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Seychelles Languages - Your Guide to Creole and Important Translations You Must Know

"Bienvenue!"

"Bonzour!"

"Welcome!"

Step into Seychelles and be greeted by one of these phrases. Located in the Indian Ocean, this archipelago was once colonized by British and French and hence has French, English, and Creole as the official Seychelles languages. Though the people are fluent in English, day to day conversations are usually made in Seychellois Creole which is also the language spoken by the majority of the population (approximately 95%). Here is a quick glance at the extent of the usage of Seychelles languages.

1. Seychellois Creole

seychelles language, seychellois creole
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Creole is like a derivative formed from a parent language but has its own set of norms and enunciations. The Seychellois Creole, or Kreol, has French as its parent language and came into practice after the occupation of Seychelles by the French. Several initiatives, like establishing an institute to formulate the grammatical rules and phonetics, have been taken by the government to promote its use ever since. It is considered to be a mark of their culture and pride. Even the national anthem 'Koste Seselwa' has been penned in this language.

The pronunciation of words in this Seychelles language is quite similar to that of French but with slight variations owing to the local twist to the nation's culture an usage. For example, Good morning is said as "Bonjour" in French, whereas it is said as "Bonzour" in Seychellois Creole. So you can see how the two bear resemblance.

2. French

seychelles language
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The French were the first ones to conquer the Seychelles islands which started in 1744 when the French East India Company first took control of Mauritius. Though the period of their colonization was short, the French customs and traditions had dominated the people of Seychelles completely. The modern-day culture of Seychelles is based on the French principles to a vast extent. In fact, the creole used here derives its basic enunciations from French only. Presently, only a small proportion of the population converses in French and some media sources publish in French.

3. English

It was at the beginning of the 19th century (around 1811) when the British came and captured the islands. Despite this, French and Creole remained the most spoken languages due to the lack of interest shown by the British to impart their culture. After the Independence, to ensure that tourism flourishes without a hitch, English was made the official language of Seychelles. It is taught in schools and also used extensively in business and other formal communications. Almost everyone in the tourism industry speaks English to make travelling across the country easy going for the visitors.

Important Phrases in Seychelles Languages

For those of you who are planning their long overdue trip to Seychelles, check out our essential translation guide which will come handy for you during your trip to the country:

Creole

A look at the basic translations to help you communicate. The best thing about this dialect is that the words are written the way they are pronounced, i.e. phonetically.

  • Good morning - Bonzour (Bozooh)
  • Good night - Bonswar (Bonswaah)
  • Hello - Allo
  • How are you? - Komman sava? (Kommesava)
  • Thank you - Mersi (mehsi)
  • What is your name? - Ki manner ou apele?
  • My name is? - Mon apel?
  • Please - Silvoupel (sivooplay)
  • Yes - Wi
  • No - Non (noh)
  • Goodbye - Orevwar
  • Sorry - Pardon (pahrdoh)
  • Do you speak English? - Eski ou koz Angle?
  • Help! - Ed mwan!
  • Why? - Akoz?
  • What? - Kwa?
  • Who? - Lekel?
  • How much is this? - Konbyen sa?
  • I'm lost - Monn perdi

French

Here is your guide to the common sentences used for conversing. Since the phonetics are a bit difficult for the beginners, the pronunciation has been given as well.
  • Hello - Salut (salew)
  • How are you? - Comment allez-vous?
  • Do you speak English? - Parlez vous anglais? (pahrlay-vooz-angh-glay)
  • I am from..- Je viens de? (jeh-viyan-deh)
  • Good morning - Bonjour (bon-zhoor)
  • Good evening - Bonsoir (bon-swahr)
  • Yes - Oui  (wee)
  • No - Non (nong)
  • Excuse me - Excusez-moi (ex-kewzay mwah)
  • Why? - Pourquoi? (poor-kwah)
  • Where? - où? (oo)
  • What? - Quelle? (kell)
  • How? - Comment? (kummonh)
  • My name is...- Je m?appelle?(Jhuh-ma-pell)
  • Thank you - Merci (mair-see)
  • Please - S'il vous plaît (seel vou play)
  • Help me - Aidez moi (Eh-de mwah)
  • You're welcome - De rien (doh-rehyan)
  • What time is it? - Quelle heure est-il? (Kell hyur es till)
  • I don't understand - Je ne comprends pas (zher ner kong-prahng pas)
  • Sorry - Pardon (phardo)
  • Bye - Au revoir (Oh-rer-vwahr)
You are now equipped with the common phrases in the Seychelles languages just enough to express basic and essential queries and acknowledgements too. A thorough reading of these will help you converse but keep a translator or a phrasebook handy in case you catch an unfamiliar sentence. 

So, fellow traveller, you are all set to explore the enchanting archipelago of Seychelles.
"Bon voyage!"
"Have a good journey!"

This post was published by Sonali Garg