Are you from somewhere outside of the Acadiana area? Do you have family and friends who moved here having trouble adjusting to the Cajun English that we speak?

We got you...

Courtesy of Marion Post Wolcott / Stringer / Getty
Courtesy of Marion Post Wolcott / Stringer / Getty

How To Speak Cajun French Or Cajun English

You don't have to have grown up very far from Acadiana to be confused by some of the words, sayings, or expressions that we use in conversation

Back in 2012, a genius put together a pretty extensive piece on how to speak Cajun English, or, as the title says, at least understand it.


If you aren’t from this area, then I’m sure you’ve mispronounced quite a few road names and words that we use.

Cajuns often 'speak with their hands' and cut out pieces of words.


One of the most classic tell-tale signs of a Cajun accent is replacing the 'th' combination in English words with D’s or T’s. ('Wha dat ting ya got?' rather than 'What’s that thing you have?')


Cajuns pronounce these names:

Matthew- Ma-chew

Lydia- Lid-ya

Raphael- Ray-feel

Alida- Ah-lee-da

Richard- Re-shard

Granger- Gron-jay

Hollier- Ole-yay

Hebert- A-bear

The emphasis should be put on the last syllable, instead of the first like in English.

Google Maps
Google Maps


The idioms that Cajuns use can be quite confusing to outsiders as well.

“Hey, you wanna get down with me?” – Do you want to get out of the car and go inside with me.

“Can you save the dishes?” – Can you put away the dishes?

“That gives me the frissons.” – That gives me the chills.

"Pass a good time" - means to have fun.

"Gardes don" - (pronounced gah-dAY-daw(n) means "look at that".

"My foot" (or "hand" or "head" etc.) is kind of the Cajun version of "Whatever!"

"Mais, J’mais!" is the Cajun equivalent of "But I never!"

Photo by John Falcon
Photo by John Falcon


When a Cajun is trying to emphasize an affirmative or negative sentence, they will often revert to French syntax. “No, I didn’t do that!” becomes “I didn’t do that, No!” One of the sweetest ways a Cajun man can express his affections is to say, “I love you, yeah.”

We will also add directional pronouns to add emphasis like “Me, I don’t have any, no.”

Rather than saying “a lot” or “very” Cajuns will often double an adjective. “Don’t drink that yet; it’s hot hot!” or “Have you seen Greg’s new truck? It’s big big!”

Frequently Used Cajun French Words

- pronounced "Fa-shay" It means "angry" and is thrown into English sentences. "She’s really fache now."

Mais la! "May La" it’s an expression of exasperation.

"Mais" means "but" and is often used in place of it in English sentences. "I don’t know, mais I’ve got a good feeling about this."


Ta Tie - I don’t know how to spell this one in French, so I spelled it phonetically. It means a monster, or scary creature. It’s also a pet name for little boys, as in, "Come here, you lil ta tie."
Mange - pronounced "maw-sg-A" means "to eat" and is often used in place of "eat."


Tres - pronounced "Th-ray" means 'very' and 'Beaucoup' (boo-coo) means "a lot" both of these are scattered into English sentences.


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