Are you planning your next vacation to Mauritius? Besides your bathing suit and sunblock, don’t forget to slip in a few creole phrases and expressions in your suitcase: they will come in handy during your excursions across the island and help you connect with Mauritians, who are well known for their warm hospitality. Are you ready? Now it’s your go!
The best way to immerse yourself in a country’s culture? Venture out to meet the locals! Discovering different lifestyles, sharing stories about our everyday life and understanding our cultural differences are what make a trip truly enriching…. and these encounters will no doubt be some of your best holiday memories! But first, you must master the basics of the local language.
Mauritius’ most commonly spoken language is Creole, a reflection of the island’s cultural diversity. Indeed, beyond its stunning white sand beaches and turquoise lagoon, Mauritius boasts a fascinating cultural identity, shaped by successive waves of immigration over several centuries. The sing-song tonalities of Mauritian Creole, its similarities to the French language and its unique metaphorical expressions will certainly not fail to amuse you!
Here are some useful expressions to learn so you can meet locals:
Useful vocabularyHello, how are you? – Bonzour, ki manier ?
I am fine – Mo bien
Please – Siouple
Yes/No – Wi/Non
Thank you – Mersi
I’m sorry – Sori
No problem – Pena problem
I am pleased to have met you – Mo kontan finn zwenn ou
Goodbye – Bye
Introducing yourselfWhat is your name? My name is… – Kouma ou apele ? Mo apel …
I am French, I am from Paris – Mo franse, mo sorti Paris
I am here on a holiday – Mo la pu vakans
I would like to learn some Creole – Mo anvi aprann inpe kreol
Getting aroundExcuse me, how do I get to the beach? – Eskiz moi, kot la plaze ete ?
Is it within walking distance? – Nu kapav marse pou al laba ?
Could you repeat that please? – Ou kapav redir siouple ?
I don’t understand – Mo pa kompran
Is there a bus stop nearby? – Eski ena bis stop par isi ?
I’ve lost my way – Mo finn perdi mo sime
Could you help me hail a taxi? – Ou kapav apel enn taxi pu mwa ?
At the restaurantWhere are we going to eat? – Kot nou pou manze ?
Not too spicy, please – Eski ou kapav pa fer manze-la tro for, siouple ?
Enjoy your meal – Bon lapeti
How much does this cost? – Komie ?
The bill, please – Kont, siouple
Common expressionsCreole is an extremely poetic language! Here are some amusing expressions commonly used by Mauritians that will help you speak like a local!
Ti kouto koup gro ziromon
This expression literally means: “A small knife cuts a big pumpkin”. In other words, it means to be bold.
Kas enn poz
Definitely a favorite expression among locals! It literally translates to “to break a pause”, meaning “to chill out”. The ideal plan for a hot summer day!
Pez nene bwar diluil
In English: pinch your nose and drink the oil… Yuck! There is no better way to express the idea of making a huge effort!
“To speak greasy” means to speak in a vulgar manner: to be avoided at all costs!
Ti lipie lor gro lipie
This expression, which literally translates to “small foot on big foot”, means to kick back and relax.
Now you have all you need to get started. During your holidays, you will be proud to be able to reply “Wi!” to the question: “To koz kreol?” And to take it further, you can count on Mauritians: whether you are at a hotel or at the beach, they will delight in helping you pick up local expressions to expand your knowledge!