Interview with

Dominic Desribes

Rare Language Specialist - Maurisyen (French-based créole)

Name: Dominic Desribes
Nationality or Ethnicity: Mauritian Creole (Australian-born and citizen of Australia)
Where do you live?: Melbourne
Representative of rare language: (name) Mauritian Creole

1. What’s your story? How did you get exposed to this rare language?

I come from a Mauritian family, I’ve heard Mauritian Creole my whole life and been to Mauritius 6-7 times.

2. How would you describe the efforts being made, at the civil, social, and governmental languages, to preserve this language?

Mauritian Creole is finally being taught in primary schools for the first time in Mauritian history. Like most creole languages it has been mainly a spoken language and has less prestige than the colonial European languages English and French and until recently heritage languages such as Hindi, Tamil and Chinese were the only other languages taught as heritage languages in Mauritius.

It doesn’t have the official support like other creole languages such as Haitian Creole or Papiamento but things are improving slowly.

There are various movements promoting the language Ledikasyon Pou Travaye (LPT), the Mauritian music industry is very much focused on language in Mauritian Creole.

3. How often do you get the chance to use this language in your daily life?

I grew up passively bilingual but I do often write to family and friends online in MC.

4. What is your message to young people who wish to learn this language?

Mauritian Creole is the key to Mauritian society, French and English only help understanding our culture on a surface level. It’s not a broken French dialect but a vibrant language of its own!

The International Association of Hyperpolyglots - HYPIA. (c) 2020

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