Mauritian Creole

Mauritian Creole is spoken by almost all the island’s ca. 1,250,000 population as a first, second, or additional language. Censuses since 1944 indicate a remarkable shift to Creole as the home language from 35.6% in 1944 to 86.5% in 2011 (with a further 1.2% claiming bilingual use of Creole with either Bhojpuri or French). This reflects the decline in Bhojpuri which was the home language of perhaps 40% as recently as 1972 to merely 5.3% in 2011. Although French remains dominant in the media, it is claimed as the home language by only 4.1%. Chinese, Indian languages (other than Bhojpuri), and English (the only official language!) were collectively reported as the home languages of less than 3%. For our default lect, we have used oral and written data mainly from people in urban areas whose home language is exclusively Creole. Exceptionally, we give a few examples, signalled as Bhojpuri lect, of certain features which clearly reflect Bhojpuri influence, but which are not exclusively limited to the Creole of people who are, or were formerly, speakers of Bhojpuri. While there are many local publications and advertisements in Creole, the Mauritian population as a whole has not yet shown much inclination to adopt the officially approved spelling for this language now used to a limited extent in primary schools.

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No. Feature Value % lect Details Source
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

diphthong with high front unrounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɛədiphthong with lower mid front unrounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)
diphthong with high back rounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)
ɑ̃nasalized low back unrounded vowel - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source