Acadian French
French of Acadia
français acadien (French)
The modern flag of Acadia.
Native toCanada, United States
RegionNew Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire
Native speakers
(370,000 cited 1996, 2006)[1]
Early forms
Latin (French alphabet)
French Braille
Official status
Official language in
 New Brunswick
Recognised minority
language in
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Acadian French-speaking areas
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PersonAcadien / Acadienne

Acadian French (French: français acadien, acadjonne) is a variety of French spoken by Acadians, mostly in the region of Acadia, Canada. Acadian French has 7 regional accents, including Chiac and Brayon.[2]


Since there was relatively little linguistic contact with France from the late 18th century to the 20th century, Acadian French retained features that died out during the French standardization efforts of the 19th century such as these:

According to Wiesmath (2006),[3] some characteristics of Acadian are:

These features typically occur in the speech of older people.

Many aspects of Acadian French (vocabulary and "trill r", etc.) are still common in rural areas in the South West of France. Speakers of Metropolitan French and even of other Canadian varieties of French sometimes have difficulty understanding Acadian French. Within North America, its closest relative is the Cajun French spoken in Southern Louisiana since both were born out of the same population that were affected during the Expulsion of the Acadians.

See also Chiac, a variety with strong English influence, and St. Marys Bay French, a distinct variety of Acadian French spoken around Clare, Tusket, Nova Scotia and also Moncton, New Brunswick.


not to be confused with affrication typical of Quebec French.


Metathesis is quite common. For example, mercredi ('Wednesday') is mercordi, and pauvreté ('poverty') is pauveurté. Je (the pronoun 'I') is frequently pronounced euj and Le is frequently pronounced eul.

In words, "re" is often pronounced "er". For instance :


Elision of final consonants

Vocabulary and grammar

Yves Cormier's Dictionnaire du français acadien (ComiersAcad)[5] includes the majority of Acadian regionalisms. From a syntactic point of view, a major feature is the use of je for the first-person singular and plural; the same phenomenon takes place with i for the third persons. Acadian still differentiates the vous form from the tu form.

The following words and expressions are most commonly restricted to Acadian French south of the Miramichi River, but some are also used north of the Miramichi River and in Quebec French (also known as Québécois) or Joual for the Montreal version of Quebec French. The Miramichi line is an isogloss separating South Acadian (archaic or "true" Acadian) from the Canadian French dialects to the north, North Acadian, Brayon (Madawaskan) and Quebec French (Laurentian French). South Acadian typically has morphosyntactic features such as [je [V [-on] … ]] (as in je parlons "we speak") that distinguishes it from dialects to the north or elsewhere in the Americas such as Cajun French, Saint-Barthélemy French or Métis French that have [nouzot [on- [V …]]] (as in nous-autres on parle). Geddes (1908),[6] the oldest authority on any variety of French spoken in Northern Acadia, records of the morphosyntactic characteristics of "true" Acadian spoken in the South and adjacent islands to the West.[7]

Some examples of "true" Acadian French are:


Passé simple

St. Marys Bay French, a conservative dialect of Acadian French spoken in the St. Marys Bay, Nova Scotia region, is notable for maintaining use of the passé simple in spoken conversation.[9] In most modern dialects of French, the tense is only used in formal writing and formal speech.

See also


  1. ^ Canadian census, ethnic data Archived July 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Blog 101, Quebec Culture (14 November 2014). ""Our 32 accents" Series: QUÉBEC x 8 – Post 3 of 7 (#88)". Quebec Culture Blog.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Wiesmath, Raphaële (2006). Le français acadien: analyse syntaxique d'un corpus oral recueilli au Nouveau-Brunswick, Canada. l'Hamalthan.[1]. Accessed 5 May 2011.
  4. ^ "PHONO: Caractéristiques phonétiques du français québécois".
  5. ^ Cormier, Yves (2009). Dictionnaire du français acadien. Fides, Editions.. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  6. ^ Geddes, James (1908). Study of the Acadian-French language spoken on the north shore of the Baie-des-Chaleurs. Halle: Niemeyer [2]
  7. ^ Although superficially a phonological descendant of South Acadian French, analysis reveals North Acadian French to be morphosyntactically identical to Quebec French. North Acadian is believed to have resulted from a localized levelling of contact dialects between Québécois and Acadian settlers. Cf. Wittmann, Henri (1995) "Grammaire comparée des variétés coloniales du français populaire de Paris du 17e siècle et origines du français québécois." in Fournier, Robert & Henri Wittmann. Le français des Amériques. Trois-Rivières: Presses universitaires de Trois-Rivières, 281–334.[3]
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Brassieur, C. Ray. "Acadian Culture in Maine" (PDF). National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  9. ^ Comeau, Philip; King, Ruth; Butler, Gary R. (November 2012). "New insights on an old rivalry: The passé simple and the passé composé in spoken Acadian French". Journal of French Language Studies. 22 (3): 315–343. doi:10.1017/S0959269511000524. ISSN 0959-2695.