H.L. Mencken (18801956). The American Language. 1921.
But the language continues as the daily speech of perhaps 1,500,000 persons, and still has an official status, and is often heard in the Dominion Parliament. The effect of English on the French, says Elliott, has been immeasurably greater than that of French on the English . The French has made use of all the productive meanssuffixes, prefixesat its disposal to incorporate the English vocables in its word-supply, and to adapt them by a skilful use of its inflectional apparatus to all the requirements of a rigid grammatical system. On one page of N. E. Dionnes lexicon I find the following loan-words from English: barkeeper, bargaine (used in place of marché), bar-room, bulls-eye, buckwheat, buggy, buck-board, bugle, bully, bum, business, bus. As will be observed, a large proportion of them are not really English at all, but American. Many other Americanisms have got into the language, e. g., gang (in the political sense), greenback, ice-cream, elevateur, knickerbockers, trolley-car, sweater, swell (as an adjective of all work), caucus, lofeur (=loafer, a loan-word originally German) and lager, another. Comme tu es swell ce matin, vas-tu aux noces? this is now excellent Canadian French. So is gologne (=golong). Louvigny de Montigny, in La Langue Française au Canada, complains bitterly that American words and phrases are relentlessly driving out French words and phrases, even when the latter are quite as clear and convenient. Thus, un patron, throughout French Canada, is now un boss, pétrole is Ihuile de charbon (=coal-oil), une bonne ÿ; tout faire is une servante générale, and un article doccasion is un article de seconde main!
The French dialect spoken by the Creoles and their colored retainers in Louisiana has been extensively studied,14 as has the dialect of the French West Indies. Its principal characters must be familiar to every reader of the stories of Lafcadio Hearn, George W. Cable, Kate Chopin and Grace Elizabeth King. It produced a large oralliterature, chiefly in the form of songs, during the days of actual
Note 14. For example, by J. A. Harrison, in The Creole Patois of Louisiana, American Journal of Philology, vol. iii, p. 285 ff.; by Alcée Fortier, in The French Language in Louisiana and the Negro French Dialect; New Orleans, n. d.; Acadians of Louisiana and Their Dialect; New Orleans, 1891, and A Few Words About the Creoles of Louisiana; Baton Rouge, 1892; and by H. Schuchardt, in Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Englischen Kreolisch, Englische Studien, vol. xii, p. 470; vol. xiii, p. 158, and vol. xv, p. 286. [back]