Although English is the official language of Mauritius, Creole is the most widely spoken language on the island. It is used by more than half the population, including many people who are not of Creole descent.

Creole is similar to French, but there are many differences in the pronunciation and use of words. For example, the sounds "ch," "j" and "g" in French are usually replaced by the "z" sound in Creole. The grammar is simplified, and nouns are not divided into male and female genders, as they are in French. Creole was the language created by slaves and labourers who were forced to speak French, but who received no formal training in the language. It contains Malagasy words (from the language spoken in Madagascar), as well as some Swahili and Indian words.

Creole is used informally among various ethnic groups. It is not taught in schools, although teachers may use it informally with students. Creole was originally a spoken rather than written language. Although writers are now starting to produce literature in Creole, there is no standardized spelling system for the language.

The languages brought by Indian indentured workers and merchants are also spoken in Mauritius, including Bhojpuri, Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi and Gujerati. Bhojpuri is spoken in the northeast region of India. Tamil and Telegu are the languages of south India. Marathi is spoken in the area around Bombay, while Gujerati is spoken in western India. The Chinese who came to Mauritius generally speak Hakka or Cantonese. Muslims speak Arabic or Urdu.

   Did you know?
Because of the mix of cultures and languages, many Mauritians are multilingual. A person might speak Bhojpuri at home, French to a supervisor at work, English to a government official and Creole to friends.
Mauritian radio has two channels, one of which broadcasts in English, French and Creole, and the other in Indian and Chinese languages. There are three television channels, broadcasting in English, French, Hindi, and Indian and Chinese languages, but not in Creole. Most movies are dubbed in French. There are seven daily newspapers, two in Chinese and the rest in French.

  English Creole
  Hello   Bonzour
  How are you?   Ki manière
  I am well   Mon byen, mersi
  OK   Correc
  What is your name?   Koman ou apele?
  Can you speak Creole?   Ou kapave koz Kreol?
  I like Mauritius   Mo kontan Mauriz
  Cheers!   Tapeta!
  That's great!   Formidabe!
  Goodbye   Orevwar

   Did you know?
In Mauritius, women usually greet friends with a kiss on the cheek, and men shake hands. Indians may greet each other with the gesture called namaste, bringing both hands together in a praying gesture.