FRENCH FRIDAY #34: CATIN

What kind of Catin are you?
La Tasse de Café | French Friday from Louisiana

CATIN
Pronounced:  ka-Tah (ka-tan/ nasal n in which it is mostly silent)
Translation: 
Louisiana (Cajun): doll, darling, girlfriend
France: Prostitute, Painted Lady


Hello French Friday Followers. I am Madame M. While Mademoiselle Love is on vacation in a much warmer climate, I decided to lend a hand and share my French from Louisiana since it is a topic I often cover on my blog.

While Jenée Sais Quoi was in Cajun Country over Christmas I had her over to La Prairie des Femmes, my home, for an afternoon visit and a strong La Tasse de Café. We got to talking about Cajun French words that would be useful on French Friday - you know, the kind that every fashionable girl or guy needs to have in their back pocket for just in case. So we decided on a mutual favorite word often used in this area: Catin.

In fact, right now I'm wrapping up some French miel de tilleul as a gift for Miss Brenda who always calls me her "catin".

(miel de tilleul is Linden Honey)


Here in Louisiana it means doll or darling, but in France it commonly means prostitute. Imagine the shock of French and Canadian tourists when they hear Louisiana women greet each other with squeals of "Hey ma cation!!"

Just to make it clear let's see what Amy Lynn learns from her new Cajun friend, Evangeline. 


Amy Lynn: Nice to meet you Evangeline. I'm very fortunate for Simone introducing me to her long lost cousin down here in Louisiana. 

Evangeline: It's my pleasure catin! Now what are you hungry for? Gumbo? Ettoufee? Corn bread? Pralines? I know you must be starving after your trip.

Amy Lynn doesn't understand something Evangeline said so sends a text message to Simone, 
    "What does Catin mean? Evangeline just called me Catin and I   
     don't want to seem dumb by asking her."

Simone responds, 
    "What the %$#&!? You just arrived? How does she already know  
     you are a Catin?  I mean... How rude!!! She has no business 
     calling you a prostitute! But wait, you are in Cajun 
     country, maybe it's Mardi Gras season, you never know how 
     canaille those girls can be!"

(cannaille translates to mischievous in Cajun French)

Amy Lynn: So Evangeline, you want to eat?

Evangeline: Well, I am hungry a lot, but I wanted to see if you wanted to wait and meet my brother for dinner? He's in town and I think he's got a new little catin, I want to check her out."

Amy Lynn (appalled): Excuse me!? Your brother has a catin with him?

Evangeline: Well, yes! He's always got some catin or another.

Amy Lynn (very uncomfortable): Wow, you Louisiana people really ARE wild.

Evangeline: Mais why's that? You got something against catins?

Amy Lynn: Well I think it is strange to accept that your brother would bring a prostitute to dinner to meet us.

Evangeline: Mais What?! Catin means doll or baby, or sometimes pretty little girl! Not Prostitute!

Amy Lynn: Mais alright... Catin!

Merci Beaucoup,
Madame  M
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Jenée hère: 
When you grow up in the Cajun area of Louisiana you don't realize that many of the words which are part of your everyday vocabulary are actually not English, but French. Not until I left Louisiana and was misunderstood did I even realize much of my vocabulary was French. 
I always loved the word Catin because that was my grandmother's nickname for me. When I asked her what it meant in English she told me a doll. I was thrilled that she thought I was as special as a doll!!!


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The Origin of "La Tasse de Café", French for "the cup of coffee"
is a morning radio show out of Ville Platte, Louisiana on KVPI-FM
My dad listens to it regularly to keep up with his Cajun French as he now doesn't have much opportunity to speak it in Louisiana where the language is disappearing. 
Since I'm from Cajun land in Louisiana, with a serious interest in fashion and Mademoiselle Love, a Louisiana girl too, who is head over heels in love with everything French and everything coffee, it was only fitting we pay tribute to our roots and our new found loves.
Tune in to KVPI every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 8:45AM (NY time) for your Cajun French lesson and come back to the blog every Friday for more French lessons from Mademoiselle Love. We will discuss useful French  words or expressions for the fashionable girl. To make it even more enjoyable, we will do it over a very fashionable cup of coffee.