Tag Archives: names

Cajun French: Names

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?

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A Rose By Any Other Name…

This weekend was spent attending a Scentsy party for my sister-in-law followed by her housewarming/birthday party, then a whole day of recovering from too much wine. I’m still in pain today, though I can actually move and think as opposed to sitting like a painful bump on a log.

The Scentsy party was given by my 16-year-old cousin. It was her first time and she was justifiably nervous, even though she knew everyone attending. You’re probably asking where I’m going with this. Well, see, my cousin’s name is Angela but she hates her name. She hates it so much that she goes by Lynn, which is her middle name. You think I’m joking? Her mom went to open house last year at school and the teacher went on and on about Lynn. Yes, the child has her teachers calling her Lynn instead of Angela.

I had to think about this because I hated my name, too. As most of you already know, my real name is Stephanie. My mom is quite put out that I’ve decided to go with a pseudonym. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say she’s mildly insulted. But should she be? Probably not. I’ve had issues with my name since I was 5.

There’s one story in the family that goes something like: I came home from school crying. When asked what was wrong, I told my mom that I wish my name was Amy because it only had THREE letters. Stephanie has NINE. Of course, she thought that was so cute. It was just the beginning. I also had a lisp. I couldn’t even say my own name! Oh sure, I bet it was just so adorable. (It was me after all.)

So when I went with the pseudonym, I had to find something that wasn’t too long, was easy to pronounce (not because I have a lisp now, mind you), and looked/sounded professional. I chose Danica because I liked the name, the meaning, and it was easy for me to write. Avet was actually the last name of one of the first boys I had a crush on, but I only realized that after I’d chosen it. Maybe part of me was still in puppy love with him? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now though. I like it. Danica Avet.

Because of this, I suppose I have no right to torment my cousin about disliking her name, but I am her older cousin, which means that’s what I’m required to do. I’m pretty sure it’s in the contract I signed.

So how about you? Do you like your name? Do you wish you had been named something else?

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