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Learn some Cajun

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Here are a few Cajun words & sayings you may hear when visiting Louisiana.

Allons [Ah-loh(n)]: Let's go.

Ça c’est bon (Sa say boh(n)): That’s good.

Ça va (Sa va): How are you? And it's also the response "I'm well."

C’est tout (Say too): That’s all.

Cher [sha]: A term of endearment usually used with women, similar to ‘dear’ or ‘sweetheart.’ “Would you like another cup of coffee, cher?”

Chevrette (she-vret): Shrimp

Cocodril (ko-ko-dree): Alligator

Courtbouillon (coo-boo-yon): A rich, spicy tomato-based soup or stew made with fish fillets, onions, and sometimes mixed vegetables.

Envie [ah(n)-vee] A longing or hunger to do or eat something. Other Southerners might use the word ‘hankering’ where a Cajun would use ‘envie.’ “I’ve got an envie for some boudin.”

Fais do-do [fay doe-doe]: A Cajun dance party. (Also, an expression adults use when they want children to go to sleep.) “Will we see you at the fais do do?”

Filé [fee-lay]: Ground sassafras leaves used to season, among other things, gumbo.

Frottoir [froh-twahr]: A washboard or rubboard used as a musical instrument in zydeco and Cajun music.

Gris-gris [gree-gree] To put a curse on someone. Frequently used in jest, not in reference to actual black magic. “Grandma got so mad when I ate her pie, she put a gris gris on me.”

Honte [hont]: Embarrassed or ashamed. “I drank too much and fell into the bayou. Boy, was I honte!”

Joie de vivre [Jhwa da veev]: Joy of living.

Lagniappe [Lahn-yap]: Something extra.

Laissez les bons temps rouler [Lay say lay boh(n) toh(n) roo lay]: Let the good times roll. With more than 400 festivals each year, this saying embraces the fun-loving nature of Louisiana.

Minou [mee-noo]: Cat. “Get that minou off the table! It’s time for dinner.”

Pauvre ti bête [Pove tee bet]: Poor little thing.

Pirogue [pee-row]: A Cajun canoe.

Ti (masculine) or 'tite (feminine) [tee or teet]: The Cajun equivalent of ‘junior,’ but placed before the name rather than after. “I had dinner with John and his son Ti-Jean.”

Veiller [vay-yay]: To spend the evening talking with friends. Cajun equivalent of “to shoot the breeze.” “She was veiller with all her friends on the porch”

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