Most used languages
Although the Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius does not designate any official language in Mauritius, English remains de facto the official language and the medium of instruction while French is the most widely used language together with Mauritian creole and other oriental languages like hindi, urdu, tamil, telegu, maathi, gujrathi, mandarin, arabic: which are ancestral languages which stand as a medium for community identity resulting from the waves of migration which the country came across during History. Written media are basically francophone whereas electronic media are split into French, English and Creole languages. Public education being compulsory, English and French languages are taught as early as at primary level up to tertiary level. English is used at the National Assembly but French may be used as well.
The Mauritian Creole is the most used vernacular language used in Mauritius: it is spoken by almost 95% of the Mauritian population regardless of the different ethnic groups which constitute the Mauritian population. Mauritian Creole is lexically based on French language as most of the Creole words come from French language. This is a cultural heritage which emerges from past French colonisation of the island from 1715 to 1810. During the 19th century, Mauritian Creole enriched itself from terms derived from Hindi, used by Indian indentured labourers, from English language but also from Chinese language.
Mauritian Creole is a very colourful language commonly used in non-official instances. Being the most used language in Mauritius, Mauritian Creole stands as a link between the different communities of the island.
Mauritian people juggle easily with 3 languages: Creole, French and English. English is spoken in Politics and business, and French is used in cultural environments and in the Press. Some Indo-Mauritian people speak Bhojpuri (dialect of Hindi) but Creole remains the most spoken dialect in the everyday life.
Useful Creole words
English Mauritian Creole
Hello, Hi [bɔ̃zur]
I’m thirsty [Mo swaf]
Please [Si u ple]
I’m hungry [Mo fɛ̃]
How are you? [Ki manjɛR] ?
Have you got…? [U ena…] ?
I’m on holiday [Mo ɑ̃ vakɑ̃s]
I’m fine [Mo bjɛ̃]
Pleased to meet you [Mo kɔ̃tɑ̃ mo fin zwɛn u]
I don’t understand [Mo pa kɔ̃prɑ̃]