The Words & Ways of Louisiana Cajun Crawfish Country

Old Cajun crawfish Swamp man in a boatIf you have not been raised in Louisiana Cajun crawfish country, then there is good chance that you are not well versed in the language. Here, you will find fun loving people, family friendly festivals, fantastic food and plenty of opportunities to enjoy them all. However, with just a little time spent here you may begin to feel as though the residents of Cajun crawfish country speak a language all their own. So, if you feel as though you may have moved to a different country and need some help understanding, and perhaps pronouncing, the lingo as well as the humor, then you have come to the right place.

A Brief Cajun Crawfish Country Pronunciation Guide

  • Ax – No, this is not something you cut a log with; this is when we “ask” you a question.
  • Bayou- Pronounced “by-you” and refers to a body of water.
  • Beignets – Typically a sweet treat found in Cajun country as well as all across our state. You will sound like a local when you pronounce it as “bin-yay.”
  • Cher – This is a term of endearment, meaning “dear” and is pronounced with an ”sh” and an “a” sound that rhymes with “sad.”
  • Crawfish – This is pronounced as it is written. We have Cajun crawfish not crawdads or crayfish.
  • Etouffee – An amazing Louisiana dish made with seafood, poultry, rice and spicy gravy. Ask for it like a local by pronouncing it “ay-too-fay.”
  • File – Pronounced “fee-lay” and is a actually a reference to sassafras which is a seasoning that is often used in gumbo.
  • Jambalaya – This rice-based dish can be made with nearly combination of ingredients you would like. It is pronounced “jum-buh-lie-yuh.”
  • New Orleans – If you want to talk like a local, then you have to pronounce it either “New Ar-lens” or “N’awlins”; it is only pronounced “Orleans” when used as part of the name of street or parish.
  • Thibodeaux – A common name used often in storytelling; it is pronounced “tib-uh-dough.”
  • Zydeco – The music of Cajun crawfish country. You are sure to hear it in Louisiana


Cajun Crawfish Country “Tells”
Now that you have gotten a handle on some of the lingo of Cajun crawfish country, here is some insight into the humor and culture.

  • No matter where in the world someone from Cajun country visits, they are always disappointed in the food. After all, nobody knows good foods and flavor like a Cajun does!
  • You have more crawfish mounds in your front or back yard than you do grass.
  • “Way up North where it gets real cold” doesn’t necessarily mean Ohio or New York, it often means places like Shreveport, Little Rock or Memphis.
  • You understand that a “dressed po boy” is not referring to a person but rather to a sandwich with all the extras.
  • WhoDat – is not asking “who is that”, but refers to the New Orleans Saints football team. The saying references the Phrase “Who dat say that gone beat dem Saints?”

Living in Cajun crawfish country is the greatest places. It is a region of friendly people who know the value of a smile, the delight of a plate full of scrumptious food and humor shared among friends. So, Cher, if you are new to this land of the Cajun crawfish, then we are glad to have you. Be sure to check us out here at and learn more about our favorite food and the many opportunities for camaraderie here in the bayou.