SURESH RAMPHUL

There appears to be a possibility that Kreol Morisien will be introduced in our Parliament.  We can say that it was long overdue.  However, technicalities have to be meticulously worked out.  Let’s give the project the time it requires.  There’s no point in rushing with it.

Kreol Language will ensure a larger audience on television and a greater number of people will have the possibility to understand the way Parliament works.  They will have a clearer insight into the topic/s under discussion.  People need to know what decisions are taken in their names and how these affect their lives. They can more easily make informed judgements. This will eventually result in the development of political maturity.  Technical jargon in English and French isn’t within the grasp of everyone.  We have people who can’t even read a Withdrawal or Deposit Form in banks.  How can they be expected to make sense of high-flown English or French?

However, Kreol Language must not be used to the detriment of international languages like English and French.  Mauritians are today increasingly travelling for various reasons.  A reasonable competence in these languages is helpful to students and workers alike.  A good grasp of these languages helps people to adapt themselves easily in foreign countries.

Balance

Our spoken media run a number of popular programmes in Kreol Language.  This has its advantages but insufficient exposure to English or French concerning topics of national interest are quite rare or non-existent.  There was a time when teachers strongly recommended specific programmes on television or the radio to their students.  The British Council, the Mauritius College of the Air, and the Audio Visual Centre of the Ministry of Education used to broadcast their programmes on television and the radio.  These were references. Students made it a point to follow these programmes to improve their general knowledge, vocabulary and structures which could profitably be used in written work.  Many of them could reinforce their note-taking skills and learn about spelling and pronunciation.  These days, we don’t have such programmes.

The level of English Language and French Language is deteriorating in our schools and colleges as educators can testify.  Certainly, the use of Kreol Language must be encouraged in our Parliament but can we make sure that it doesn’t replace English and French or occupy too large a space?  There is a need to strike a balance so that the importance of English and French isn’t minimized.

Debates often involve strong feelings.  In case Kreol Morisien is introduced in the Parliament   –  there’s no doubt that one day it will   –  certain words should be banned: « batiara, kouyon, vie siko, sovaz, zako, bourik, ferfout, pouritir, souser, krever, boufon, laryaz, latet pike, bous to lagel, bez simin ale, voler, pwalour, aret zaze, nwar cholo, zak dan tant, gopia, batar » etc.

“Zako” and “bourik”, applied to animals are correct but applied to Members of Parliament, they should be deemed incorrect because they’re offensive or derogatory. The words above carry negative connotations.  Parliament isn’t the right place to degrade each other.  Knowing that some of our honourable members are hot-tempered and can “sap lor kal” any moment, I would suggest that swear words be banned too.