Cajun Speak

There are a few colloquialisms of south Louisiana that deserve some explanation. Not only do folks from south Louisiana deliver unconventional directions, they also have a few sayings that are characteristic of the area.

“Mais” – Pronounced “may,” like the month, this word can be used before almost any statement that you make. “Mais yeah, cher,” would translate to “Well yes, dear.”

“Come see.” – This is a like saying “Come here.” or “Hey, check this out.” I’ve been told that I’m the only one in my circle of friends who says this, so I suppose only Louisiana folks use it.

“Making groceries” – I don’t hear this one too much anymore, but people used to say that they were going to “make groceries” when they went to the store.

“Get down” – Used in the typical south Louisiana context, this one sometimes confuses people. Instead of asking “Are you going to come inside?” when someone stops by, we’ll ask “Are you going to get down?” We never mean to ask people if they’re about to dance.

“Fixin'” – This word is used all the time. It’s used instead of “getting ready.” For example, I could say “I’m fixin’ to wash the car,” or “I’m fixin’ dinner.” We’re always fixin’ something or fixin’ to do something.

These are just a few from the top of my head. From now on I’ll point out any strange diction as I write.

I want to close this post with a sound byte. My uncle Norman has a voice that I believe to be the epitome of the Cajun accent. Take a listen to this voicemail that he left me on my birthday here.

My Uncle Norman


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