French Glossary 2
Click to hear these words and phrases pronounced by a French-Canadian speaker, John Langlais. He says that some words may sound “slangy” compared to Parisian French, but he pronounces them more as the voyageurs would have said the words. In a few places, he’s added an article le or un and made spelling changes and other corrections.
Adieu – Farewell. (when people will not meet again, as at death)
Allez! – Go!
Allons! – Let’s go! (person giving command is leading)
Au revoir – Goodbye (literally “Until I see you again.”)
Avant – Primary steersman in the bow of the canoe
Beaucoup – Very much, as in “Thank you very much.”
Bon-à-rien – Good for nothing
Bourgeois – Owner of the fur trade company, a high-ranking company officer or gentleman trader from the upper class, the boss
Capot – Woolen coat, made from a heavy blanket
Capot – Alternate pronunciation
Crèche – Cradle or stable scene of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Décharge – Process of guiding a canoe over a rapids too dangerous for a loaded canoe (which may be fully or partially loaded or unloaded, due to danger or water depth)
Engagé – Voyageur, person engaged to paddle and portage in the fur trade
Gouvernail – Steersman, second in command a canoe, steers from the stern or back
Je suis un voyageur – I am a voyageur. (spoken with great pride)
L’Enfant Jesus – The infant Jesus
un Livre – Money. On the voyageur’s contract, wages were listed in livres.
Aidez-moi! – Help me! (John Langlais feels that Aidez-moi is more correct than M’aidez.)
Marchons! – Let’s go! March! (implies hard work or struggle)
Merci – Thank you.
Merci beaucoup – Thank you very much.
Mon dieu! – My God!
Milieu, milieux – Middleman, middlemen; paddlers in the middle of the canoe
Non – No
Nous sommes voyageurs – We are voyageurs (spoken with great pride).
Oui – Yes
Pas! – Not! (very dismissive)
le Rendezvous – Annual meeting of bourgeois of the fur trade, including voyageurs from Montreal and winterers from inland fur posts
Rubbaboo – Stew made from dried corn and pemmican, a staple in voyageurs’ diets
un Sault – Waterfall
un Sou, sous – Money, a very small coin, a penny
Tourtière – Spiced pork meat pie eaten in French Canada or the pan it is baked in
Une Tuque – Tight-fitting knitted cap worn by voyageurs
Un, deux, trois – One, two three
la Vieille – The old woman, a poetic description of the changeable Lake Superior
Voila! – Aha! Oh look!
un Voyageur – Canoe-man transporting trade goods along fur trade routes, an engagé