In Maine, a Little French Goes a Long Way


When you think of French being spoken in America, Louisiana might be the only state that comes to mind. Interestingly, French has a long history in one town in Maine. Between 1840 and 1930, a huge immigration of French Canadians came to Maine to work in the mills, settling predominantly in the town of Madawaska. The immigrants were primarily Catholic, and the motto of the churches in Maine at the time was "qui perd sa langue perd sa foi" — "if you lose your language, you lose your faith.” Mass was given in French, parochial schools were run by nuns and taught in French, and the culture became embedded in the language. Today, 83% of the 4,035 residents in Madawaska still speak French at home.