Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Is everyone wearing green? I’m not, but I have grass stains on my shoes and that so counts.
Before I get to today’s lesson, I’d like to first let you know that I’ll be over at Evelyn Byrne’s blog for a giveaway. I hope you’ll stop by!
Now for the lesson. It should come as no surprise after the previous lessons, that things in the Cajun French language are not pronounced the way they’re spelled. This includes names. Sure, there are some that are exactly the way they seem, but for the most part, people who aren’t from here will mispronounce our names in so many different ways!
Let’s start with last names ending in -et. In French, these two letters generally mean the word ends in a long “a” sound, like “day”. My last name, Avet, is pronounced “ah-vay”. There are lots of other names with this pronunciation, like Duet (it isn’t duet as in two people singing together), it’s “due-ay”, another is Ledet which is “la-day”. However, there are some names that have stress on a different part of the name. Lirette, for example is pronounced “lee-ret” with the stress on the first syllable. Rivet, or Rivette, is another name with this pronunciation “ree-vet”.
Next would be the -eaux, -aux names. These letters together make a long “o” sound. Boudreaux is “boo-dro”, Thibodaux is “tib-a-do”, Robichaux is “robe-e-sho”.
Then there are the names that are pronounced differently depending on what parish you’re in. Belanger in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes is pronounced “bel-anjay” but in St. Mary Parish, it’s pronounced “bell-anjer”. Authement in Terrebonne Parish is pronounced “oh-dee-mon”, but in Lafourche Parish is “authe-mon”. This can cause friction between people who have these last names when they go to a parish that pronounces it differently.
So if you happen to be hanging around down here and want to go to Boudreaux’s Seafood Restaurant, don’t pronounce it “bo-drox”. If you’re going to Thibodaux, don’t pronounce it “thigh-ba-dux”.
Do people have a hard time pronouncing your last name?