North Réunion Intercommunal Tourist Office

Beauty of the Creole language

Coming from a mix of identities, the Creole language is known to be very colorful. Its words originate from Malagasy, Old French, Hindi, Tamil, but also words used in the navy since each of our ancestors necessarily arrived by sea.

Thus, “leave me alone” becomes in Creole “larg’ mon l’hemlet” from “cast off!” ".

So, “mi lé bien parfait” means “I don’t feel well”. I am very tired. This adjective comes from French dialects: fayi , “weak”, bankrupt , “thin”.


LET’S PLAY! Here is a list of Creole proverbs. Link each proverb to its equivalent in French.

Goni vid y tienbo pa dobout’

A man with an empty stomach has no strength.

Komm’ karapat’ si tété bèf’  

Profit from the misery of others.

Fé pas la bou avant la pli   

Do not make hasty conclusions.

Bèf dévan y boir’ le prop’ 

1st come, 1st served!

La langue n’a point le z’os      

The slanderer has the devil on his tongue

Pèse su la tèt pou voir si la ké y bouge 

Plead falsehood to know truth.

N’a un jour y apel domin      

The wheel (luck) turns.

Gro poison i bèk si le tar     

Good things come to those who wait for.

Finally, the names of neighborhoods and municipalities respond to an implacable logic. For example, the “Bel Air les Jacques” district originated from the habit of Indian day laborers planting “jacques” around their homes. This tree, native to Asia and southern India, produces fruits each weighing between 10 and 30 kgs!.

Le Brûlé bears this name because of the fumaroles that the Dionysians regularly saw on the mountain, coming from the wood that was burned to make charcoal.

Take advantage of every moment to strain your ears and pick up a few words of Creole: in a restaurant, after mass, in the stands of a football match... Bookstores and media libraries are full of lexicons and other glossaries, to assist you in your discovery. Let yourself be carried away by the beauty of this mixed language. And if you feel like it, take the plunge and try to take ownership, your interlocutors will generally be delighted with your initiative.