Languages In Mauritius - A Traveller's Guide

Mauritius is a multi-lingual country. Being very diverse, the people of Mauritius speak a variety of languages. Mauritian Creole, French and English are the most commonly spoken languages in Mauritius. Most people in Mauritius speak either English or French and are bilingual, if not trilingual. So, it is very easy to communicate, even if you know just English. A majority of the population speaks Mauritian Creole while French is the commonly used language in media and education. Other languages spoken in Mauritius are Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Marathi, Mandarin and Gujarati. 

1. Mauritian Creole - The Native Language of Mauritius

Around 90 per cent of Mauritians speaks the Creole, which is a mixture of parent languages of French, English and few Indian and African languages. It is visible that the language is highly influenced by immigrants from China and India. Mauritian Creole is considered to be the native language of Mauritians. It is not used in formal contexts and is limited to informal conversations.

A standard script for this Creole does not exist. This language saw its origins in the late 18th century when the slaves arrived on the Island. They used a pidgin language to communicate amongst themselves and also with their French masters who could not understand the African languages. Over the generations, this pidgin developed into a language, which is now casually used by all residents despite their diverse ethnic backgrounds.


Useful Phrases in Creole

If you walk into the villages of Boris Cheri, there is a high possibility that you come across a person who waives at you saying 'Bonzur'. Don't you worry, he just said 'Hi'. Here is a guide to the most common phrases and words that you might require when you visit Mauritius.

Phrases and Translation

Hello  Bonzur
When? Kan
Goodbye Bye
Why? Ki fer?
Thank you Merci
Who? Ki sa na?
Please S'il vous plait
Where Kote sa?
Yes Oui
Toilet Toilette
No Non
Good Bon
Market Bazar
Restaurant Restorant
Luggage Valiz
Hotel Lotel
Doctor Dokter
I don't understand Mo pas compran
Excuse me Exkize moi
Sorry Sori
How are you? Ki Many'r?
My name is... Mo nom li...
I am from... Me sort...
What's your name? Ki ou non?
Looking for Pe rod
Call Appel

2. Bhojpuri - A Regional Language of Mauritius

It might be surprising to know that this North-Central Indian language is also spoken in Mauritius. 5.3% of Mauritians speak Bhojpuri. Termed as the most rapidly developing language in the world, Bhojpuri has a different dialect in Mauritius. Here is a translation guide for useful phrases and words in Bhojpuri.

Hello pranaam
Welcome aain naa
How are you? kaa haal ba?
What's your name? tohar naav kaa ha?
Yes haan
No naa
I don't understand naikhe samajh mein aavti
Please speak slowly tani aahista aahista bola
Please say that again tani dubaara kaha
Excuse me maaf Karin
Sorry maaf Karin
Please meharbani karke
Thank you dhanvaad
Help madad kara
Stop rook
Call the police pulis ko bulaava

3. French

French is spoken by 4.3% of Mauritians. Besides, French is also used both as an official language and as a medium in education. It is considered to be one of the principal languages of Mauritius. Mauritius shares this distinction of being a both English and French-speaking country with Canada, Cameroon and Vanuatu. Here are a few useful phrases and words in French that might come in handy.

Hello Bonjour
Please S'il vous plait(see-voo-play)
Thank you Merci( mair-see)
Goodbye Au revior(oh-reu-vwar)
I don't understand Je ne comprehends pas( zhue neu kompron par)
I don't speak Jen ne parle pas francais( zheu neu parl par fron-say)
I want Je veux (zheu veu)
I am Je suis(zheu swee)
I am looking for Je cherche (zheu share-sh)
To eat Manger (mon-zhay)
To drink Boire(bwar)
To play Payer(pay-yeh)
To buy Acheter(ash-tay)
Toilet/washroom La toilette(lar twa-lette)
Some water De l'eau(deu-lo)
A bank Une banque(une bonk)
We are lost Nous sommes perdus(noo voolon allay are)
 
With this guide, it will be an easy trail for you in Mauritius. Next time, you don't have to look for a local guide to order food or ask for directions.

This post was published by Sravya Vemuri

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