POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:45am
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 11:15am
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — "I didn't know what southern meant until I moved to Louisiana," said Baton Rouge resident, Connie Long.
Louisiana is a place recognized not only for the amazing food and culture but remembered for the language. Whether it be the slang, accents or the native Cajun French speakers but one thing's for sure, if you’re not a Louisiana-native, understanding might not be as easy as you might think.
“When we first moved here, it was different and we would hear someone and say 'what did you say,' but over time you learn it and go with it," noted Long.
Tracy Wories is an LSU professor and Lafayette-native and some of the things she grew up saying have, and always will be, a part of her daily dialect.
"There is a really interesting range of accents and dialect in South Louisiana," said Wories.
"People who are not with Cajun English look at you like you're crazy when you say you're gonna get down, they are like do you mean 'dance.' No, it comes from ‘desaean’ the French literally get down out of the car or plane or whatever it is," noted Wories.
Cajun French is completely different than french itself and years ago those Louisiana Cajun and Creole French speakers changed the way people talk today here in Louisiana.
"Most of those sayings that people give you that funny look about those are the ones that come straight from French," said Wories.
Another really interesting thing Louisiana-native’s do is called reduplication, which is an indicator of a creolized language. Many languages use it to emphasize something in the sentence.
"A lot of people say I'm pregnant for, not with a child, they say I'll meet you at 11, they will say I'll meet you for 11 o'clock. Those are some," said Baton Rouge resident, Leanne Clement.
Not only the French influence has changed the way people converse, it's the cultural influence too.
“Before we had all this fancy technology in cars we used buggies so we still use the work and you make groceries in New Orleans and you have a neutral zone instead of a median," stated Wories.
Even people who are not from Louisiana see the impact the culture makes on the language here in the Bayou State.
"The culture here is warm. We've been here 13 years and language goes with the culture being very welcoming," said Baton Rouge resident, Steven Long.
"I had to learn about 'crawfishin,' means backing out of a deal all kinds of crazy little things,” noted Clement.
Natives such as Tracy say, the language is tradition and it will never change, for her at least.
“I am always gonna get down and my kids are gonna get down because I'm gonna tell them to get down."
So the next time you’re out and about in the Capital City, Lafayette or even New Orleans, open your ears and listen.