Virginia Motapanyane (with the collaboration of David Jory)
University of New Brunswick
Acadian is a French dialect spoken in the Atlantic province of Canada, by approximately 250,000 speakers. Although French is an offiial language in Canada, and the linguistic rights of the Acadians have constitutional protection, the dialect presents the signs of an endangered language. The denomination 'Acadian French' covers an impressive number of regional varieties, or 'parlers', whose geographical distribution is often described in terms of 'islands', to indicate the immersion of many Acadian communities within English speaking areas. This sketch offeres a survey of the most general properties of Acadian French: (i) in phonology, the description focuses on phenomena such as palatalization of /k/, /g/ before all front vowels; ouisms; strong /r/; (ii) morpho-syntactic pecularities such as the pronominal paradigms, generalization of auxiliary avoir in present past, frequent occurrence of 'passe simple' will be presented in two chapters. It will be shown that some of these properties attest grammatical forms in Old French, others result from local innovations, and from language contact. A special chapter discusses the contribution of extra-linguistic factors to the decline of this dialect, as well as possible means for preventing its extinction.
ISBN 9783895861277. Languages of the World/Materials 101. 56 pp. 1997.