Mauritian creole is delightful. Our unofficial national language spoken by all our people developed from French when slavery was introduced in the 18th century.
Slaves came from various African countries and Madagascar. Each tribe spoke their own dialect. Imagine the confusion between all these people before creole was established …
Our creole is simple with few grammatical rules except that words can be spelled in many ways and have different meanings! You’ll also find the odd English word that has crept in.
Only the very brave have attempted to compile a dictionary of Mauritian creole.
I was surprised to discover that the creole language spoken in the French colonies in the Caribbean is very similar to Mauritian creole. Yet the creole spoken by the people of Reunion Island which is near Mauritius and the Seychelles in the North is quite different.
How are you?
Well thank you
What’s your name?
Koma ou appélé? or ki ou non?
Madam is the same
Pas éna tracas
I am glad
Below some creole riddles called sirandanes for your enjoyment.They were devised by slaves. See if you can guess the answers. If not you’ll find them at the bottom of the page.
Creole riddle one:
Koutchou koutchou derier la porte? - balie
Scratch scratch behind the door?
Creole riddle two:
Tapi mo gran papa plin pinez? - zetwal
My grandfather’s blanket is full of bugs?
Creole riddle three:
Trwa piti nwar get vent zot mama brile? - Lipye marmit
Tree little blacks looking at their mother’s belly burning?
Creole riddle four:
Li n'a pas lé dent, li manzé tout lé zour dipi bomatin zousqu'à soir, zamé li avalé? Moulin canne.
It does not have teeth, it eats everyday from early morning until night time and it never swallows?
Creole riddle five:
Dileau diboute? - canne
Creole riddle six:
Dileau enpendant? - coco
Creole riddle seven:
Touzours li marce latéte en bas ? - coulou soulié
Who always walks with their head down?
Creole riddle eight:
Mo ena en barik avek de kalite dilo? - dizef
I have a drum with two types of water?
Creole riddle nine:
Mil tru dan gran tru? - lede
A thousand holes in a big hole?
Creole riddle ten:
Dan mo la sam ena tapis rouz ek ban ti fotey blan? - la bousse
In my room there is a red carpet with lots of small white chairs?
Creole riddle eleven:
Ki renter are papa sorti are mari? - la mariee
Who comes in with a father and comes out with a husband?
Creole riddle twelve:
Cinque brances dans dileau ? - zouritte
Five branches in the water?
Creole riddle thirteen:
Mo noir dans mo bonhère, mo rouze dans mo malhére ? - cévrette
I am black in my happiness and red in my grief?
Creole riddle fourteen:
Mo rouze dans mo bonhère, mo noir dans mo malhére ? - lagrain café
I am red in my happiness and black in my grief?
Zafferes mouton napas safferes cabris
Sheep business is not goats’ business - don’t dwell about what does not concern you.
Malade vine lahaut lieve, li alle lahaut tourtie
Ilness comes on a hare, it goes away on a turtle
1) broom. 2) stars. 3) the feet of a cooking pot. 4) sugarcane mill. 5) sugarcane. 6) coconut. 7) shoe nail. 8) egg. 9) Timble. 10) mouth. 11) bridesmaid. 12) octopus. 13) prawn. 14) coffee bean
How many correct answers did you get? Hope you enjoyed these Mauritian creole riddles and phrases. All part of our colourful language.