Yall don’t bouder! I know I forgot even more words in my previous two talking funny posts (here and here).
Including, of course, bouder — pronounced boo-day — a word used to this day by Cajuns in all regions and instantly recognizable to even those without a lick of French. Maybe I blocked it out because I heard it so much growing up.
Bouder: to sulk, pout.
I sulked and pouted a lot as a kid. Well, most kids do I guess. The funny thing about the word is that it’s been English-ized. So instead of conjugating it as a French verb, it gets treated as an English one. Bouder, boudering, boudered. Obviously this works better if you spell it phonetically.
He’s boo-daying because I wouldn’t let him have no coffee milk.
She boo-dayed all day long because we ate her pet rabbit.
Speaking of pets:
Mee-noo/minoo: a generic name for a cat. Or sometimes a proper name for a cat. My mawmaw had about a hundred outdoor cats, but Mee-noo was the only one with a name (that I can remember).
Finally, I have to share part of a comment that reader Annick LeDoux left on the first post. I think it’s a great example of what can happen to a language as it develops for hundreds of years outside of its home country:
I came to Duson from France in 1964. My 3 years old son said in my french (France) pointing to a bird on an electric line “regarde la cocotte Maman”. (Look at the little bird). Before I could say anything his Cajun Grandmother said “Mais dis pas ca ti fi d’putain!”. She gave me the impression that she was upset. But then I was very upset too because she told my son “Do not say that you little son of a bitch.” Well, of course now I know why. “Cocotte” in France can be a little chicken or a little bird or also an iron pot. My son was pointing at a bird. But to the old Cajun Lady “Cocotte” meant a certain feminine body part and of course she was shocked that my little boy could use such a terrible word.
3 thoughts on “Boo-day! Also: Lost in Translation — French vs. French”
These make me laugh out loud!
Question not comment – would the phrase “until I read from you” at the close of a letter be something a Cajun might say instead of until I hear from you?
This is extremely helpful. For the first time ever (I’m 49) I’m dating a Cajun man with a very strong accent. I know he gets tired of me asking him to repeat himself and explain its meaning over and over.