Central Standard
2:39 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Fiddler Explores Little-Known French Dialect Spoken In Missouri Town

Old Mines, Missouri (pictured here) is home to a little-known dialect of French.
Old Mines, Missouri (pictured here) is home to a little-known dialect of French.
Credit Creative Commons, Wikipedia

In honor of Bastille Day, Central Standard explored efforts to preserve Missouri French: a dialect that once flourished in southwestern Missouri, now remembered by only a handful of people in the town of Old Mines. Some say the language is dying, but the dialect has been pronounced dead then rediscovered many times.

Intrigued by the prevalence of French architecture in the region, Dennis Stroughmatt headed down to Old Mines in the 1990s based on an off-handed remark from one of his college professors. A barber and musician ended up taking Stroughmatt under his wing, teaching him both the fiddle and the language through song.

On Monday's Central Standard, we met with Stroughmatt and with an Old Mines native to learn about Missouri French.

Guests:

  • Dennis Stroughmatt, fiddler and independent researcher
  • Mary Norbet, member of the historic board, Old Mines, Mo.
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