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
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.
| How are you?
|| Ki manière|
| I am well
|| Mon byen, mersi|
| What is your name?
|| Koman ou apele?|
| Can you speak Creole?
|| Ou kapave koz Kreol?|
| I like Mauritius
|| Mo kontan Mauriz|
| That's great!
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.