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Cajun Vocabulation


With each generation and with each passing day, we grow closer to losing a key part of our nation's unique heritage-the Cajun French language. Unless a concerted effort is made to preserve the language, this rich and vibrant culture will soon be relegated to the back pages of history. Cajun Vocabulation is one such labor of love-one man's attempt to preserve the unique heritage of his South Louisiana home.

Cajun Vocabulation is a dictionary and pronunciation guide for one of the...

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Cajun Vocabulation

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With each generation and with each passing day, we grow closer to losing a key part of our nation's unique heritage-the Cajun French language. Unless a concerted effort is made to preserve the language, this rich and vibrant culture will soon be relegated to the back pages of history. Cajun Vocabulation is one such labor of love-one man's attempt to preserve the unique heritage of his South Louisiana home.

Cajun Vocabulation is a dictionary and pronunciation guide for one of the major dialects of Cajun French. Author Gordon J. Voisin interviewed more than one hundred native speakers in order to create this unique cultural artifact. He not only presents the basics of the language; he does so without sacrificing any of the zest and humor for which Cajuns are famous. The words are written phonetically, so even those with little knowledge of Cajun French will quickly learn to approximate its unique sound.

Engage with a vital and colorful part of American heritage with Cajun Vocabulation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462001989
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 12/16/2011
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Cajun Vocabulation

By Gordon J. Voisin

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Gordon J. Voisin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-0197-2

Chapter One

Cajun Vocabulary

The most important aspect of Cajun French is the rolling "R." To make a rolling "R" you flutter the tip of the tongue, upon the top of your palate and roll them. Try saying the words through, throat, three and throw, and you've just rolled four "R's." All R's are rolled in Cajun French, no matter where they occur. Without them it sounds too Americanized, which isn't altogether bad, but misses the point of what the Cajun French is meant to sound like.

The two most used syllables in the Cajun vocabulary are the "Anh" and "Onh." The "Anh" is made by taking the word "and," cutting the sound in half, stressing the "a" and eliminating the "d" sound. Try saying the words "animal" "can" and "ran," and you've pronounced the "Anh" sound. For the "Onh" sound you would say the word "on", and stretch the "o" sound and eliminate the "n" sound. Try the words "going" "gaunt" and "don't" and you've just pronounced the "Onh" sound. There are many other syllables that may be indigenous to the Cajun language. They are as follows:

Ah: As in bother, cot or yacht. Ahl: As in Polly, collie or dolly. Anh: As in ran, land and tan. Arr: As in car, par or mar. Aud: As in laud, bawdy or pawed. Aw: As in saw, gnaw or father. Awl: As in crawl, doll or ball. Awm: As in ohm, home or roam. Awsh: As in caution awash or squash. Awz: As in clause, pause or cause. Bah: As in bayou, bottle or bother. Bawn: As in brawn, lawn or dawn. Buh: As in butter, butt or barrage. Cah or Kah: As in cog, college or collar. Caw: As in paw, awe or saw. Cawm: As in pome, loam or tome. Cawt: As in ought, caught or thought. Craw: As in paw, crawfish, or law. Deux: As in heard, purple or pas de deux. Dieu: As in girl, hurl or pearl. Du: As in do, who or coo. Duh: As in veranda, rough or dud. Eau or Eaux: As in bureau, oh or know. Ee: As in see, bee or three. Eii: As in figure, ill or pill. Ess: As in best, rest or mess. Euh: As in pas de deux; burly or curly. Eum: As in gum, sum or thumb. Ev: As in heavy, levee or heaven. Feuh: As in earth, early or burly. Gah: As in God, mod or nod. Guh: As in cut, but or rut. Igg: As in big, fig or rig. Jay: As in day way or hay. Kah: As in cop, comic or pop. Kai: As in lye, eye or pie. Kawt: As in bought, sought or ought. Kuhl: As in bull, wool or pull. La: As in rah, ha, or lob. Mott: As in cot, sot or what. Muh: As in justice, just or must. Nu: As in nuclear, noose or nude. Nuh: A in nut, cut or dud. Ohm: As in comb, home, or dome. Oii: As in doing, booing or cooing. Oin: As in coin, loin or join. Onh: As in bone, gone or lone. Ont or Awnt: As in want, haunt or taunt. Oo: As in boot, toot or root. Ought: As in caught, fought or moth. Pah: As in pop, pocket, or faux pas Poos: As in noose, moose or loose. Rahl: As in collar, dollar or holler. Roo: As in too, moo or coo. Sah: As in cot, pah or hot. Tood: As in you'd, rude or sued. Uh: As in but, cut or hut. Urr: As in purr, sir, or cur. Uzz: As in does, buzz or fuzz. Vii: As in vie, pie, or tie. Waw: As in patois, wasp or squaw. Yea: As in pay, way or say. Yuh: As in hut, but, or cut.

English to French


A: An; anh. Able: Kah-pop. Aboard: Ah-bar. Accident: Ox-see-donh. Acid: Ah-sid. Across from: Ah-poe-zay. Additional: Oh-see. Adhere: Call. Adhered: Co-lay. Advance: Ah-vawn-suh. Advanced: Ah-vawn-say. Affair: Ah-fair. Affectionate term for a young boy: Neg. Afraid: Purr. African-American man: Neg, however this term is derogatory. African-American female: Neg-ress, however this term is derogatory. After: Ah-pray. After noon: Ah-pray-me-dee. After somebody: Pod-duh-yair. After while: Donh-an-alonh. Again: Onh-car. Against (to go): Ah-pause. Agreeable: Ah-gray-yobb. Aground: A-schway. Ahead: Prawm-yair. Alcoholic drink: Bwaw-sonh; co-loy. Alike: Mam-shawz. All: Toot; too. All around: Tool-tour. Alligator: Kai-monh. All over: Pot-too; too-pot-too. Allow: Kit; less. All the time: Tool-tonh. Almost: Ah-pray-pray; press-kuh; prawsh. Alone: Sull; monh-sull. A long time: Lonh-tonh. Already: Day-jah. Also: Oh-see. Always: Tool-tonh. Ambition: Ess-pwarr. Ammunition: Cot-toosh. Anchor: Onk; grop-anh. Angel: Onj. Anger: Co-lair. Anger (to): Shawk. Angered: Show-kay. Angry (too make): A-show-kay; chu-rouge; fah-shay. Animal: Annie-moe. Another: An-ought. Another thing: An-ought-shawz. Another time: An-ought-fwaw. Answer: Ray-pawn. Answered: Ray-pawn-du. Ants: Frawm-mee. Anyone: No-pote-tuh-kell. Anything: No-pote-tuh-key. A-pang: A pin to hold clothes on a clothes line. Apiece: Pyess. Apparently: Onh-dee-ray. Appearance: Ah-pah-rawnce. Appears as though: Sawm. Apple: Pawm; pome. Apprentice: Ah-prawn-tee. Approach: Ah-prawsh. Approached: Ah-pro-shay. April: Ah-vreel. Argue: Oh-stin; diss-put. Argued: Oh-steen-nay. Argument: Shawm-my; diss-put. Arm: Bra. Around: Oh-tour. Arrange: Ah-roan-juh. Arranged: Ah-roan-jay. Arrive: Ah-riv. Arrived: Ah-ree-vay. Arrogant: Fawn-chock. As: Cawm. ASAP: Toot-sweet. Ascend: Gramp. Ascended: Gramp-pay. As good: Bawn. Ashore: Ah-tair. Ask: Udd-mawn. Asleep: Darr. Asphyxiate: A toof. Asphyxiated: A-too-fay. Aspiration: Ess-pwarr. Ate: Mawn-jay. Athlete's foot: God-noo-shett. At one time: Pod-duh-an-fwaw. At sea: Ah-la-mair. Attach: Ah-tosh. Attached: Ah-tosh-shay. Attempt: Ah-say-yuh. Attempted: Ah-say-yea. Attic: Gran-yea. Attitude: Ah-bee-tood. Audacity: Too-pay. August: Ah-woo. Aunt: Taunt. Aunt (little): Tee-taunt. Autumn: Oh-taum. Awaken: Ray-vay-yea. Aware: Ah-pair-sue. A way: Monh-yair. Awful: Thriss. Awkward: Froo-froo; gawsh. Awn-too-rodge: A wall.


Baby: Bay-bay. Back (in): Onh-nod-yair. Back (the): Doe. Backward: Ah-lawn-vair. Bad: Moe-vay; moll. Bad smell: Pue. Bad squall: Oh-rodge; tonh-pet. Bait: Ah-pah. Ball: Plaut. Bamboo: Row-zoe. Banana: Bah-nawn. Bank: Bonk. Bare: Nu. Bare foot: Nu-pyea. Bark: Jop. Barked: Jop-pay. Basket: Ponh-yea. Bass (fish): Thritt-vair. Bastard: Bah-tard; onh-fawnh-de-goss. Bath (to take a): Ban-yea. Bath room: Shawm-ah-banh. Bath towel: Sair viet. Battered: Cob-oh-say. Battery: Bah-three. Battle: Bah-tie. Also, a Cajun card game. Beans: Ben. Beard: Bob. Beast: Bay-tie. Beaten: Foo-tu. Beat up: Cob-oh-say. Beautiful: Bow. Beautiful woman: Joe-lee; bell. Because: Poss-kuh. Became aware of: Ah-pair-sue. Become accustomed to: Ah-bue-tway. Bed: Lee. Bed room: Shawm-ah-lee. Beets: Bay-thrav. Before: Onh-nah-vonh. Before noon: Ah-vonh-mee-dee. Began: Cawm-onh-say. Begin: Cawm-awnse. Beginner: Ah-prawn-tee. Behind (in back of): Onh-nod-yair. Behind (position): Dan-yea. Behind (the): Dair-yair; chu. Behind the back: Onh-kah-shett. Beignet: Ban-yea. Belch: Rawt. Belched: Row-tay. Bell: Clawsh. Belly: Vaunt. Belly button: Nawm-bree. Belonging to us: Naught; pot-chanh. Belt (a): San-tour. Bent: Crawsh; crow-shay. Be rid of: Day-fair. Bet (to): Pah-ree. Better: Pleu-bonh; muh-yurr. Between: Ont. Big event: Coo. Big Female: Grown. Big male: Gronh. Billfold: Pawt-mawn-nay. Bill (money): Bee-yea. Biloxi: Bay-lux-see. Bird: Zwaw-zoe. Birth: A-nay. Birthday: Fett. Biscuit: Biss-quee. Bit: Mord-du. Bite: Mord. Bitten: Mord-du. Black: Nwarr. Blackberry dumplings: Poe-ten. Black drum (fish): Taum-bow. Black mullet (fish): Muy-nwarr. Black pepper: Pwaw-vuh. Blade: Lawm. Blanket: Blonh-kett. Bleed: Sanh-yuh. Bleeding: Sanh-yea. Bless: Blay-say. Blessed: Bee-nee. Blew (the wind): Vonh-tay. Blister: Onh-poul. Bloat: Gonh-flay. Bloated: Gonf. Block: Blauk. Blocked: Blow-kay. Blond: Blawn. Blood: Sonh. Boat: Bah-tow. Boat (broken down): Day-poo-yuh; day-pooi. Boil (a): Clew. Boil (to): Boo-yuh. Boiled: Boo-yea. Boisterous: Bosk-you-luzz. Boll-yea: A broom. Also to sweep. Bolt: Boo-lonh Bones: Aw-suh. Book: Liv. Boots: Bought. Border: Bode-durr. Born: A-nay. Borrowed: Onh-pray-tay. Bother (to): Onh-bet; jan; shah-grin. Bothered: Onh-bay-tay; jan nay; shah-gree-nay. Bottom: Fonh. Boudin: Cajun style sausage; boo-danh. Bought: Osh-tay. Bourre' (a Cajun card game): Boo-ray. Bow (the front of a boat): A-thrauv. Bowl: Ball. Box: Bwett. Boy: Boog; gar-sonh. Braggart: Vaunt-turr. Brain: Sair-vell. Brave: Brauv. Bread: Panh. Break (to): Koss. Breakfast: Day-jan-nay. Breasts: Tay-ten. Breath: Soof. Breathe: Soo-flay. Breeze: Brizz. Bright: Bree-yont. Brilliant: Bree-yont. Bring: Onh-man. Bring back: Ohm-nay. Broke: Koss-say. Broken: Kah-say. Broken down: Day-brang-gay. Broken down car: Shah-rett. Brother: Frair. Brother-in-law: Bow-frair. Brought: Ohm-nay; roam-nay. Brush: Braw suh. Bucket: Syoe. Buddy: Pod-nah. Buggy: Bow-gay. Building (carpenters do this): Bah-tear. Building (a): Bah-tiss. Built: Bah-tee. Bull: Buff; tow-row. Bull-frog: Wah-wah-ronh. Buoy: Bway. Burial: Onh-tair-monh. Buried: Onh-tay-ray. Burn (a): Brew-lure. Burn (to): Brewl. Burned: Brew-lay. Burned food: Gree-yea. Burnt: Bruel-lay. Bury: Onh-tair. Bushel: Ponh-yea. Busted: Day-fawn-say. Busybody: Ess-peonh-nurr. Butt: Fonh; pay-tard. Butter: Burr. Butterbeans: Fev-plot. Butterfly: Pop-ee-yonh. Butter flyer: Pope-yair-urr. Butterfly nets: Pope-yair. Buttocks: Fess. Button: Boot-onh. Buy (to): Jet. By myself: Monh-sull. By the seat of the pants: Fawned-key-lawt.


Cabbage: Shoe. Cable (nautical term): Cob. Cajun card games: Boo-ray, peed-row, Bah-tie, Sasquatch; Screw your neighbor. Cajun hutch: Gar-mawn-jay (literally look, food). Cajun sideboard: Gar-mawn-jay. Cake: Got-oh. Cake (small, one layer): Gah-lett; ban-yea. Calf: Voe. Call: Ah-pell. Called: Ah-play. Calmed down: Coll-mee. Calming down: Coll-meer. Came: Mnu. Came-down: Day-sawn-du. Came in: Roan-tray. Camel: Shom-oh. Came near: Ah-pro-shay. Came out: Soat-tee. Can (I or You): Kah-pop. Canal: Con ahl. Canal (for trappers): Tran-oss. Cancer: Cawn-sair. Candle: Shawn-dell. Candy: Cawn-dee. Cane: Cawn. Cane reed: Kah-nush. Can't: Pah-pah. Cap: Koss; shop-oh. Capable: Kah-pop. Capitol: Cop-ee-tahl. Caprice: Kah-priss. Capsize: Cop-poe-tay. Captain: Cop-ee-tan. Car: Sharr. Card: Cot. Card games (Cajun): Boo-ray, bah-tie, peed-row Sasquath and Screw Your Neighbor. Careless: Froo-froo. Carpenter: Share-pawn-turr. Carpentry (is doing): Share-pawn-tay. Carpentry work: Share-pawnt. Carried: Port-tay. Carrot: Kah-rawt. Carry: Part. Carryings on: Shod-odd. Cart: Shah-rett. Cartridges: Cot-toosh. Car window: Vitt. Case: Kess. Cast net: A-preeve-yea. Cat: Shah. Catch: Ah-throp. Catechism: Kah-tay-shiss. Catfish: Barb-bue. Catholic: Cot-oh-lick. Cattle: Annie-moe; bay-tie; vawsh. Caught: Ah-throp-pay; onh pawn-yea. Caught (got): Prawn. Cauldron: Showed-yair. Caulk: Goll-fett. Caulked: Goll-fay-tay. Cedar: Said. Celebrate: Sell-a-bray. Celery: Sell-rhee. Cemetery: Seem-me-tyair. Center: Meel-yeuh. Chafed: A-show-fay. Chagrin: Shah-grin. Chagrined: Shah-gree-nay. Chain: Shan. Chair: Shezz. Chamber pot: Pah-chawm. Chance: Shawn-suh. Chandelier: Shawn-dill-yea. Change (money): A-shawn-juh. Change (to): Shawn-juh. Changed: Shawn-jay. Changed ends: Vee-rayed-boot. Changed residence: Day-low-jay. Chase: Coor-say. Chase (the): Ah-la-coose. Chasing: Pod-duh-yair. Chatter: Rah-dawt. Cheap: Bawn-mahr-shay. Cheese: Frawm-modge. Cherished: Share. Chest of drawers: She-fawn-war. Chew: Shick. Chewed: Shee-kay. Chicanery: Shee-cawn-ree. Chicken: Pool. Chicken (Fryer): Voe-lye. Chicken coop: Peeve-yea. Chicken pox: Pee-caught. Chicken yard: Poo-lye-yea. Chiffonier: She-fawn-war. Child: Onh-fonh; pee-tee. Children: Daze-onh-fonh. Chills: Free-sonhs. Chilly: Fray. Chimney: Sheem-nay. Chin: Monh-tonh. Chinese: Sheen-waw. Chocolate: Shock-oh-la. Choke: A-throng-glay. Choose: Shwaw. Choosy: Day-fay-sill. Chose: Shwaw-zee. Christmas: Chrees-muss. Church: A-glizz. Church collection: Kett. Cigar: See-gahr. Cigarette: See-gah-ritt. Circular: Ronh. Cistern: See-tan. City: Vill. Claw (a): Panse. Claw (to): Grah-fee-yea. Clean (to): Nay-twoy. Clean (to be): Prawp. Clean (wipe): Swee-yea. Cleaned: Nay-twoy-yea. Clear: Clair. Cleared up: A-clair-see. Climb: Gramp. Climbed: Gram-pay. Clock: Pawn-duel. Close (to): Fram. Close (to be): Pray. Closed: Fram-may. Cloth: A-toff. Clothes: Lange. Clothes basket: Pawn-yea-ah-lange. Clover: Threff. Coat: Cop-oh. Coating of filth: Chrutt. Cobwebs: Filled-nan-yea. Cocky: Fawn-chock. Coffee: Kah-fay. Coffee pot: Greg-ah-kah-fay. Coffin: Sair-cuy. Coins: A-shawn-juh. Colander: Cool-war. Cold (is): Fraw. Collection: Co-leck-syonh. Collection (in church): Kett. College: Co-ledge. Color: Coo-lurr. Come: Vyanh. Come (will): Vom-near. Come down: Day-sawn. Common: Cawm-unh. Communion: Cawm-mee-yonh. Companion: Ah-mee; pod-nah. Company (a): Cawm-pawn-yee. Company (visitors): Cawm-pawn-yee. Compartment to ice shrimp: Coll. Compass: Cawm-pah. Complain: Plan-yea. Complaining: Ah-pray plan-yea. Completely crazy: Foo-net. Condom: Cop-ought. Constipated: Cawn-stee-pay. Contingent upon: Dah-bar. Continue: Cawn-tee-noo. Continuing: Too-jour. Contraption: Onh-grew-shodd. Cook (to): Quee. Cooked: Quee. Cooking: Queer. Cooking pot: Showed-yair. Cool: Fray. Cop: Oh-feece-yea. Copper: Quiv. Corn: My-yee. Corner: Quanh. Correct: Co-rheck. Corrosion, (usually of rust): Roo-yea. Couch: So-fah. Cough: Toose. Coughed: Too-say. Could: Foe-rah; poo-vay. Count: Cawnt. Counted: Cawn-tay. Counter (in the kitchen or restaurant): Cawnt-war. Courage: Coo-rodge; curr. Court bouillon: Coo-bee-yawn. Cousin: Cooz-anh. Cover: Coo-vair. Covering: Coo-vair-tour. Cow: Vawsh. Crab: Crobb. Crab (hermit): Too-loo-loo. Crab (soft shelled): Crobb-mall. Crack: Crock. Cravat: Crah-vott. Crawfish: A-cray-viss. Crawl: Thran-nay. Craze: Chrizz. Crazy female: Fall. Crazy male: Foo. Cream: Cram. Credit: Cray-dee. Creosote board: Mod-ree-yea. Cricket: Kree-kett. Cried: Cree-yea; jull-lay; pleur-ray. Crime: Krimm. Criminal: Cree-mee-nahl. Crippled: Flee-jay. Crocodile: Co-co-dree. Crooked: Crawsh. Cross: Craw. Croup: Co-leush. Crumb: Gree-yoe. Crust: Chrutt. Crutch: Bay-key-yuh. Cry: Jull. Crying: La-lamb. Cry out: Cree. Cried out: Cree-yea. Cucumber: Co-cawm. Cup: Tah-suh. Cure: Gay-rear. Cured: Gay-ree. Curls (in the hair): Boo-klett. Curse (a Cajun hex): Gree-gree. Curse (to): Jurr. Cursed: Jew-day; moo-dee. Curtain: Ree-doe. Cut: Coup. Cylinder: See-lan. Cylinder oil: Wrill duh-see-lan. Cypress: Sip.


Daddy: Pair. Damage: Mah sock; dawm-odge. Damaged: Mah sock-ray; dawm-ah-jay. Damned: Moo-dee. Dance (a): Bahl. Dance (to): Dawnce. Dandruff: Poe-mort. Danger: Dawn-jay. Dark: Nwarr. Day (a): June-nay. Day after tomorrow: Lawn-manh. Daytime: Jour. Dead: Mort. Dear: Share. Debris (from the tide): Roam-ah-see. Decayed: Poo-ree. December: Day-sawm. Decide: Day-sid. Decided: Day-see-day. Deckhand (on a boat): Mott-low. Defend: Day-fawn. Defense: Day-fawn suh. Deformed: Ess-throw-pyea. Delicate: Day-lee-cot; frah geel. Delicious: Day-lease-yuh. Deliver: Day-liv. Delivered: Day-leave-ray. Dented: Crow-she. Dentist: Dawn-tiss. Dentures: Rah-teal-yea. Depend on: Day-pawn. Derriere: Chu; fonh. Descend: Day-sawn. Descended: Day-sawn-du. Desire: Day-zear; onh-vee. Desire (to): Day-zear. Desired: Day-zee-ray. Destroy: A-cree-blay. Devil: Dyobb. Devoured: Day-voe-ray. Diaper: Coosh. Dictionary: Deek-syonh-nair. Did: Fay. Did put away: Roam-ah-say. Did wrong: Moll. Die: Crev. Died: Cray-vay. Dig: Fooi. Digger: Foor-guy-yurr. Digging: Foo-yea. Dinner: Dee-nay. Dip net: Cod-lay. Dirt: Tair; chross; poos-yair. Dirtied: Sah-lee. Dirty: Sahl. Dirty (getting): Sah-leer. Dirty (got): Sah-lee. Disabled: Ess-throw-pyea. Discharged: Day-share-jay. Disgrace: Daze-awn-urr. Dishes: Vay-sell. Disheveled: Moll-ah-jawn-tray. Dishonor: Daze-awn-urr.


Excerpted from Cajun Vocabulation by Gordon J. Voisin Copyright © 2011 by Gordon J. Voisin. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents


A Cajun is....................xi
Cajun Vocabulary....................1
English to French....................4
Cajun Surnames....................71
Crazy Euphemisms....................75
Anatomy of a Cajun....................78
Insects and Things That Crawl....................83
Animals and Four-legged Things....................84
At What Time....................85
Food, Beverages and Such....................87
By the Numbers....................89
Months of the Year....................91
Days of the Week....................92
Things That Fly....................94
Slang and Silliness....................97
Cajun Vocabulary Redux....................113
French to English....................115
About the Author....................167
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