If you’ve ever spent any time around true Cajuns in south Louisiana, you’ve probably noticed a few things that stand out us that seems a little different from most cultures. If you share a meal with us, you might pick up on the fact that we probably like to add a little more cayenne to our food or that we can pretty much find a way to fry up anything and make it taste delicious. If there’s live music in the air, we’re usually the first to start dancin’, and there’s probably a few extra jigs in our 2-step than you’re used to seeing. But the thing that folks usually pick up on first is our way of sayin’ things.
Let’s look at a few popular Cajun words and phrases in what we’ll call, “Cajun Phraseology.”
“Coullion” - Pronounced (Coo-yawh)
This one is probably my favorite, but it really shouldn’t be because I heard it a lot growing up from my mom. A coullion is someone who’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Basically, it’s a Cajun way of saying “you did something kind of silly, but I still love you.” If you grew up in my house, it usually went something like “You coullion! You knew better than that. Now, go put some ice on it.”
“Make a pass” Or “Pass By”
No, this isn’t someone trying to get a date. It’s more of a Cajun invitation. You’ll usually hear it in the context of inviting someone over for a meal or a party.
“Ayy, momma’s makin’ a gumbo tonight! You gonna make a pass?”
“I’ve got a couple cold ones icing down, you wanna pass by?”
“ Boude’ ”- Pronounced (Boo-day)
This means “to pout” or to “be angry.”
“Stop all that boude-ing and go do your homework.”
“Cher”- Pronounced (Sha)
This simply means “dear” in Parisian French. We Cajuns use it the same way.
“Look at that sha lil guy peelin’ his own crawfish!”
“Mais”- Pronounced (Meh)
In Parisian French, it means “but.” In south Louisiana, it’s can be used all sorts of ways.
“Mais, I gotta go to da store. You comin?”
“Mais, you read that blog on VisitLakeCharles.org? Das some good stuff right there!”