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Woman worries about talking half English and half French

Woman worries about talking half English and half French

Dear Tante Camilla,

I look forward to reading your weekly column. I first read it to myself to make sure I get that “half-French” pronounced correctly. After I stop laughing, I read it to my husband, and we laugh together. I then read it to a local sister, laughingly. Throughout the week I call three of my older, sick siblings who live away, to see if they are up to hearing “Tante Camilla.” They immediately want to hear what you have to say and how you say it. It brings us great joy to laugh together. 

I’m beginning to have a little problem, though. After reading your column six times, there are times I hear myself talking half English and half French, just like you write. Do you see that as a problem or not? I think it’s worth it just for the laughter, don’t you?

Signed,

Bien Mixed Up

Dear Bien Mixed Up:

Mais, I’m glad Tante Camilla makes y’all pomeé like that. I just tell it like it is.

Anyway, bonjour, mes amis. This is Tante Camilla ready to give you some advice. So venez ici and écoutez.

Let me tell you why I talk half French and half English. When I was a little girl I only used to talk French. Momma, daddy, mamère, papère, mais everybody talked just French.

Eh ben, the kids had to start going to school with some nuns. And forgive me mon Dieu, but them nuns were mean, mean! They only wanted us to talk English and none of us knew English. When we would answer them en Français they would take the ruler and tagow! They would wrap us one on the knuckles hard, hard.

Pauvre bette, one day a little boy everyone called fromis, his real name was Ulysses, had enough and when the nun was going to pass him a slap he got up and jumped out the window and took off running. Oh mon Dieu. Nobody could believe our eyes.

So I learned English finally after enough wraps from the nuns but I still like to talk in French just because I know they can’t pass me a slap now. Tante Camilla likes to make the misere sometimes.

I think it’s good for the old people to talk in French because it’s a shame the young generation doesn’t know Cajun French. Once our generation dies out there’s not going to be too many left that can parle francais. That’s sure a crying shame.

Eh ben, c'est tout pour asteur. When I get another question you’ll get another answer.

-Tante Camilla

Readers can submit questions to Tante Camilla. She will respond to inquiries with sage advice that will also include a bit of humor and a lot of Cajun charm. Readers can send questions in the following ways:

Mail: The Lafourche Gazette c/o Tante Camilla, P.O. Box 1450, Larose LA 70373, email: ads@TLGnewspaper.com, drop the letter off at The Lafourche Gazette during office hours (M-F, 8-4), or send a private message through The Lafourche Gazette’s Facebook page.

Pen names can be used. The Gazette will not publish the letter writer’s name or personal information. Names may be changed to protect the letter writer or other parties involved.