Seychelles & Creole
Posted by mariaa_petit on August 30, 2011
Panic struck when I received notice from Emirates Airlines that my coveted air miles were about to expire. I was flabbergasted as I was certain the air miles had infinite shelf life. I refused to lose my precious miles or worse yet cash them in for a saucepan or a serving saucer. Immediately on the case I scanned the list of potential destinations. With the Arab spring still in full bloom places at the top of my list like Yemen or Syria were unfortunately discarded. However to my delightful surprise Seychelles was on the list and the decision was instant. I knew nothing about Seychelles except it was an archipelago on the Indian Ocean and that was enough for me.
I was however, in for a treat as the official languages are French, English and Seychellois Creole, sweet! Since its independence in 1976, the government of the Seychelles has sought to develop French-based Seychellois Creole, with its own orthography and codified grammar, establishing Lenstiti Kreol (the Creole Institute) for this purpose.
French-based Creole is the largest French-derived language in the world, with more than 12 million fluent speakers. The largest concentrations of fluent French-based Creole speakers are in Haiti (7M) and Louisiana, USA (4M). As it turns out most fabulous islands are run on French-based Creole; i.e. Mauritius, Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia and Saint-Barthélemy. Hence it might be a good idea to pick up a few words for that next island holiday.
Here are a few words to get you started:
Creole within the education system in Haiti is a hot topic. Worth checking out is this article “The Power Of Creole”. MIT Linguistic professor Michel DeGraff, is leading an experimental Creole language school in Haiti given that speaking Creole in schools is at par with bringing weapons into the classroom, both are prohibited. This has caused an educational gap between the masses, which speak Creole and the tiny ruling French speaking class. Just last week BBC also published an article on this hot topic “Should Creole replace French in Haiti’s Schools”.
As for Seychelles, best beaches I’ve been to thus far and I do get out often ☺ . . . Irrespective of the unfortunate and freak shark attack incidents that took place on Anse Lazio just weeks after I was vacationing there.
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