Structure dataset 55: Mauritian Creole

This language is described more fully in survey chapter 55.

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


Pulmonic Consonants
Place → Labial Coronal Dorsal Laryngeal
↓ Manner Bilabial Labio­dental Linguo­labial Dental Alveolar Palato-
Retroflex Alveolo-
Palatal Velar Uvular Pharyngeal
/ Epiglottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Stop p b t d c ɟ k g
Sibilant affricate t͡s d͡z t͡ʃ d͡ʒ
Non-sibilant affricate
Sibilant fricative s z
Non-sibilant fricative f v ɣ h
Approximant l j
Flap or tap
Lateral affricate
Lateral fricative
Lateral approximant
Lateral flap


Front Near-front Central Near-back Back Close Near-close Close-mid Mid Open-mid Near-open Open ihigh front unrounded vowel uhigh back rounded vowel ehigher mid front unrounded vowel ohigher mid back rounded vowel əmid central unrounded vowel ɛlower mid front unrounded vowel ɛ̃nasalized lower mid front unrounded vowel ɔlower mid back rounded vowel ɔːlong lower mid back rounded vowel ɔ̃nasalized lower mid back rounded vowel alow central unrounded vowel nasalized low central unrounded vowel ɑːlong low back unrounded vowel ɑ̃nasalized low back unrounded vowel

Special segments

Other segments
 w  voiced labial-velar glide
 ɛə  diphthong with lower mid front unrounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel
 iə  diphthong with high front unrounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel
 uə  diphthong with high back rounded vowel and nonsyllabic mid central unrounded vowel


       Exists (as a major allophone)
       Exists only as a minor allophone
       Exists only in loanwords
No. Feature Value lect Details Source