What Are Some French Influences in America?

The most prevalent French influence in the United States is found in New Orleans, La., where there is French architecture and cuisine. Many residents of New Orleans still speak a derivative form of the French language. Detroit, Des Moines, Louisiana and Montreal are all North American names with French origins.

The majority of French immigrants to North America settled in Quebec, Canada, and Louisiana. Many French did not settle and traveled through the wilderness to spread the teachings of Christianity and trade. The French Quarter in New Orleans is a historic landmark complete with French architecture and derivatives of French cuisine adapted to local culture. Cajun cuisine is an adaptation combined with Canadian French influences and local resources.

The French have also influenced the English language. Over one-third of the words in the English language are derived from French, and English speakers can typically recognize about 15,000 French words. There are 1,700 words that are identical in both languages. French influence in the language is especially prevalent in the areas of government, law, art and literature, and the French language sped up the transition from Old English to Middle English. The Norman Conquest of 1066 was the major factor in transitioning French derivatives to the English language.