Jun 21, 2007
I was thinking the other day about the Cajun phrases that still show up pretty regularly in my speech. I hadn't really thought about it before, how many there are.
My mother was the first generation not to learn French. In fact, when she was growing up in the 40's and 50's, you'd actually be punished at for speaking it in school. She can still understand it, but there are only a few phrases that she can manage to speak now.
My grandparents and older aunts and uncles, of course, always spoke French, mainly when they wanted to gossip, so we younger children couldn't understand.
Just out of curiousity I've started a little list of some of the terms that still crop up fairly regularly in conversation with my mother :
cochon- dirty (from French for "pig") but used as an adjective. (Mais, that's cochon!)
couillion- crazy (literally, in archaic French, testicles...as in "nuts." I just recently found this out) "You cousins, they all just couillion."
saleau - a big, dirty man
nannan - godmother
parrain - godfather
tous les vieux -all the old folks (said derisively)
touloulou - fiddler crabs
minou - kitty
maudit - god damned
rodez - to go out visiting constantly "You know her, she always like to rodez"
faire la misere - make trouble
fais do-do- to go to sleep (or of course, a dance, done while the children are put to bed)
'Ga ca!-Look there, look at that! (from the more proper French "regarde-ca")
Tien ca! - look at that!
en colaire(fache')-to be angry
Mal a la tete -headache
Boudee - to pout ("She's making the boudee. She's been boudee-ing all day long.")
Depeche toi!- hurry up
canaille- sly, sneaky
envie - a craving ("I sure have an envie for some tarte a la bouille, cher.")
gris gris - a spell
traiteur -a medicine man, healer (My mother still tells tales of the traiteur who'd come around the plantation)