Mais! How You Say Dat Word?

Don't want to wait for the audio book? Buy the real thing!

Don’t want to wait for the audio book? Buy the real thing!

Louisiana words are hard, yall. Even if you grew up there, you still struggle with some of them. If you’re from Louisiana, remember how you felt after years of being tee-tiny and hearing people talk about Nack-uh-tish and then seeing the word for the first time: Nachitoches. CONFUSED! That’s how you felt. Like the world and the English language no longer had rules. Hooked on phonics LIED. (Of course, Nachitoches isn’t English, but you didn’t know that either.)

At any rate, it turns out that Open Road Media is turning Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears into an audio book. Now you lazy bastards who are all like, “I don’t really read,” no longer have an excuse. You can LISTEN to the novel. Someone will read it TO you.

But I received an email from that someone a couple weeks ago, asking for pronunciation help with a few of the words in the book, place names and last names in particular. She also said she had a friend from the New Orleans area who could help out if I didn’t have time. Hahahahaha. I think we all know people from New Orleans don’t know how to talk Cajun. I wasn’t going to have a Yat pretend to be an authority on the pronunciation of Bayou Courtableau! (I kid because I love. And because I’m right.)

Anyway, here’s a partial list of the words I read into my iPhone and sent as an audio file. This was actually fun.

Opelousas
Broussard
Acadiana
St. Landry
Bordelon Ford
Gautreaux
roux
Grosse Tete*
Ms. Darbonne
Atchafalaya
Thibodeaux
Soileau
boudin
Fontenot
Courtableau
Port Barre**
Mais
Pot Chambre
Enois
Enios
Couillon
Andrepont
Plaisance

*How do YOU pronounce it? I’ve heard the Grosse part as gross and graws.

**Having Port Barre on the list led me to volunteering pronunciations for Ville Platte and Lafayette. People of a certain age may remember going to St. Landry Cinema when they were little and seeing an ad for a bank with locations in Opelousas and a place called Port Bar (as the voice-over guy pronounced it). So I worried the audio-book person might end up pronouncing Port Barre, Ville Platte and Lafayette with French pronunciations, which we don’t do in South Louisiana because — well, hell if I know.

Like I said, this was a fun exercise and I’m glad she asked. And, rest easy, folks. She’s a professional and isn’t going to try to read the book in a Cajun accent. I’ll let you know when it comes out.

By the way, here is a video of Californians trying to pronounced Louisiana cities.

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One response to “Mais! How You Say Dat Word?

  1. I went to the New Orleans today and I can’t pronounce their area. Lol. West we go? Hare a Han? Bayou sinagette? But you know, man? We both say dat and dere and dis. That made common ground. I liked that. I’m sure to see your books in the Eunice library. Good that you represent us from home.

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