Multi Lingualism

The official language of Mauritius is English, but it is not spoken much – but every formal written documents/laws etc.. have to be in English. We all have to study English for our entire primary and secondary education.

The street language of Mauritius is Mauritian Creole. Mauritian Creole has no written form and therefore no official grammar/vocabulary. Only people born in Mauritius learn,speak and understand that version of Creole. It’s an organic language. New words are constantly being added and each time I go back to Mauritius, I have to re-learn all the new Creole Slang.

The formal spoken language of Mauritius is French. In school, offices, banks etc.. usually French is the language one is expected to speak in. We used to be a French colony before the British took over. So the french language and culture is a remnant of that colonial period, but it seems to have influenced Mauritian culture more so than British.

We all have to learn a foreign language as well, as 3 languages is not good enough ! We have to study the foreign language for 9 years – 6 years of primary school and 3 years of secondary. The foreign languages offerings that is offered in Mauritius is different from the Western world. We have to pick a foreign language from the Orient rather than from the Western world. The options are amongst others – Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil, Telegu. I chose to do Hindi in school. I can read and write and understand it fluently, but given not much speaking practice, it’s not as easy to speak it.