FRENCH FRIDAY: CATIN

La Tasse de Café | French Friday from Louisiana

(RERUN)

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

.....................................................................................

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!!!

.....................................................................................

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 Frenchwords or expressions for the fashionable girl. To make it even more enjoyable, we will do it over a very fashionable cup of coffee.