When you're planning a holiday to Seychelles, it can be useful to have a general understanding of the local language, Seychellois Creole. The islands have three languages: Creole, English and French. Spoken by some 95% of the Seychellois population - equating to around 70,000 people - Creole is the most popular dialect.
Although most of the local people speak English and are happy to converse with tourists, it's good to be able to speak to them in their own native tongue too.
History of Creole
Seychellois Creole, also known as Kreol, is believed to have its roots in the French language - dating from the time when the islands were a French colony. The Seychelles government endeavours to promote the language, establishing the Lenstiti Kreol - the Creole Institute - to help standardise the grammar and spelling.
During the Festival Kreol (which is a major annual event), the Lenstiti Kreol hosts a gathering of writers and linguists, so they can pool ideas and formally develop Seychellois Creole - the most-used language of everyday conversation.
Prior to a holiday in Seychelles, visitors can benefit from picking up a copy of The Seychellois Creole Phrasebook. Available in book form or online, you can learn some phrases that will help you to understand everyday conversation and truly feel part of the islands' rich heritage.
Here are some useful Creole phrases to get you started - they are written phonetically to give you an idea of the correct pronunciation:
Perhaps the easiest phrase, a simple good morning or hello, is "bonzour". This is very similar to the French, "bonjour" but the soft "J" becomes a "Z" sound. Goodnight is "bonswar", like the French "bonsoir". If you want to ask someone how they are, the phrase is, "koman ou sava?" If someone asks you the same question and you wish to reply you're fine, you’ll say "Mon byen mersi."
Some useful words include: yes/wi (pronounced as the French do); no/non (pronounced "noh"); please/silvouple (pronounced "sevooplay"); thank you/mersi; what/kwa; who/lekel; where/oli; when/kan; today/ozordi; tomorrow/demen.
Everyday phrases that could help you to communicate during your holiday include: where is/oli; turn left/koup gos ; turn right/koup drwat; I'm ill/mon malad; hospital/lopital; help/o sekour; how much is this?/konbyen sa; I'm lost/monn perdi; where is the bus stop?/oli bus stop?
Ask a local person if they speak English by saying, "ou koz Angle?" Ask where the bathroom is by saying, "kote twalet I ete?" Find out what time the bus leaves by asking, "keler bis I ale?"
As the mother tongue of most Seychelles natives, Creole is used in everyday situations - if you have any understanding of French, it will be fairly easy for you to follow the Seychellois Creole language.
It's always beneficial to know a little of the local language, so keep your Creole phrasebook handy, as you never know when it will come in useful.
If you are looking for plush surroundings and an inviting atmosphere, then come to one of the most prestigious Seychelles beach resorts. Savoy Resort & Spa enjoys a beachfront location that boasts panoramic views over the enchanting Indian Ocean. Now that’s a language we all understand!