cajun 101 - learn louisiana french at home
Leçon 8 - Je connais pas comment dire ça.
Je connais pas comment dire
ça. Je sais pas.
sh-kon-ay pah ko-mahn deer sah. shay pah.
I don't know how to say that.
In French there are two different verbs to connote knowing: savoir and connaître. The verb savoir is used when referring to knowledge of facts or learning. The verb connaître is used when referring to the knowledge of people, places, and things. However, in Cajun French, français cadien, we can use these verb interchangeably. Thus to say, "I don't know," a Cajun could say either, je sais pas or je connais pas. Notice that adding the word pas negates the previous statement. Cajun French, like informal, spoken International French, will drop the ne during negation. For example, formal written French for "I don't know" would be je ne sais pas. In spoken French (even in Paris) you'll hear people say, "j'sais pas," (shay pah). You'll see that written Louisiana French will explicitly elide the subject with the verb, so it isn't unusual to see je sais pas written as j'sais pas or j'connais pas.
The reason I'm introducing this phrase at this point is that my son often says "I don't know how to say that" or "I don't know" when we are doing our daily French lesson. So I decided to teach him how to express his lack of knowledge in French. I have a whole list of these "common classroom" expressions that I'll introduce in this unit.
Since I've introduced the verb dire, to say, I might as well add one more expression that useful for finding out what a word is or how to say something: Comment tu dis...? or How do you say...? When reviewing French vocabulary, I'll often ask my son, Comment tu dis "alligator" en français? And if he knows the word, he'll tell me, and if he doesn't he'll say, j'connais pas, papa.
Now use the Quizlet set for today's lesson to practice the new vocabulary.