Community Based Creole Language Grant Meeting.

The NSU Creole Heritage Center will host a meeting in Lafayette, Louisiana about the recently awarded Lower Mississippi Delta Region Initiative (LMDRI) grant. This grant supports a state-wide initiative to conduct a preliminary assessment of various extended Creole speech communities. This meeting is scheduled to take place at the Lafayette Natural History Museum on Saturday, September 20, 2008 beginning at 10:00 am.

The population of fluent Creole French speakers in Louisiana is rapidly declining, and intergenerational transmission of the language is severely limited. Each year finds fewer Creoles under 50 years old able to converse in the vernacular French language of their forebears. Although prior language studies have been conducted, those studies were not designed with the needs of the communities in mind, nor are the results of these studies easily accessible to most members of Creole speech communities with multiple dialects. The LMDRI grant award seeks to work directly with the communities and correct this lack of feedback.

The purpose of the September 20th meeting is to identify necessary resources such as Creole speakers, community members, academics, researchers, speech experts along with any and all interested individuals regarding documenting and saving this endangered language. Topics addressed will include the concerns of French speakers regarding the loss of the language and the little known knowledge associated with traditional practices that is lost along with fluency, and working with communities to develop ways to address this loss that conform to community needs. Also discussed will be the development of a comprehensive 3-year research plan to document Creole language, train community members to continue to work with the speech communities, and to identify final products that meet community needs.

This meeting is opened to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. The museum is located at 433 Jefferson St. in Lafayette. Contact info for the NSU Creole Heritage Center in Natchitoches is 318-357-6685.