Tag Archives: phrases

Cajun French: Colloquialisms

I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel for my Cajun French lessons. Well, actually today will be a Cajun English lesson, so I should’ve titled it Cajun English. Eh, whatever.

There are a lot of things said here that can be confusing. I’ve already mentioned “Get down” which means to get out of your car and visit with someone. It does not mean to dance. Other little phrases are used in everyday language and most of the time we don’t realize we’re saying them.

“Make groceries”:
Whatcha doin’ today?
Oh, I have to go make groceries.
We’re not literally making anything. It means we’re going to the grocery store.

“Hahn?”:
“Hahn? What’d you say?”
It’s our version of “huh”. It’s hard to explain but it’s a nasally sound with a flat a and a silent n. We say “huh” as well, but this one is more commonly said without us realizing it.

“Save your toys”:
Company’s comin’ over, go save your toys.
This does not mean the child’s toys are in danger, it means pick them up. We also use “Save your clothes” as in pick them up so they’re not wrinkled/messed-up, etc.

“Threadmill”:
The doctor says I have to use the threadmill for twenty minutes a day.
Obviously they’re using a treadmill.

“Zink”:
Just put the dishes in the zink.
It isn’t a strange new element, but the kitchen sink. This one used to drive me crazy when I was a kid.

“Coke”:
Do you want a Coke?
Sure, what kind you got?
Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper…
Coke is every soft drink there is. I have no idea why, but that’s just the way it goes.

And for Star Wars fans, we had “Dark Vada” and “Light saver”:
Dark Vada was killed with a light sava.
Yeah, you know that isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

So those are just a few little things we say that might confuse a lot of people who aren’t from around here but make perfect sense to us. I’m sure I’ll remember some more, so expect another post like this in the future.

Have you ever heard/used any of these phrases?

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Filed under humor

Cajun French: Family Gossip

I’ve been having a strange two weeks, but I’ll get over it. I’m finally writing again. I had to imagine that my writer’s block was a mountain and my creative juices a river that had to wear the mountain down until thoughts could leak through. Yeah, it took that long to get them flowing again, but hopefully no boulders will block the little gap I made.

I don’t have an actual Cajun French word or phrase for you this week. Instead, I’m going with a simple saying that you’ll hear from just about everyone down here.

I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes when I go to the store, I run into every distant relative I never knew about. Seriously, I have so many cousin’s on my dad’s side of the family, I have no idea who they are. My mom will say, “You know Uncle Cop’s son’s daughter? I saw her today.” And I’m like…who?

Anyway, the few relatives I see that I do know, all want to chit-chat. Yes, they will block the aisles with their baskets while they grill you about your life, tell you about their life, and give you all of the gossip you weren’t sure you wanted to know. Kind of like “So-and-so finally moved and are living next door to us. And so-and-so is fighting with blahblah because of blah. And blankety-blank is getting married, but I’m not inviting yada-yada…” You get the idea.

It kind of starts like this:

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in forever! How’s your mama and them?”

“How’s your mama and them” is a perfectly legitimate question. It means they want to know how your family is, not just your mama. Of course, when it comes to my dad’s family, they all want to know how Mom’s doing. She hasn’t been married to him for over thirty years, but they still call her aunt and want to know how she is and what she’s up to.

I find it kind of funny it isn’t “How’s your daddy and them” instead. I suppose it just goes to show that here, the woman is the center of the family. Kind of like a big ball of fire that shoots solar flares at you when you piss her off…you know what I mean!

Of course, you’d only use this phrase if you’re familiar with the family. It would be kind of weird for someone who’s never met your mother or family to ask that question unless they’ve known you for a very long time and you’ve told them endless stories about them *cough* So yeah, y’all can totally ask me “how’s your mama and them”, LOL

So is this something you say in your part of the world? If not, what would you say instead?

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Filed under Family