Louisiana French (Cajun Terms)

French and Creole have been spoken in Louisiana for more than 300 years. The language brought to the colony in 1699 by the French founders was later influenced by the importation of Senegambian slaves, the arrival of German and Spanish immigrants, Acadian exiles, refugees from the island of St. Domingue (now Haiti), and French royalists fleeing revolutions in Europe in the mid to late 19th century. The last group of immigrants arrived in the River Parishes from France in the 1920s. This linguistic mosaic makes the French and Creole spoken in New Orleans Plantation Country among its most hidden treasures. 

Common French phrases you will hear in Louisiana:
  • Une envie (ine ah(n) vee):  a longing or hunger
  • bèb (behb) : sweetheart, darling
  • cabine (kah bean): outdoor shed, outhouse
  • couillon (koo yo(n): fool, foolish, stupid
  • frissons (free so(n): goose bumps
  • guêpe (ghep): wasp
  • gris-gris (gree gree): a curse put on someone
  • honte (haunt): embarrassed
  • minou (mee noo): cat
  • parrain (pah rah(n): godfather
  • pichouette (pee shwet): a little person, runt  
  • piquant (pee kah(n): thorn; spicy
  • rôder (roe day): go from place to place or run the roads 
  • cher (sha): dear