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Comment on dit une "tortue" en cajun? (How do we all a turtle in cajun?)

Anyone can tell me how we call "tortue" (turtle) in cajun?
Is it "Taouin" or "Caouin"?

Mangeur de cawain

tu dis la tortue ou la cawain (word adapted from the spanish)
cawain is aso the naughty word for "*****" (you can say "la cocotte" too)
"mangeur de cawain" !!!
la tchwanette = the same, but a l'lle one (like Kitchen/kitchenette)

Re: Mangeur de cawain

That's right!

One of my favorite John Delafose tunes uses cawain that way. It is called "Donne mo la kawain". I was able to easily translate it, but it was puzzling as to what it meant until a Creole friend explained the naughtly aspect.


Re: Mangeur de cawain

Both words are used in the area I grew up in. I have seen another spelling as "couenne", I think.

Ça c'est de la viande qu'est bonne dans un sauce piquante, ouais!!

What's the naughy definition again?

So it "caouin", or "cawain".
I had read "caouin" in a documentary that Acadian artist Marie Jo Thériault had done in Bayou de Terrebonne about two years ago. It was quite fascinating. But I didn't get the nauthty definition? What is it again?

Re: Comment on dit une "tortue" en cajun? (How do we all a turtle in cajun?)

dictionary of cajun language has:

turtle: Tortue
soft shell turtle: tortue caille-molle
yellow belly turtle: tortue ventre jaune
stinkpot turtle: tortue puante


Tonerre Mes Chien! A glossary of Louisiana French figures of speech compiled and annotated by Amanda LaFleur, Page 57:

caouenne (feminine noun)(turtle)

The word is of Caribbean origin, from the Carib indigenous language, and means "sea turtle," Indeed, in some areas of Louisiana such as Evangeline and Lafourche Parishes, its literal meaning is the only one known. However, Louisianians from areas where only the figurative meaning is known have been at times shocked and offended to leave their dialectical area and find themselves invited to eat une sauce piquante de caouenne (turtle peppery stew).

Re: Caouenne

Be kinda like someone from France asking for a galette in a bakery in Evangeline parish.


Bryan, what's the meaning of a galette in Evangeline parish?
In Canada, "une galette" would be a cookie.

Re: Galette?

It's probably not just in Evangeline parish, but I'm not sure how widespread that a galette is a crude word for womens genitals. Just as, apparently, caouenne in some areas. Amanda Lafleur has a web site that discusses some of this kind of stuff, but I cant remember if this is on it. It could be quite comical and embarassing I suppose.

Re: Re: Galette?

Hadley Castille once told me a story of how when he was in Canada, his host told him, "On va manger des galettes demain matin." Of course for Hadley, this was kind of disturbing and he did quite know what to make of it all. The next morning they had something like crepes for breakfast.

Re: Re: Re: Galette?

That sure is funny, I always enjoy a laugh at someones else's expense. Roy (who visits here occasionaly) once told me about being in Belgium and mentioning about some "catins" in a store, after the giggling subsided he learned that "catin" means "prostitute" there.

Above is Amanda Lafleur's web site with a few more.

Those are hilarious stories!

I have heard similar stories many times. I experienced the "catin" thing myself when I sang a song for some friends from France, and the song had "jolie catin" in the lyrics. At that time, I did not know that it meant something very different in France, and their reaction was interesting!

I suppose it is like the man said (George Bernard Shaw, referring to the Americans and the British) that these are two great peoples separated by a common language.


Re: Those are hilarious stories!


A literal translation of some English expressions can also give... interesting results


Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

I guess every language has those little quirks. Christian you had posted a story one time in the louisiana cajun forum about some english language quirks that almost made me fall off my chair. Would you mind posting those again here if it is handy?

Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Hi Bryan,
I think it was the website above. Did you scroll down until you came across the paragraph titled "glossary" (to introduce etc.) ?
By the way, "galette" is also an old slang word for "money" here ("La Grosse Galette" is how the title of the novel "The Big Money" was translated).


Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

I've never seen that web site, but I am glad you posted it. I didnt see what I am thinking about, you had apparently copied and pasted what looked like a short article in response to your good friend Pete's phonetic spellings which showed how strangely many english words are spelled in comparison to how they are pronounced, I think it even rhymed. It make take me a while, but I'll find it.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Found it on my first try, wasnt as buried as I thought. I can see how the english language may be hard for someone learning it to look up words. Here it is:

Hints on pronunciation for foreigners
(George Bernard Shaw)

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough.
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead-it's said like bed, not bead.
For goodness sake, don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat.
They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for pear and bear.
And then there's dose and rose and lose
Just look them up--and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward.
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Man alive,
I'd mastered it when I was five!

Explanation for weird spelling/pronunciation in English - the Great Vowel Shift

Wow, two references to George Bernard Shaw in one thread on a Cajun Accordion website!

Anyway, for those of us that have pondered the oddities of the pronunciation in the English language, there actually is a sensible explanation of part of it. It is called the Great Vowel Shift (GVS). It turns out that the sound of the English language underwent a huge change in the 1500's and beyond. Nobody really knows why it happened, but that is when the English pronunciation of vowels departed from what had previously been similar to the other European languages. Unfortunately, the standardization of English spelling was taking place at approximately the same time, so that the end result is that words whose spelling made sense prior to the GVS no longer were pronounced the same.

The web site given above has some recorded examples that show the GVS "in action". Go to the page called Dialog, and you can hear a conversation between two people portrayed as it would have sounded at different stages of the GVS. I find this to be very fascinating.

Of course another thing that complicates English pronunciation is the importation of words from other languages which retain their foreign pronunciation AND spelling. In the end, it means that in English you more or less have to expect that each and every word has the potential of being a special case or exception to the normal pronunciation rules.


Re: Explanation for weird spelling/pronunciation in English - the Great Vowel Shift

Very interesting site.

(Just a little personal remark about today's American pronunciation of English. To a foreigner it is rather easy to follow because it lets you hear all the syllables clearly. Which makes the words esier to recognize. Besides, the more nasal vowels make the sounds more contrasted and distinct. Well, my impression !).


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Oh yes, of course I remember, but that was another subject. The argument did not prove convincing enough

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Those are hilarious stories!

Nope, arguments with some people create harder heads, a known scientific fact.

Re: Re: Re: Galette?

"...crepes for breakfast..."

I've heard "galette" used to refer to _savory_ filled crepes. Savory, indeed!

Also, I think it can be used for some other baked goods.

Re: Re: Galette? Cocotte ? Tchwanette ?

Mr Mayor sings this naughty song for ya all :

J'aime la galette (repeat twice)
J'aime la galette la nuit et l'jour
J'aime la galette (repeat twice)
J'aime la galette et nos amours

J'aime la cocotte

J'aime la tchwanette

Signed : Carotte LeBlanc
secretary, Bayou Pon Pon

Post scriptum : "la bouillie, la peau de lapin" (in "T'en as eu, t'en auras plus") has of course a double meaning too

Re: Galette?

Ca c'est gros galette!

Galette, caouen - Hilarious!

That is so funny!
In Canada, "une galette" can be a "cookie", or a crêpe like "une crêpe de sarazin" (buck wheat pan cake).
I didn't know the definition of a galette in LA!

New Caouanne SOng

Just a bit of gossip...I hear Kevin Naquin is recording a song called "Joue pas avec ma caouanne." This comes on the heels of Cajun Country latest novelty song "The Vibrator." Don't shoot the messenger.

Re: New Caouanne SOng

i think the vibrator song is pretty cool...catchy lil tune.......i see he plays an accordion with 6 stops, so does wayne toups...what kind is that?

here is travis's video from his webpage...


the Stops and using them...

I did not watch the video but I know that Falcon makes two accordions with more than four stops. Falcon makes a 6 stop "dual pitch melodeon" You put three stops up for one key accordion (like a Key of C Accordion) and push those down and pull the other three up for another key accordion (like a "D" accordion) Falcon also makes a 5 stop that has an extra set of middle reeds tuned wet(usually sharp a number of cents). His idea was that when you want the wet sound all stops would be up; when you want the dry sound, you still have four tuned dry. I am not really sure that you need five banks of reeds to do that, however.

My accordions (four stops) are tuned wet, but I play most tunes with the wet row down (stopped, in other words, silent.) To me, it seems a bit of a waste to have two medium rows tuned exactly in tune...I don't think there is that much difference in three rows HML and four row HMML except for a slightly brighter sound and a bit more volume...but you don't get the advantage or more variety in your sound like you do when you tune one row wet.

I use the two middle stops together and stop the H and L rows and it makes a great sweet singing tone like a echo harmonica or small three row box. (I use this on tex mex stuff and in "american" songs) When I want the dry Cajun sound I put the HML up and when I want a wet Cajun sound I put them all up. If I am trying to copy the sound of a Zydeco 3 row box I might put the H row off. Anyway, you get a lot more variety in tone with one row tuned wet...if you don't want the wet sound, just push that stop down.

I don't think we Cajun's have been nearly as creative as possible when it comes to tone and variety in sound...I wish more people would feel free enough to experiment with things like this and not be afraid of "what will other people think?"

Jamey Hall's most excellent Cajun Accordion Music Theory

Brett's all new Cajun Accordion Music Theory for all keys!

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