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Vol. 9 No. 2 (2006)

Évolution différente de deux traits de contact interdialectal en français louisianais : les cas de quoi et j’avons

  • Kevin J. Rottet
October 15, 2012


Contemporary Louisiana French is a koine, the product of contact between several 18th- and 19th-century varieties of French. We will explore two variables with different outcomes in the context of dialect contact: qui vs. quoi ‘what’, and the J’AVONS pattern (e.g. j’avons, je parlons). The interrogatives qui and quoi are both still widely attested in Louisiana French, though in different locales. We explore Byers’ (1988) hypothesis that their distribution can be attributed to settlement patterns of Acadians (quoi) and 18th-century Creoles (qui). The J’AVONS pattern, though totally unattested today, is found in a dozen late 19th- and early 20th-century sources. Strikingly, though, most of these Louisiana attestations are not 1pl. but 1sg.We argue that this can be understood as a reanalysis of J’AVONS, precipitated by contact with non-J’AVONS dialects, prior to elimination of the form altogether, and contributing to the largely leveled verb paradigm one finds in Louisiana French today.