Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0920-9034
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9870
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Mauritian Creole (Kreol) is a French-lexified creole spoken on post-colonial and multilingual Mauritius. Although it is extensively used, it has not been officially standardised. The choice of a given orthography reflects language beliefs and is therefore ideologically loaded. More specifically, the way creoles are standardised can reflect the bias towards these languages which are seen as inferior to, and dependent on, their lexifiers. In the Mauritian case, this issue is especially significant because there are now efforts to devise an official standard for the language. In 2004, the Government set up a committee to develop a standard orthography for MC. This paper considers use of, and attitudes to, written Kreol. The material presented is based on interviews conducted in Mauritius and participant observation. Although interviewees do not make extensive use of Kreol in written interactions, they tend to support the promotion of literacy in the language. Responses highlight the tension between Kreol and the colonial languages — English and French — and also the role of Kreol as an index of national identity. Our findings confirm that the choice of an orthographic system reflects linguistic and social hierarchies. I conclude that this study has practical social implications for the standardisation of Kreol.


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