Cajun French: Chenes/Chien

Time for another lesson in Cajun French. Today’s lesson was actually inspired by a disagreement I got into with a co-worker. We were talking about fishing and where we go. After confirming we fish in the same area, Pointe-aux-Chenes, we had a discussion about the meaning of Pointe-aux-Chenes. My co-worker speaks Spanish and insisted it meant “nose of the dog”. I disagreed. I knew it meant “point of the oak”.

He wouldn’t believe me. Finally, I called one of my Cajun connections to settle the dispute. He agreed with me. I love being right. I can see why my Spanish-speaking friend would get the two confused.

Chene  pronounced “shan” (soft n) means oak. Chien pronounced “she-in” (long e, soft n) means dog. If you’re listening to someone speaking who mispronounces either one of these words, it would be easy to think they were talking about a dog instead of an oak tree. Naturally, Pointe pronounced “pon” (soft n) means point.

This is a chene:

This is a chien:

This is a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog which is the state dog.

 

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