Cajun French: Pas Bon

Before I get to the lesson, this is just a reminder that I’m over at Daisy Harris’ blog with a giveaway. I hope you’ll stop by for a chance to win an e-copy of Lifestyles of the Fey and Dangerous.

It’s time for another Cajun French lesson. This week’s phrase is actually one I know well, but hadn’t thought about using until my sister-in-law reminded me of it. There are so many little phrases we use that it’s easy to overlook them as something unique to this area. I may have to start making a list of words and phrases as they occur to me so I don’t forget any.

Anyway, today’s lesson is one most parents use. Well, my mom did at least. Not in Cajun French, but in English. When we were misbehaving, or picking on her, she would tell us, “You’re no good!” Is this something other mothers say? Or is it just a Cajun French thing? I mean, I’m sure most parents would say “You’re bad!” instead of “no good”. Y’all will have to tell me because now I’m curious.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s concentrate on saying someone is no good in Cajun French. The phrase we’re going to use is pas bon. The pronunciation would be “pah bahn” (no n sound).

You could use this expression under many circumstances from children to people. Instead of telling someone “You’re so bad” in a joking manner, you could just cluck your tongue and say, “Pas bon!”

If I’m not mistaken, someone in my very extended family is actually nicknamed Pas Bon. That should give you an idea of what kind of kid they were. It could be kind of like that Bill Cosby thing when he said he thought his name was Jesus Christ because that’s how his dad always started off his scoldings. I can see it now, this child’s mother was probably fed up with his antics and shouted, “Pas bon kid, stop doing that!”

Actually, come to think of that, I remember my grandfather saying “No good kid” a lot when we were being especially bad. And when we did something very stupid, it was a long-suffering sigh, a shake of his head, and a muttered “stupid kid”.

And just for the hell of it, here’s a lady who really is pas bon. She admits it!

I hope you’re able to use this phrase!


Filed under humor

5 responses to “Cajun French: Pas Bon

  1. KAK

    When I was naughty, my parents would use two words to correct me — “Young Lady.” Where the emphasis was placed and how many syllables my southern Mama applied to those two words ranked the level of deep-shit-ed-ness. Lawd, if it included the hairy eye, oooh, eeeee, not good.

    I must salute you twice for including Bill Cosby in this post. My entire family trades quotes from Himself and To Russell My Brother, Whom I Slept With. I might have to throw in this week’s phrase the next time we reenact the Elephants Under the Chair sketch.

    • LOL, if we weren’t called “no good kids” we were called by our first, middle, and last names…or when she was really irritated with us, I was called my sister’s name, my aunt’s name, my cousins’ name…anything but my own until she finally said “Whatever your name is”

      • Oh lawd. I’m glad my family’s not the only one that does this! I thought we were the only ones whose parents and miscellaneous relatives went through the entire family roster before they gave up and said “KID. You know who you are and you know you’re in trouble.”

  2. Another good lesson, my friend. I love it. I have told people that they’re no good- usually not my kids, though! LOL!

    Amy Winehouse has an awesome voice.

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