Kreol – A Description of Mauritian Creole, by Philip Baker


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The author’s interest in the local “patois” originated from his endeavours to speak our lingua franca during his first stay in the island during the period 1965/67. From the series of notes he took at the time he intended, at the outset, to produce a simple teaching grammar with the prime object to help non-Mauritians to learn Creole, but decided later to rearrange all the material he had gathered into in the form of of a more ambitious reference grammar. The result of his labours is this book — KREOL — a very comprehensive study and detailed analysis of the local patois, which we are trying to review here.

Le Cernéen, 20 September 1973.

Who, nowadays, would call Mauritian Creole a “patois”? A few people perhaps, people “of a certain age”, but not a many.


2 réponses à “Kreol – A Description of Mauritian Creole, by Philip Baker

  1. Who, nowadays, would call Mauritian Creole a “patois”?
    Or some people who have difficulties dealing with concepts like ‘dialect’, ‘non-standard’, ‘variety’ and ‘creole’.

  2. Siganus Sutor

    Bulbul, I suppose that as a general pattern those who speak a non-standard variety of any language tend to use it for day-to-day life while shifting to the more formal language for official or important matters — or at least for what they see as being important. And very often writing is viewed as something important enough to shift to the standard language variety*. (Well, that at least was before the internet, texting on mobile phones and mass advertising.)

    When it comes to the process of creolization, I would say that it has been achieved sufficiently far away in the past in the case of our so-called “patois” that it is not felt anymore as being an idiom in the making. The fact that the language which has been spoken by many generations is still called “creole”, or “Kreol”, is merely accidental. It could very well have been called “Morisien”, as some have proposed (for other reasons, which have more to do with ethnicity than with linguistics).


    * which they wouldn’t like to hear called “standard dialect”, even if that’s what it is, as in the case of the Greek koinē

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