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Central Standard

Fiddler Explores Little-Known French Dialect Spoken In Missouri Town

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.


  • Dennis Stroughmatt, fiddler and independent researcher
  • Mary Norbet, member of the historic board, Old Mines, Mo.
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People don't make cameos in news stories; the human story is the story, with characters affected by news events, not defined by them. As a columnist and podcaster, I want to acknowledge what it feels like to live through this time in Kansas City, one vantage point at a time. Together, these weekly vignettes form a collage of daily life in Kansas City as it changes in some ways, and stubbornly resists change in others. You can follow me on Twitter @GinaKCUR or email me at gina@kcur.org.
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer, Media Training Manager and now the Community Engagement Manager at KCUR. You can reach him at Matthew@kcur.org, or on Twitter @MLMIndustries.