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Cajun Word: Envie

Some of you may follow me on Twitter. If you do, you might see me use the word envie a few times.

Envie, pronounced “ahnvee” (or something like that), means desire, want, or inclination. I’ve often heard this in reference to food. Lately, I’ve had an envie for Chinese food since I haven’t had it in so long. But it can also indicate something you want to do. Like I have the envie to go to a Saints game.

I remember the first time I heard this word used. Before I went college, I spent a lot of time in my own parish. Sure, I went to neighboring Lafourche Parish to visit family and the like, but when I went to college there, it opened a whole new world for me. And not just formal education. Nicholls State University, my alma mater, used to be called Harvard on the Bayou because it drew a lot of students from the Tri-Parish area (Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and St. Mary Parish). As a result, you had a blending of many different Cajun English dialects.

I was in my 3rd year when I made friends with a group of people from central Lafourche Parish. One of these friends, though she didn’t have an accent, used Cajun English words left and right. Probably because she’d gone to school with so many people who spoke Cajun French. I remember her using the word envie and I didn’t even have to ask her what it meant. It was as though some part of me instinctively understood envie means strong want, desire, or inclination.

It didn’t become my favorite word (Mais has that honor), but it does convey exactly what I mean when I say I want something. Want, or need, are two words that sometimes don’t feel strong enough to use when I hunger for something. It has to be envie.

So when you’re sitting around and you have a sudden craving for chocolate or coffee, think…Hm, I have the envie for .

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