Boo-day! Also: Lost in Translation — French vs. French

Yall don’t bouder! I know I forgot even more words in my previous two talking funny posts (here and here).

Mais! If yall wanna buy my book, yall could do that, yeah. Just click.
Mais! If yall wanna buy my book, yall could do that, yeah. Just click.

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

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

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