American French dialects
In America, there are over two million French speakers who either speak one of the three types of American French dialects or the Standard French dialect. Though a language of the minorities, it is the fourth most spoken language in the United States. The highest concentration of French speaking people is in the state of Louisiana, which had been a French colony in the seventeenth century. Other states with large French populations include Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
The three different American French dialects apart from the Standard French dialect spoken in United States include the: Cajun French dialect, Napoleonic French dialect and Colonial French dialect. These are mainly the dialects of the French community based in Louisiana State. Apart from these there also exist the Louisiana Creole French dialects that are spoken mainly by the Creole people settled in the southern regions of the State.
Most of the French translations done nowadays will be based on the ‘Canadian French’ or ‘France French’ varieties. Translators working on French translation should be a native speaker of the target variety chosen for the translation project.
Cajun French dialect
Cajun French is believed to have derived from the Acadian French dialect when the Acadians were deported from Canada and settled in the State of Louisiana. These Acadians were later joined by the Metropolitan French speaking immigrants who helped in the development of the Cajun French dialect. It started dominating the region and became the language of the parishes, as it was spoken by several other ethnicities besides the Cajun people. This influence had lead to evolution of the first Cajun French language dictionary that was published by priest Jules O. Daigle in the twentieth century.
Some linguists also state that the name Cajun has been taken from the pronunciation of the word “Acadien” in French. It differs from the Standard French dialect in terms of vocabulary and pronunciation. It is observed that Cajun French dialect has variations which could be classified according to the ethnic groups. The two prime classifications are: Praire dialect and the Bayou dialect. Praire dialect is spoken in the southeast parts of Louisiana while Bayou is common in the southwest region.
Colonial French dialect
Some scholars observe that the Colonial French dialect is the oldest American French dialect that existed in the United States”specifically in Louisiana”before the introduction of Cajun French in the state.
Today, Colonial French is on the verge of extinction and has remained confined to a limited number of parishes. Colonial French is nearly the same as Standard French, with minute lexical variations. Also, some words are pronounced with different pitch as compared to the Standard dialect