his Louisiana pronunciations with a list of last names and it makes me feel like the "lists" could be neverending. It's actually a full thread, so good luck when it comes to the rest of your productivity today.
As if our melting pot wasn't mixed enough, Louisiana also has its fair share of Native American (Louisiana Indians) influence, which can be found in the names of towns, cities, and parishes throughout the state.
While it might take some getting used to, Louisiana's unique pronunciation is a significant part of its charm. Whether you're listening to zydeco, jazz music, enjoying some crawfish, or just chatting with locals, that distinct Louisiana accent is sure to leave a lasting impression.
What names, places, or things should also be on a master list of Louisiana pronunciations? Drop a comment and let me know.