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Language in Mauritius

Bradley Beach, New...
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Language in Mauritius

Hello, I am looking for some advice from people familiar with Mauritius. I have researched the island nation online and found that while English and French appear to both be de facto official languages, Mauritian Creole is the most commonly spoken language among the people in everyday situations. I am simply looking for more details. Do people in Mauritius speak all three languages (English, French, Creole)? If I walk into a shop and start speaking in French, will I be understood? Will I be able to converse with people on the street, in stores, and at restaurants in French? English? Thanks for any insight on this.

6 replies to this topic
United Kingdom
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for Mauritius, Grand Baie
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1. Re: Language in Mauritius

Although locals speak Creole, which in Mauritius is heavily French influenced. I just speak English when I am there.

UK, Mauritius
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Belle Mare, Pointe Aux Piments, Pereybere
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2. Re: Language in Mauritius

Most people speak Creole and French and some all three.

Younger people are more likely to speak English though not always.

If you are fairly fluent in French I would say that goes a long way to getting yourself understood by the majority as a lot of people don't understand English. They might give the impression they understand what you are saying in English but they don't really.

So give the French a go!

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3. Re: Language in Mauritius

Hello,

I am from Mauritius and about your question, yes, you will be understood if you speak in English, French or Creole, be it in shops, restaurant, markets or around the island. :)

Regards.

Bradley Beach, New...
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4. Re: Language in Mauritius

Thanks for the replies! Merci beaucoup.

UK, Mauritius
Destination Expert
for Mauritius, Belle Mare, Pointe Aux Piments, Pereybere
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40,496 posts
106 reviews
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5. Re: Language in Mauritius

Je vous en pris!

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6. Re: Language in Mauritius

IMO, in general the level of English that people have is sufficient to answer to your questions if you need directions or order something. If you articulate a bit they start to make funny faces.

They say that English is the official language but it looks like more that the French is the official language. You cannot say that the official language of the country is X and you only hear Y where in this case Y is French. Of course they speak creole, which is local and close to French.

One thing that you will notice is that French is the preferred language and whenever they want to speak with someone besides creole, is French they choose. You can notice as well when they speak French they speak very quick like a mother tongue. If you hear them speaking English, they take their time.

I can say with 100% assurance that I never heard none of the locals speaking French. On the tours, each time someone from the hotel brought the guests to the car they greated always in French.

I went to a tour where we had 12 French people. The driver would speak French of course and then when he was to speak the same thing in English he would only a few words. I could give more examples.

So basically in form of conclusion:

Curiously it is a country where the official language is English but where people give preference to French as first language of communication between them and foreigners and where in daily life people use creole.

But you will be fine in getting and passing the message.

Best regards.

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