Graphemes & Phonemes


For academics and linguistics enthusiasts

The following chart represents the graphemes and phonemes of the Louisiana Creole language. Regular language learners, please don’t be bothered too much about the information below. In your case, the alphabet (vowels, consonants and nasals)  in the next link, suffices.

My graphemes and phonemes chart below may differ slightly from those established by the team of linguists who published the dictionary of Louisiana Creole in 1998.

For those who’re unfamiliar with linguistics terms.

Grapheme – the smallest meaningful contrastive unit in a writing system; basically the symbol representing a unit of sound.

Phoneme – smallest units or, distinct units of vocal sound in a spoken language; in other words, the pronunciations of each unit of sound in a spoken language’s alphabet.

Alveolar – pronounced with the tip of the tongue or near its ridge (cf. apical).
Apical – formed with the tip of the tongue (cf. alveolar).
Bilabial – formed by closure or near closure of the lips.
Dental – pronounced with the tip of the tongue (or, alveolar ridge) against the back of the upper front teeth.
Glottis – part of the larynx consisting of the vocal cords and the thin opening between them (cf. fricative).
Fricative – consonants made by the friction of breath in a narrow opening, producing a turbulent air flow.
Labiodental – made with the lips and teeth.
Palatal – vocal sound accomplished by placing the blade of the tongue against/near the hard palate.
Velar – vocal sound made with the back of the tongue touching, or nearly touching, the soft palate.

 

VOWEL POSSIBILITIES

Some, but not all, of these, are used from region to region in Louisiana. For instance, the [æ] and [œ] is much more common along Bayou Têche than along the Mississippi River.

Grapheme

Phoneme

Approximations in English Examples in Louisiana Creole

a

[a]

British: bath, pass, path a l’èr, lavash/lawash, taktak

æ

[æ]

pat, sat, rat, hat, ant shæ(r), pær, mær

a, á

[ɑ]

Paolá, kanar, pat, bat

è

[ɛ]

set, pet, let, bled trèz, shèj, mèt

é

[e]

pay, say, ray, way té, apé, tandé/tendé, galopé

e, eu

[ø]

butter, cut, shut, lettuce le

i

[i]

peet, sheet, bleed wi, shiniy, pariyé

ì

[ɪ]

pin, tin, linen, thing babìnn, Karolìnn

œ

[œ]

nurse kœr, lœr, dibœr, sœr

o

[o]

coat, boat, most mo, to, sô, kopiyé

ò

[ɔ]

caught, ought, draw zòt, nòmm/nanm, fòmm/fanm

ou

[u]

suit, boot, hoot ou, déshou, loulou

u

[y]

pewter, stew, mutilate lunn, prunn, brulé

 

Nasality

Some, but not all, of these, are used from region to region in Louisiana. The elongated [ã], [ẽ], and [œ̃], are common in southwest Louisiana, but less along the Mississippi and Red Rivers.

Phonemes

Graphemes

Examples in Louisiana Creole

[ã]

An, ann, em,
en, enn

fran, Ann, den, tenn, tem

[ẽ]

in, ènn
im

byin, frin, pin, kawènn
Joachim

[õ]

on

koshon, boushon, fron

[œ̃]

un, unn, um

un, kékun, prunn,
Brun, Humbert

 

CONSONANTS

Phoneme Grapheme Examples in Louisiana Creole
Apico-Alveolar
[l] l Lézimá, alon, likwidé
[r] r Roz, rapé, razé, renn/rann
Bilabials
[p] p péyi, papá
[b] b bèl, baron
[m] m Azémá
[y] y yaour, Yirsil, Yannick
Dentals
[d] d Dentist, dilo, Lokadí
[n] n Nenènn, nèr, niké
[s] s, ç Siró, gaçon/gason, isit
[t] t Tin, talèr, tou
[z] z

Zèb, lamézon, shèz/shèj

Glottal Fricative

[h]

h

Hont, halé

Labio-Dentals

[f]

f

Filomènn, Félis, faro

[v]

v

Va, Velmá, vidé

Palatals

[dʒ]

dj

Djab, djé, djèl

[ʃ]

sh

shèz/shèj, fashist, sható

[ʒ]

j

Joël, paj, ji, jalou

Velars

[k]

[q]

k

Krépi, Kalist, Lokadí

[g]

g

Lang, galopé, pagay

 

 

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