Master of Arts (MA)
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Cajun English (CE) is an understudied dialect that is spoken in and around the Acadian triangle of Louisiana. Of the studies that exist, almost all have been completed with adults. The purpose of the current study was to determine if children whose parents have identified their family as Cajun use five phonological features of CE (/t, d/ for /θ, ð/, nonaspirated /p, t, k/, heavy vowel nasalization, monophthongization, and glide weakening on vowels) more frequently than those identified as non-Cajun. The participants were 11 kindergarteners who were identified as Cajun or non-Cajun and who resided in Assumption Parish in rural south Louisiana. Cajun status was determined through a questionnaire that asked families about their family history, self and familial exposure to Cajun French, and self and familial French-speaking abilities. Measures of the children’s use of CE phonological features was based on an analysis of one-minute audio clips that had been randomly extracted from 30-minute, examiner-child play-based language samples. The participants with Cajun status produced the /t, d/, heavy vowel nasalization, and monophthongization features more frequently than the participants with a non-Cajun status, and the difference was statistically significant for the monophthongization feature. This finding may suggest that CE phonological features are currently heard in the vowels that children produce. In addition, all of the participants produced higher frequencies of the CE features than did a group of same-age participants who lived in a neighboring parish and who had been previously studied. This finding may indicate parish effects on children’s CE phonological use that need to be considered as a contributing factor in discussions of dialect variation and change.
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Smitherman, Hannah Joy, ""Mais, you talk like me? /ju ra:/": kindergarteners' use of five Cajun English phonological features" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 1719.