Cajun French: Pauvre Bête

Time for another Cajun French lesson. Again, I have to thank my sister-in-law and one of my college friends for helping me out this week.

On Sunday, my sister-in-law popped up with another “good phrase” for my Cajun French lessons. You see, these lessons are a group effort, especially now that I’m running out of the most common phrases to share with y’all.

Today’s phrase is pauvre bête which means “poor thing”. Pauvre is pronounced “pauv” (pau like in Paul and an almost F sound on the end) which means poor. Bête is pronounced “bedt” (with a very soft T) which means…well, it’s almost like saying silly thing. When you put them together, the words kind of run together so it sounds like “pauf-bedt” almost like one word.

This phrase can be used in two ways: sympathetically or sarcastically.

Someone catches a flat tire in the rain when they’re on their way to a job interview? Oh, pauvre bête!

Someone complains about how they have so much time on their hands because they won the lottery?
Pauvre bête! (Insert eye roll)

You can also add to this by using the infamous petite, or t’, as we shorten it down here.

Pauvre t-bête!  Poor little thing!

Do you think you’ll be using this phrase? And what about that little puppy! Doesn’t he just make you want to say pauvre t-bête?


Filed under humor

10 responses to “Cajun French: Pauvre Bête

  1. KAK

    Osa’ poor widdle piddle puppy!

    Thank you for translating the “t-” in Pauvre t-bête ! I’d seen it in stories couldn’t figure out the t-bone thing. ~hangs head~

  2. Lovin’ the Cajun French lessons, woman! Thanks for filling in the gaps for all of us. As I said before, what I picked up on the shrimp boats and in the oil field can’t be shared with the polite society! (Not sure how much of an accomplishment the ability to insult fluenty in five languages really is. So far, Italian with the accompanying spitting and hand gestures is the most profound. lol)

  3. Cute pup!! Looks like he’s in twrouble! AND Yes, I spelled that wrong for a reason- LOL!

    I love this word but will probably never use it as I won’t be able to remember it.- I’ll put it in my folder called “Cajunisms” and may use it in the cozy I still have to edit.

  4. Do I think I’ll ever use this phrase? Uh… no. Even with your pronunciation, I can’t seem to say it right. I keep wanting to put the “r” in it! I think that’s why I took spanish in high school (that and the fact I lived in Santa Barbara and all the street names were in spanish and I wanted to know what they all meant!).

    But I do love the puppy picture!!

  5. Heidi Reed

    I say this alllllll the time! So happy I discovered your blog!

  6. theFriz

    I used to come home after working a hot sweaty day all tired, and my cajun gf would welcome me with “Pauvre Bête” and bring a glass of tea.

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