La langue de chu-nous! (The language of our home/communities)

Jan 1, 2017 | Acadian Language

La Langue Acadienne/ The Acadian Language

It is important to note that when the Acadians came to North America in the early 17th century, they came from a country that did not have a standardized language. Depending on the area of France they came from, would determine their dialect, or “patois” as known by the French. Most of the Acadians originated from the western part of France, mostly from Poitou-Charentes, therefore, their patois mainly originates from that region.

It was grammatically accepted/correct to say the following:

“J’irogne ce soir”–”Nous irons ce soir”–We will go this evening/tonight

”J’aurogne de la misère avec ça”–”Nous aurons de la misère avec celà”–We will have problems with that.

Those examples combine the 1st person singular with the 1st person plural and that was accepted grammar of the day and known as ”la langue de l’époque”, or the language of the time period. It is akin to speaking Shakespearean English today. Example: ”Do as thou willst”.

Another point to consider:

The Acadians had very little, or nothing, in the way of the written language and formal education being far removed from their Mother Country. Therefore, their language did not evolve, but was “frozen in time”. The entire Industrial Revolution information did not come to them in French, but at that time the new vocabulary came to them in English. Results: “car”, became “le car”; “truck”, “le truck”, etc. Now, they not only spoke an “old French”, they also spoke a “franglais”, a mix of French and English.

Summary: We should not be ashamed of the language we speak/spoke, but appreciate it, understand it and know its roots. It takes very little to adapt what we grew up with to a “Français standard”, or ”Standard French”.

Des mots et des expressions utilisés par les Acadiens de la région de Tor Baie. (Words and expressions used by Tor Bay area Acadians)

Ici vous trouverez des mots et des expressions qui furent utilisés par nos ancêtres et par nous, les aînés de cette région. On va essayer de vous donner,

  1.  l’orthographe phonétique,
  2. une expression moderne, et
  3. une traduction. (Here you will find words and expressions that were used by our ancestors and by us, the elders of this region. We will try to provide you with a phonetic spelling and a modern french word, as well as an English translation.)

Les fêtes (feasts)

  • le jour de l’an–New Year’s Day
  • le carême–lent
  • la mi-carême–mid-lenten reprieve from self-imposed sacrifice and sombre moods.
  • Pâques–Easter
  • la fête de l’Assomption- le 15 août–National Feast Day of Acadians
  • Action de Grâces–Thanksgiving Day
  • Jour de Souvenir–Remembrance Day
  • la veille de Noël–Christmas Eve
  • Noël–Christmas Day

J’va payer mes jims. —Je vais payer mes dîmes. —-I am going to pay for my church pew/dues —Dîmes–Tenth/Tithe–an old Catholic Church practice. This was a New Year’s Day event where church pews were auctioned off.

Les jouets – toys

des trics-à-tracs—a single wheel attached at the end of a long handle. This simple toy (jouet) would be pushed and guided by a child as he/she walked, or ran, about the village.

des brise-pognes—–des brise-ponts—-door-step breakers/small wooden carts

”Des pognes” were raised platforms allowing people to cross over from one point to another. Therefore, it was the word used for both a bridge, or a door step. The oral story has it that a local elder, Peter Joe Petitpas, lived at the base of a steep hill named after his wife, Madeleine, and became known as ”la butte à Madeleine”. This hill was a popular community sledding spot, and as such caused many headaches to its foothill residents for many ”sledders” would strike and often break their ”pogne”. They were undoubtedly happy when the sledding season ended providing them with a reprieve from their constant winter ”pogne ” repairs. However, two young locals invented a ”bare land” cart, consisting of a wooden base sitting on 4 wooden wheels and a pivoting front axle. This invention was possibly a modest take of Henry Ford’s Model T and permitted youngsters to once more frequent ”la butte à Madeleine” for summer-time adrenaline rides down its steep slopes. For Peter Joe, this meant more step repairs prompting him to coin the expression and name for this new step-breaker when he said, ”Dis-moi pas– un autre maugit brise-pogne”. (Don’t tell me–another darn step breaker!) Thus the name attached itself to this new toy invention which evolved over time as better materials became available. Gordon and Mary Pellerin live on that site today without the menacing winter sledders and summer time brise-pognes riders.


les graines–les baies– berries:

  1. des belvets–des bluets–blueberries
  2. des poummes de pré–des canneberges–cranberries
  3. des blekbières–bakeapples
  4. des birries–des baies de renard–foxberries
  5. des grisettes (des baies grises)–spice berries (grey in colour)
  6. des griselles (vertes)–goose berries (green)


générale – general

  1. la vase–la boue–mud
  2. à kechagne–chaussures au mauvais pieds–footwear on wrong feet
  3. immanquable—à ne pas manquer–bien sûr–of course
  4. tchuque amancheur—quelque chose–something
  5. tchuque-affaire–quelque chose–something
  6. quoi s’ tchu ramanches—de quoi est-ce que tu parles–What are you talking about?
  7. se mettre marabouque—s’opposer et refuser tout–in a mood–refuses to do anything
  8. se greyer—se préparer/s’habiller–to prepare/get ready/get dressed
  9. radotter—parler incessablement–non-stop chattering/nagging
  10. baronker-ne pas arrêter de faire des remarques-to natter
  11. le caqouette—l’arrière du cou–the back of the neck
  12. se brequer—se mettre au contraire, ou se mettre sur tâche, ou partir–get in a mood/or get on task/ or start out
  13. du michcoui (maschoui)–l’écorce de bouleau (mot de racine Mi’kmaq)–birch bark
  14. des caspines pi des cobblers—des poisons vautours du fond–bottom fish vultures found around fish wharves
  15. des barli cakkos–pervenches–periwinkles
  16. se ponner—se battre–to fight
  17. le rapic—le sommet de montagnes–mountain/steep hill peak
  18. une bourne aux angies—une cage/étrape à anguille–eel trap
  19. fouinner des angies–harponner/lancer des anguilles–harpoon, or spear eels (done through ice holes)
  20. gaboter—voyager d’une place à l’autre au long de la mer–to travel about from place to place along the coast
  21. bazir—disparaître–to disappear
  22. suir—suivre–to follow
  23. témbé—tomber–to fall
  24. debouler—tomber–to fall
  25. grouiller—faire du mouvement–to move/movements
  26. faraud—être fier de soit même–to be proud of oneself
  27. fringuer—faire une danse de plaisir/sauter en plaisir–to prance about expressing pleasure
  28. amieler—attirer les autres à soit (surtout amoureusement)– sweet talk to attract someone to you
  29. atchiner—irriter les autres–to tease
  30. ashiner–ennuyer–to bore/annoy
  31. pigouiller—irriter les autres–to pick at and to irritate
  32. achaler—être tourmenté/ennuyé–to torment and annoy
  33. jongler—réflêchir–to reflect, or think
  34. tais-toi—ferme-la (bouche)–shut up
  35. ferme ta jholle!–ferme ta geule/ferme la–shut up!
  36. broyer—pleurer–to cry
  37. donter—rendre docile–to tame
  38. tapper—frapper–to hit, or strike
  39. carnage—du bruit fort–loud noise
  40. inquemode—ce qui dérange/rendre difficile–inconvenient
  41. en frais de–entrain de–in the process of/in the midst of
  42. frupper–lécher les lèvres–to lick one’s lips
  43. baronquer–parler continuellement–to natter/senseless talk
  44. charmer–venir proche/près de–to come close/almost
  45. tarzer–empêcher le progrès–to hold up progress
  46. embourrer–envelopper/couvrir un objet–to cover an object
  47. haler–tirer quelque chose–to pull something
  48. mouillasser–pleuvieux–rainy/drizzle
  49. subler–siffler–to whistle
  50. racmodder–réparer surtout les bas de laine–to repair holes in socks with yarn
  51. bardasser–gaspiller–to waste
  52. arrocher–prendre quelque chose de quelqu’un involontairement–to take something away from someone involuntarily
  53. ahider–aider–to help
  54. pentchir–souffrir–to suffer
  55. le rappic–le sommet d’une montagne/colline–mountain/hill peak
  56. le grand plonge–une partie plate du chemin–a level road area located at the bottom of the Look-Off
  57. la butte du cercle–un butte/colline où se trouvait des petits bouleaux qui servaient à faire des cercles de barils–a hill where small birch trees were found that served as barrel hoops. Barrels were greatly used for storage and transportation of food items, ie., fish, berries, molasses, flour, sugar, etc. Situated between ”le grand plonge” and Larry’s Rive


  1. aurat–près de/proche–near/by
  2. caler–couler–to sink
  3. benaise–content–happy
  4. chaviré–bouleverser, ou une crise de nerfs–to upset, or have a nervous breakdown
  5. ça fait zire–cela est détestable–that is distasteful/repulsive
  6. ne fait pas d’arrime–ne fait pas d’allure–makes no sense
  7. des féaux–des fevres/des haricots–beans
  8. une petterasse–beaucoup/plusieurs/un grand nombre–much /many/a whole lot
  9. Je m’abouté pi….–j’ai pris mes forces et…I gathered my strength and decided to/did…
  10. un buyau-un rondin/une bûche–a log
  11. la butte des mures—une colline où se trouve des baies mures en abondance–the side of a hill where ripe berries are found in abundance
  12. un canot rogne—un bateau qui sert à la fois comme bateau à rames, à la fois comme chaloupe–a round bottom boat that adapts as a rowboat, or small sail boat (a Basque design)
  13. un rein à maquereaux—un filet à maquereaux–mackeral net
  14. une bourne aux angilles—une cage à anguilles–eel trap
  15. le guernier de chusine—la chambre au dessus de la cuisine–kitchen loft
  16. des madwesses (mot Mi’Kmaq)—des porc-à-pics–porcupine
  17. des pouchines—des pâtes–dough-boys
  18. des pochognes—des barils–storage barrels
  19. s’émoyer–s’informer–to be informed
  20. virer–tourner–to turn
  21. larguer—laisser tomber–let fall
  22. gaboter—voyager d’une place à l’autre au long de la mer–going place to place along the coast
  23. carnage—du bruit fort–loud noise
  24. yucher/harler-crier-to yell
  25. fouiller–chercher intensivement–to do an intense search for a lost object, or information
  26. défichter–essayer interpreter de l’information fragmentée–to try to piece together fragmented information
  27. une claque–un homme tres docile–a sissy
  28. un pistolet de paille–???–quelque chose inutile????
  29. Il est tout agaré!—Il est tout excité!—He is all excited/wound up!
  30. Il a pas d’bourne!–Il est sans limite!–He does not know when to stop! (especially when eating)
  31. foutasie–gâter–to spoil (as in a child)
  32. une faux–une faux–a scythe
  33. une égouine–une scie à main–a hand saw
  34. des éclats–des petits bois d’allumage
  35. du sogne–sciure de bois–saw dust
  36. du coumant d’roches–du couvrement de roches–rockweed
  37. da boutarde–des algues–seaweed
  38. le pletin–les herbes qui poussent dans la boue d’une rivière–eel grass (grows in river mud)
  39. des calles de chaie–des fondations de quai–wharf cribs
  40. le cap de muroy–le cap de muraille/levée–a natural rock sea wall
  41. des cabaneaux–des cabanes abriteuses–shoreline shelter huts for fishing equipment storage, bait and repairs
  42. duette–manque d’endurance/ténacité–to lack toughness
  43. astar–à cette heure/à ce moment/maintenant–now
  44. J’irai te cri plus tard.–J’irai te chercher plus tard.–I will go to get you later.
  45. un petit brin–un petit peu–a little bit/very small amount
  46. C’est pas des affaires de bagatelles!– Ce n’est pas de petites choses!–It is no small thing!
  47. Il entend dur comme une haddeck!–Il est sourd comme un aiglefin.–He is as deaf as a haddock!
  48. des endroits–des sites nommés–places/sites with names
    la butte des mûrs–une colline où se trouve des baies mûrs en abondance–a hill where ripened berries are found (more exposed to sun’s rays)
  49. la look-off–belvédère–look-off with a clear view of Tor Bay
  50. le tchi basin–le petit basin–little basin (by the car bridge that crosses Larry’s River where kids swam)
  51. les etres montes–les entres-mons–a water system that runs between elevated areas–a series of still waters that empty into Larry’s River
  52. la hetarrière–un terrain de bois en arrière de la communauté–a grove, or woodland


les vêtements

  • une collotte–une casquette–a cap
  • un gilet–une veste–a jacket
  • des souliers d’ chuire–des souliers de cuire–leather shoes/dress shoes
  • un mouchwé–un fichu–a head kerchief
  • des gagnes–des gants–gloves
  • des carichteaux–des bottes de peaux–animal skin boots
  • des chulottes–un pantalon–pants

la ferme

  • des écoppeaux–des écoupeaux–wood chips
  • des rips–des copeaux–wood shavings
  • des éclats–petits bois d’allumage–kindling
  • une égouine–une scie à main–a hand saw
  • la bloc–la bloc à bois–chopping block
  • d’ensagne de pruce–de la comme à mâcher d’épinette–spruce gum
  • une laiche–un ver–a worm
  • tet à poule–poulailler–hen coop
  • l’air de la grange–une partie de la grange où on entre le foin–an area of the barn where hay is brought in/a thrashing space
  • les cordeaux–les rênes–the reins
  • tchirer les vaches–traire les vaches–to milk the cows
  • une tirine de lait–une cuvette de lait–a large bowl container for milk
  • le cliogne–la porte de clôture–the fence gate
  • des lices de bouchures–les barres de clôture–fence poles
  • des petaux–des poteaux–posts
  • têter la vache–l’action d’un veau prenant du lait de sa mère–a calf drinking from his mother
  • harser la terre–herser/gratter le sol–to harrow/to scrape to soil in preparation for seeding
  • des choux-raves–des navets–turnips