Language in Mauritius

tourists normally do not encounter communication problems, as both English and French are widely understood and spoken on the island!

A result of the different waves of immigration in the past, is the multi-ethnic population of the country. Here, different cultures make up the population, you will find African, Asian and European influences.

Thanks to all these influences, Mauritians have turned out to be proficient in several languages namely Creole (Kreole), French, English, Hindi, Bhojpuri among others. Most Mauritians are at least bilingual, if not trilingual.

Mauritian people juggle easily with 3 languages: Creole, French and English. Therefore tourists normally do not encounter communication problems, as both English and French are widely understood and spoken on the island!

As from kindergartens our kids start learning both French and English languages. Mauritius shares this distinction of being both English and French speaking with Canada and Cameroon. Being both an English-speaking and French-speaking nation, Mauritius is a member of both the Commonwealth of Nations and La Francophonie.

Mauritius mother tongue is Creole (Kreol). It is most often used in informal settings. It is a natural language which has been developed from a mixture of different languages. Mauritian creole (Kreol) is French based and originates from slaves who came from Mozambique and Madagascar during the French colony. They used a pidgin language to communicate with each other as well as with their French masters, who did not understand the various African languages. If you speak French you will be able to identify some similarities in terms of pronunciation and vocabulary with the French language. Afterwards Mauritian Creole (Kreol) enriched itself from terms derived from Hindi, used by Indian indentured labourers, from English language but also from Chinese language.

Mauritian Kreol has only recently arrived at a standardized orthography for its written form. The State recognized an official National Orthography for the Kreol Language in 2011. The Cabinet accepted the orthography proposed by the Akademi Kreol Morisien which it had set up in 2010. We also have two monolingual Kreol dictionaries (Diksioner Morisien) which have been developed by Professor Arnaud Carpooran. 

Following Creole, French is the most widespread spoken language in Mauritius, mainly because it has a close-knit history with the island. In spite of it having no official status, it is particularly used in corporate and business dealings, schools, tourism and for the news. French is the dominant language of the media; 80% of news print from Mauritius is in French, news on the radio as well are mostly in French. Though Mauritian TV channels use French, English and Hindi. Switching on the TV or radio in Mauritius and hearing French, English and Hindi in the same program? Don’t worry your device does not have any technical problems, it is common here to have different languages used in the same program.

The Constitution of Mauritius mentions no official language. It only contains a statement in Article 49 that “The official language of the Assembly shall be English but any member may address the chair in French,” implying that English and French are official languages of the National Assembly (parliament). English is the language of government administration, the courts and business sector.

Since the British were the last to administrate the island before independence in 1968, English is predominant in our education and work environment. Apart from the French subject, other subjects are taught in English at primary, secondary and tertiary level. Furthermore the Mauritian education system follows the English model.

Nevertheless, many other languages are spoken on the island, including Arabic, Mandarin, Urdu, Cantonese, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu. 

Have a look below about some Mauritian Creole (Kreol) words that might be useful during your visit in Mauritius.

English French Kreol
Hello Salut Alo
Please S’il vous plait Si ouplé
Thank you Merci Mersi
Yes Oui Wi
No Non Non
What is your name? Comment vous vous appellez? Kuma ou apelé?
Excuse me Excusez moi Xkiz mwa
Wait a minute Veuillez patienter Atane ene ti momen
See you later On se voit plus tard Apré nu zwen
Could you tell me where the bathroom is please ? Pourriez-vous m’indiquer où sont les toilettes, s’il vous plaît ? Ou kpav dir mwa kot toilet truvé si ouplé?

English French Kreol
Good Morning  Bonjour Bonzour
Good Afternoon  Bon après midi Bon apré midi
Good Evening Bonsoir Bonswar
Have a nice day  Passez une bonne journée Passe ène bone zourné
Have a nice evening  Passez une bonne soirée Passe ène bone soiré
Good Night  Bonne nuit Bone nwi
How are you?  Comment allez vous? Ki pozition?
Fine and you?  Ça va bien et vous? Korek é twa?
Nice meeting you  Enchanté Bien kontan mone cone ou
Goodbye  Aurevoire, Ciao Orévwar, Chaw

Basic Words While Doing Shopping
English French Kreol
How much?  Combien ça coûte?  Comié sa? / Ki prix sa?
Do you speak English?  Parlez vous anglais?  Eski ou koz Anglais?
Where can I find a taxi?  Où puis je avoir un taxi?  Kot sa mo kpav gagne ène taxi?

Questions about Time, Weather and Directions
English French Kreol
What time is it? Quelle heure est-il? Ki lère la?
How do i go to  ....... ? Comment faire pour me rendre à ……. ? Kuma pou ale .......?
What will be the weather tomorrow? Quel temps fera-t-il demain? Ki letan pu fer dimé?
How far is it? A quelle distance est-ce? Eski li loin?
Where am I? Où suis-je ? Kot mo été  la?

Common Words at Restaurants
English French Kreol
Another beer please  Une autre bière s’il vous plait Amen ène la biere pu mwa si ouplé
Water  Eau Dilo
How long will it take?  Combien de temps ç ava prendre? Komié letan sa pu pran?
Do you accept credit cards?  Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit? Eski ou acepté kart crédi?
I would like to reserve a table  Je voudrais réserver une table Mo capav réserve ène la tab?
I am allergic to ....   Je suis allergique à ... Mo allergi a ...
Enjoy your meal  Bon appétit Bon apéti

English French Kreol
Monday  Lundi Lindi
Tuesday  Mardi Mardi
Wednesday  Mercredi Mercredi
Thursday  Jeudi Zédi
Friday  Vendredi Vandredi
Saturday  Samedi Samdi
Sunday  Dimanche Dimans