CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Acadian Language

English Language Arts
1 to 2 lessons
To examine a dialect and its impact on literature.
Students examine the Acadian language used in Maillet’s works.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring


The Acadian language, though French, has its own characteristics, as do most dialects of a single language. Most of us use slang that is known to the people we interact with, but may seem different to others. Ask students to break into small groups and to begin talking about a favourite topic: sports, music, a book they read, what they are looking forward to doing on the weekend, and so on. While students talk, tap one member of each group on the shoulder and ask that person to make a note of the dialect, slang, clichés, jargon, colloquialisms, and idioms they hear in their group.

Have students share the notes they made.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to Antonine Maillet, Acadian Avenger on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have them view the clips titled "Antonine Maillet: Talking Acadian" and "Antonine Maillet: Pélagie-la-Charrette", listening carefully to the language used in her works. Ask them to list examples of word choice in their notebooks, to explain the word choice, and to explain what they think it adds to the work.

Revisit and Reflect

Have students share their words and explanations as a class. In the clip titled "Antonine Maillet: Talking Acadian", Maillet refers to the younger generation's word choice and how it differs from the older generation. Students can discuss these differences and why it is important to have a record of each of them.


Students can work with a partner to write a story with dialogue, using clichés, archaic language, idioms, slang, jargon, and/or colloquialisms. Each student will write the dialogue for one of the two speakers. They can also choose to add some words in a second language. Students should include footnotes or a glossary identifying the specific word choices, and then write a summary of what the word choices add to the dialogue and to the development of characters.

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