• CharisMaggie

The Shocking Similarities between Mauritian Creole and Haitian Creole

Although I didn't grow up in Haiti, my Haitian parents ensured that Haitian Creole was a part of my life. They mainly did this by communicating with me back and forth in English and Haitian Creole since I was at least 4 years old.

This was really helpful for when I would visit Haiti during the summer as it helped me to feel less of an outsider and made it easier to communicate with my relatives.


A little over a year ago, I got more curious about the language. What was its origin? What other languages influenced it? Was it easy for other French-based creole speakers to understand it?


When I asked my friend from Mauritius, to do a comparison video with me, I was not prepared for the striking similarities. When I read the comments from Mauritian and Haitian viewers, I was overjoyed at not only how represented those individuals felt, but also how connected they felt to each other's language.


For a detailed and visual comparison, you can check out this video.



Let me give you a little break down of some info mentioned in this video.

Both Mauritian Creole and Haitian Creole are French-based creole languages


The Evolution of Mauritian Creole

Although English is the official language of Mauritius, Mauritian Creole is the most widely spoken language.

When the French colonized Mauritius in 1715, they brought enslaved folks from Africa and Madagascar there to work on the plantations. The primary language of the enslaved was Malagasy, Wolof, and East African Bantu languages and they needed a common language to communicate with each other and so the creole language was developed.

Well, you're probably wondering how English ended up becoming the official language of Mauritius. After some time, Mauritius became an English colony when they overruled the French, but the creole languages was already established by then.

Indian indentured labourers were brought to Mauritius after slavery was abolished and the creole language became the main language spoken and become Mauritius' Mother tongue. The Creole spoken before evolved because over time, words from other languages were used in the Mauritian Creole language. Languages that have influenced the Mauritian creole spoken today are Hindi, Bhojpuri, Telegu, Tamil, Urdu, Arabic and Mandarin.

Much more details and breakdown in the video provided above.


Brief overview of Haitian Creole


I'll be honest in saying there isn't a lot that I know about the history of Haitian Creole besides the information I have found online. I have linked some resources at the end of this blog for you to check out.

Haiti was also colonized by the French and through the Haitian Revolution, they gained their independence. Click here to learn more about the Haitian Revolution.

Haitian Creole became an official language along side French in 1987.

It is influenced by French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Taino and West African Languages.


Comparing Mauritian Creole and Haitian Creole


One of the main differences that I noticed between the two languages is spelling but if you were to hear both languages, the pronunciation for most of their words or phrases sound almost like. Here are some examples


Personal Pronouns

Mauritian Creole Haitian Creole

Mo (I) Mwen (I)

To (You/singular) Ou (You/singular)

Li (He/She/It) Li (He/She/It)

Nu/nou (We) Nou (We)

Zot (You/plural or They) Yo (You/plural or They)


Possessive Pronouns


Mauritian Creole Haitian Creole

mo- my mwen/m- my

so- her/his li- her/his

eg Mo frè- My brother frè mwen or frè m- My brother Good morning

* In Haitian Creole, the possessive pronoun comes after the noun while in Mauritian Creole it comes before.


Salutation

Mauritian Creole Haitian Creole

Bonzour- Good Morning Bonjou- Good morning

Bonswar- Good night Bòn nwi- Good night

Orévoir- Goodbye Orevwa- Goodbye

Mersi- Thank you Mèsi- Thank you


Asking questions

Mauritian Creole Haitian Creole

Kot to sorti/Kotsa to sorti - Where are you from? Ki kote ou soti- Where are you from

Kouma twapélé- What is your name? Kijan ou rele- What is your name

Kombien sa?- How much is it? Konbyen li ye- How much is it?


Commands

Mauritian Creole Haitian Creole

anwalé- let's go ann ale- let's go



Expressing uncertainty

Mauritan Creole Haitian Creole

Mo pa koné- I don't know m pa konnen- I don't know

Mo pa kompran- I don't understand m pa konnen- I don't understand


If you're curious to hear the illustrated comparison of both languages, click here to watch the video reference before.




Additional Resources

Top 60 MOST Useful Mauritian Creole Expressions For Vacation, Travel, Business Trip

The History of Haitian Creole Explained

Louisiana, Haitian and Mauritian Creole Comparison

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