Isle de France Creole

Morisyen, Seselwa, Créole réunionnais

1.  Classification / Classification

Mauritian and Seychelles Creole are together classified as Isle de France Creole (Baker and Corne 1982). Isle de France Creole originated in Mauritius in the eighteenth century, when Mauritius was known as Isle de France and the Seychelles were administered as a dependency of Mauritius" (Baker, personal communication, 1985). "Isle de France Creole is a French-based creole with at least 85 percent of the vocabularies of both of these languages of French origin and the remainder from various African, Asian and European Sources" (Philip Baker, personal communication, 1986). (Webbook?)

Le créole de l'Isle de France ou "créole IdeF" est le tronc commun historique des créoles français parlés à Maurice, aux Seychelles, à Rodrigues, aux Chagos et à Agalega. (Wikipédia)

The Creole of Reunion is apparently somewhat different.

Ethnologue? lists their classification as: Creole, French based

2.  Where Spoken / Localisation géographique

Mauritius, Seychelles, Reunion

3.  Number of Speakers / Nombre de locuteurs

  • Morisyen
    • 600,000 in Mauritius (1989)
    • Population total all countries: 604,000
  • Seselwa Creole French
    • 72,700 (1998)
  • Reunion Creole
    • 554,500 in Réunion (1987).
    • Population total all countries: 600,000

4.  Dialect Survey / Enquête de dialecte

There are minor but recognizable phonological and vocabulary differences between Mauritian and Seychelles Creole and its dependencies of Rodrigues and Agalega. These differences do not affect intelligibility, however. Mauritian Creole is referred to as Morisyen, Morisieh, or Morisiê; Seychelles Creole as Seselwa or simply Kreol. (Webbook)

According to information compiled from Ethnologue:

  • Morisyen
    • Closer to French creoles of the Caribbean than to Réunion Creole (Philip Baker).
  • Seselwa Creole French
    • Seychelles dialect is reported to be the same as Chagos. Structural differences with Mauritius are relatively minor. Not adequately intelligible with Réunion Creole.
  • Réunion Creole French
    • Two dialects: urban and popular; the former is closer to French, the latter more similar to Bantu and West African languages.

5.  Usage / Utilisation

This is the principal language of these islands. (Webbook)

Notes from Ethnologue (accessed 2007):

  • (Morisyen) Trade language. Lower prestige than French or English.
  • Seselwa Creole is official language and used in primary education. "Positive language attitude."
  • The creole is gaining status on Réunion

6.  Orthography / Orthographe

6.1  Status / Statut

At least four different phonemically based orthographies have been devised for Mauritian Creole (Virahsawmay 1967, Baker 1972, Ledikasyon pu Travayer ca. 1977, and Baker and Hookoomsing 1983, devised for both Reunion and Seychelles), but none of these as yet have achieved official recognition. In the Seychelles, the D'Offay and Lionnet (1981) orthography has achieved official status, but this orthography is not suitable for writing Mauritian Creole. Only Baker and Hookoomsing's lortograph-linite is specifically designed for both Mauritian and Seychelles Creole. (Webbook) (All of these are Latin-based systems.)

6.2  Sample Alphabet / Alphabet exemple

Geonames "Unicode test page...: Seychelles Creole alphabet - alfabe seselwa"

Sample texts from the "Language Museum" site (NB, not clear which orthographies are used):

7.  Use in ICT / Utilisation dans les TIC

7.1  Fonts / Polices

Probably any standard Latin font would suffice for any orthography [need verification]

7.2  Keyboard layouts / Dispositions de clavier

7.3  Content on computers & internet / Contenu en informatique et sur l'Internet

There is a Morisyen Wikipedia in the Wikimedia "incubator"

7.4  Localized software / Logiciels localisés

The SPIP interface has been translated into Kréol réyoné (créole réunionnais)

The Ubuntu "Reunion Team" mentions a long-term project to translate Gnome (or even KDE) in Creole:

7.5  Language codes / Codes de langue

Creoles and pidgins, French-based / Créoles et pidgins français

  • ISO 639-1: -
  • ISO 639-2: cpf
  • ISO 639-3: -


  • ISO 639-3: mfe

Seselwa Creole French

  • ISO 639-3: crs

Réunion Creole French

  • ISO 639-3: rcf

7.6  Other / Autre

There was an experiment in 1999 using audio files, photos, and limited Creole text on computers in Mauritius for agricultural extension.

8.  Localisation resources / Ressources pour localisation

8.1  Individuals (experts) / Individuelles (experts)

8.2  Institutions / Institutions

8.3  On the internet / Sur la toile

9.  Comments / Remarques

Any localisation effort might well seek to benefit from the similarities and complementarities between Seselwa and Morisyen.

On the other hand, Mason and Allen (2001) suggest that variations in creoles would not facilitate common localisation of texts.

10.  References / Références

Dwyer, David (1997), Webbook of African Languages, (page on "Isle de France Creole," )

Mason, Marilyn, and Jeffrey Allen. 2001. "Is there a Universal Creole for localization efforts?" LISA Newsletter, Vol. X, No. 3, August 2001 (pp. 39-42). &

SIL International, Ethnologue: Languages of the World, "Morisyen,"

______, "Réunion Creole French,"

______, "Seselwa Creole French,"

SIL International, "ISO 639 Code Tables,"

U.S. Library of Congress, "ISO 639.2: Codes for the Representation of Names of Languages: Alpha-3 codes arranged alphabetically by the English name of language,"

Wikipedia, "Créole de l'Isle de France,"éole_de_l'Isle_de_France

______, "Créole mauricien,"éole_mauricien

______, "Créole réunionnais,"éole_réunionnais

______, "Créole seychellois,"éole_seychellois

______, "Mauritian Creole,"

______, "Réunion Creole,"éunion_Creole

______, "Seychellois Creole,"

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Categories: Languages, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles