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A owerview o Réunion Creole

Réunion Creole is a Creole leid that is spoken in Réunion, a island aff the East coast o Africae, in the Sooth-Wast o the Indian Ocean. It is the anerly leid specífic tae the island and is spoken bi mair nor 80 per cent o the indwallers, and is unnerstuid bi even mair. Creole is kent bi the feck o the population, but is for ordinar uised in ilkaday contexts, lik Scots is thir days.

The leid haes its orígin fae French and ither siclike spiks in Fraunce, wi grammatical restructurin and a fair feck o hamelt new-fangles and a few lendwirds. The lendwirds is maistly derived fae Malagasy, Tamil and Indo-Portuguese creoles.

The leid stertit on the island in the 17t hunneryear, whan the first permansible indwallers arrived in the island.

There isnae ae estaiblisht wey o writin Creole. Housomiver, aw the weys o writin it is derived fae the French spellin. Some spellin sýstems is mair phonemic (spelt hou they are pronoonced), lik the KWZ spellin sýstem, while ithers is even sibber tae French spellin, spelt as gif it’s French (kent as etymological spellin). For ensaumple, in a etymological spellin, ’I lue ye’ is mi y’aime à ou and it’s mi yinm aou in a phonemic spellin. I aften uise a sýstem that is phonemic, like KWZ, but that comprehends the ootmaist amoont o phonemic sindrieheids. It’s either for fowk tae unnerstaund whit soonds is pronoonced even gif it isnae the maist uised.


The grammar in Réunion Creole is a fair feck mair analytic nor maist European leids, includin the French, and mair lik the Scots and the English. Bi analytic, I mean that it aft-times uises twa-three (in Creole, dë-trwa) wirds for tae pit ower a concept, insteid o uisin affixes, lik in the Laitin. Laitin is a synthetic leid, synthetic bein the conter o analytic. For ensaumple, in the Laitin, ye hae noon declensions for nummer, case and gender, and verb conjugations for person, nummer, tense and vyce (whether it’s active or passive). In the French, the declensions is juist for the nummer and gender, and ye hae conjugations. In Creole, the gender declensions is juist in some varieties and the conjugation varies accordin tae the variety, wi conjugation maistly juist for the past participles and infinitives.

Sae the Réunion Creole, lik ither Creole leids, aften uises preverbal pairticles. For ensaumple, whaur in French ye say for ’I uised tae lue’, in Creole ye say mwin té yinm/mi té yinm (but mi émé and mi té émé is possible an-aw).

In Réunion Creole, the wird rander is chynged in confeerance tae the French: in the Creole, the object comes aye efter the verb, whether it’s a noon or a pronoon, like in the Scots: ye say mi yinm aou for ’A lue ye’ and mi yinm mon zézèr for ’I lue ma jo’. This is in contrast tae the French, whaur the verb comes efter the object whan uisin a pronoon: je t’aime for ’A lue ye’ but j’aime mon chéri/ma chérie for ’I lue ma jo’.

Pronoons Singular Plural
1st mwin nou
2nt ou; twé (this last ane can be seen as waff) zot
3rd li/lï zot, banna


Mony Creole wirds exists in French an-aw, but wi different meanins or forms. Thir ither meanins can exist in ither spiks in Fraunce, like the Norman o the north o Fraunce or the Waloon o the Sooth o Belgium, fae or inventit in the island itsel. A ensaumple o Creole wird that exists in French wi anither meanin is kozé (‘spik’). In the French, causer means ‘tae blether’.

Anither is kaz, that means ‘hoose’ while case in the French means ‘bothy’ or ‘buith’. Whiles, wirds gits new weys o uisin them throu grammatical restructurin. For ensaumple, some noons for locations can be uised as adverbs, like in la kaz: kaz means ‘hoose’ and la kaz can be uised tae mean ‘the hoose’ or ‘hame’.

A minority o wirds comes fae ither leids lik Malagasy (papang, the anerly local bird o prey), Tamil (dada, aulder brither) or Indo-Portuguese Creoles (rougay, aither a keukit dish or a wankeukit kitchen). I writ ma Masters thesis anent Creole wirds that comes fae Malagasy. Aw the aforementiont wirds is uised bi Réunionese fowk whan they spik the French an-aw.

There is aften synonymy (meanins wi mony wirds) and polysemy (wirds wi mony meanins) in Creole. The synonymy whiles includes synonyms o different springheids, lik wirds for ’tired/wabbit/faggit/bauch’: fatigé (fae the French), fay (fae the Waloon) and mavouz and an golinm (fae the Malagasy) amang ithers. The polysemy is maist aften fund in common verbs and prepositions that is derived fae leids that’s spoken in Fraunce.

A few wirds is sic and sae acqueesh Creole and Scots withoot bein common tae the English or the French, throu coincidence or common springheid. A ensaumple is akoz that can mean ‘acause’. Anither is the wird doung that haes sel-like pronoonciation and springheid as the Scots wird ‘ding’. The resemmlance is aw the mair kenspeckle whan we tent the historical existence o the form ‘doung’ in Scots. This wird cam intae baith leids fae Norse onwirk on the Norman, and the Normans wis amang the European fowk that cam tae Réunion in the 17t hunneryear (there is fowk o Malagasy, French, Tamil, Mozambican and aften mixed orígins, amang ithers, in Réunion).