Now, over 84% of people say that, at home, they speak only Kreol. The figure in 2000 Census was already 70.1%. This 20% increase pre-dates the introduction of the Kreol language in schools as from 2012. The Government’s recognition of the Kreol language was thus a result of a shift in peoples’ use of Kreol or awareness of their use of Kreol; and the official recognition will, in turn, increase peoples’ use of and consciousness of the importance of their mother tongue.
The Government Central Statistics Office has this week published some of the main figures from the 2011 Census of the Whole Population, an exercise carried out every 10 years, showing that Kreol is now the language of the overwhelming majority of people, over eight out of ten. Bhojpuri (as the “only language spoken at home”) has fallen from 12.1% to 5.3% while other mainly Oriental languages have fallen from 14.4% to 7.1%. The French language, despite the massive investment and general ideological “push” from France and its department of “La Francophonie” which publishes world-wide that Mauritius is a “francophone country”, has gone up from its very low 3.4% to only 3.6%.
The detailed statistics have not yet been put up on the CSO website, but it can be guessed that many of the remaining 7% of people speak “Kreol and Bhojpuri” or “Kreol and another language”. So, while both main mother-tongues remain oppressed in the country, the mother-tongue of the vast majority of the people is becoming stronger, while the main “minority” mother-tongue has weakened.