Tag Archives: cajun french

Cajun French: Chadron

Greetings, folks. I hope everyone’s having a great week.

It’s time for another Cajun French lesson. Today’s word is chadron pronounced sha-dron (soft n). A chadron is a thistle. I wasn’t aware they were considered a treat until I spoke with a co-worker who told me about a chadron soup (or something like that). It didn’t sound very appetizing to me. Plus I could just imagine my mother’s reaction if I brought home a bunch of thistles to put in the pot.

I’m not talking about cultivated thistles or anything. Thistles growing wild in fields and along the road are what many people cut and bring home. Some eat it as a snack. I recently read an article where one man said he remembers going hunting with his grandfather who would cut thistles on their way back home as a snack to tide them over until they were home. Someone else mentioned that when they road the bus, they would watch the fields picking out which chadron they planned to cut and eat.

From what I understand thistles, or chadron, taste like celery. The prime time to pick them is March and April as the stalks are more tender. When the chadron are purple, they’re left alone since they’re much tougher. I also understand there’s an art to cutting them without being stuck by the pickers. Alas, I’ve never gone chadron picking so I can’t tell you the way to do it from personal experience.

However, when I’m driving around and I pass a field filled with chadron, I always wonder if they really do taste like celery, but I’m not brave enough to go traipsing into a field to find out.

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Cajun French: Dris-Guile

It’s time for another lesson in Cajun French. We’re all learning together today because I’d never heard of today’s word until my sister-in-law’s mother mentioned it.

Dris-guile (I’m not sure if it’s spelled correctly) is pronounced “dre” (gutteral dr, long e) “guy”. It means knick-knack. It’s very familiar to a chu-chut, or a thingamabob, or doo-hicky.

You’d use it like this:

Hand me that dris-guile.

Like I said, I’d never heard this of this word until recently. I remember when I’d visit my great-aunt with my grandfather they’d speak in French. The only way you knew they were talking about you was when they looked your way, or pointed. It was frustrating in the extreme, especially when I wanted to learn Cajun French. The same thing happened with my Korean aunt. I could tell when she was swearing because she’d make this hacking sound, but I had no idea what she was saying. Again, frustrating because if there’s one thing I want to learn it’s the bad words in other languages, LOL

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to dust the dris-guile cluttering up my workspace.
 

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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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Cajun Smurf

Because it’s Thanksgiving, I won’t go into a whole lesson. Instead, I’m going to share a cute little clip my sister-in-law showed me. Someone went and made a Cajun Smurf. Yup, like we didn’t have enough smurfs already.

Anyway, I thought it was cute and would probably give y’all an idea of what a true, thick Cajun accent was like. If you have any questions about what he’s saying, ask and I shall interpret!

Happy turkey day!

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Cajun French: Nerveen

I’ve been lazy about Cajun French lessons, but I’m going to fix that. Honest! The excitement from yesterday actually made me think about today’s word. The nomination for my two books made me feel a little crazed and well, this word.

Today’s lesson is pretty quick. Nerveen (may not be spelled correctly, but pronounced exactly like it’s spelled here ner-veen) means someone is fidgety or nervous. You’d say something like She’s/He’s nerveen.

See? Easy peasy! Well, unless you’re talking about my family. You see, if there’s one thing we all have in common, it’s what I’m going to call leg-shaking syndrome. Yes, leg-shaking. You know what I’m talking about. You’ll be talking to someone at a table and all of a sudden the table starts bouncing because they’re shaking their leg so much? That doesn’t happen to you?

It happens in this family. In fact, when everyone gets together (if we can find a table big enough to fit us all), you’ll feel the floor vibrate because 90% of the people at the table are bouncing their legs. Some of them, like my aunt, bounce their legs to help them go to sleep. Now I don’t go that far. I just rub the top of my foot against the sheet over and over and over…you get the idea.

This doesn’t technically mean they’re nerveen…or maybe it does. Hm. I’ll have to ask around.

How about y’all? Do fidgets run in your family?

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Cajun French: Pishnik

I’ve noticed a lot of people have found this blog through word searches for Cajun French. If you’ve just joined the blog because of my Cajun French lessons, welcome!

Remember that book party I had back at the end of September? Well, the attendees were kind enough to share some more Cajun French words with me. I saved them in my phone and promptly forgot about them until this weekend. I was holding baby Bennett and we were once again discussing nicknames for him. They’re very important, you know.

Anyway, I was holding him and staring at his cute little face and thinking he was just a tee-niney thing (tee-niney is a phrase we use here for itty-bitty). I’ve always wanted to nickname someone Flick. Flick sounds quick, sharp, with a little sting, right? Well, that’s when I remembered I had these awesome new Cajun French words on my phone. I pulled up my notes and there it was: Pishnik, (pronounced how it’s spelled). It’s Cajun French for flick.

Of course now I’m using the word for something sweet and wholesome, but at the time (you know, an erotic paranormal romance book party) the conversation went something like this:

Hostess: There’s pishnikwhich means flick.
Me: Pishnik? It sounds dirty, like “Oh my god, he pishniked me all night long!” or “I would love to pishnik.”

And yes, now I’ve changed my mind. I can’t use this word for my nephew. Maybe I’ll just call him Flick. There. That doesn’t sound dirty, does it? How about y’all? Have y’all pishniked anyone lately? *snickers*

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Cajun French: Chu-Chut

I’d completely forgotten this word and it’s one I’ve used many times in my life.

Chu-Chut (pronounced exactly how it’s spelled, only fast), is a thingamabob, a doohickey, a whatchamacallit. It’s a thing you either can’t put a name to, or have no idea how to describe it. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can’t remember what something’s called. It could be an everyday item like a stapler, or something more exotic.

Of course having a word to call something doesn’t mean I avoid coming up with my own name for it. I remember being in fifth grade and helping a second grade teacher decorate her bulletin board. I wanted to pull the staples out and instead of asking for the staple remover, or a chu-chut, I called it a staple-puller-outer. Needless to say she found that highly entertaining.

She probably wouldn’t have known what I was talking about if I said chu-chut anyway. Unless I mimed removing staples. Maybe that’s why we tend to know what someone’s talking about when they say chu-chut. Cajun French would be nothing without hand movement. I have mentioned before how we talk with our hands, right? It adds a whole new layer to the language and helps give listeners context clues as to what in the hell they’re talking about.

So what do you call chu-chuts? Do you call them thingamabobs, thingamajigs, whichimadiggies? I’m interested in your comments!

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