Besides the culinary discovery and the cultural immersion, learning about a country’s language, famous expressions or dialects is by far the most fun part! Quirky yet whimsical, the Kreol Morisien naturally stands out due to its astonishing range of intonations.
Today Discover Mauritius®™ is crafting you a list of 10 of the most heard expressions here in Mauritius (if they sound weird, don’t worry we’ll explain).
Zak dan tant
The word ‘zak’ is the kreol translation of Jackfruit. If you translate ‘zak dan tant’ literally it means jackfruit in a bag but here in Mauritius ‘zak dan tant’ means that a woman is pregnant (kind of different right?).
Example: “Mo krwar zak dan tant” - “I think am pregnant”
Bav dan minn
‘Bav’ means to drool and ‘minn’ means noodles, if you’re still not getting it, worry not! ‘Bav dan minn’ is the kreol expression used towards someone who interferes in a conversation with an irrelevant point.
Example: “Ey, aret bav dan minn” - “Hey, stop being irrelevant”
Lamok is referred to as an empty tin. Long ago in Mauritius, children used to play with empty tins, either they reshaped it in a telephone or used it as a ball for football matches. Yet, the kreol expression ‘bat lamok’ means that you are bored and have nothing to do!
Example: “To p bat lamok zordi?” - “You have nothing to do today?”
Literally translated, ‘bwar disan’ means you’re drinking blood, just like mosquitoes or vampires do. Yet, this expression simply means that you are either being annoying or living off somebody else. Another meaning for ‘bwar disan’ is stop being lazy.
Example: “Aret bwar mo disan” - “Stop annoying me”
“Aret bwar disan, fer travay la” - “Stop being lazy and do your work”
Tay so kart
‘Tay so kart’ in simple terms means to betray someone/ to cause harm to someone or cheat someone.
Example: “Banla inn rod tay so kart” - “They try to cheat him”
Leker bat dan mole
This is a very famous expression to say that your heart is beating abnormally fast but this expression can only be used in specific situations of great love or great fear. Here’s an example:
“Monn telma per ki mo leker ti p bat dan mole” - “I was so scared that my heart was beating real fast”
Soup is the kreol expression to say that everything is fine, is flowing in the right direction and is going as planned!
Example: “Ey, soup sa” - “Hey, that’s fine”
Lay mor dan lalamp
To guess this one, you’ll have to be focused! ‘Lay’ means moth and it’s no secret that they are attracted by light, so attracted that they end up burning themselves into it. So, ‘Lay mor dan lalamp’ means even though you know that the end point is wrong, you have no other choice
Example: “Taxi la so pri ti so me mo pa ti ena swa, lay inn oblize mor dan lalamp” - “The cab was overcharging me but I had no choice at that time”
Ouver lizie tang
‘Tang’ is translated as Hedgehogs and these are usually night animals who guide themselves through smell as they cannot see properly. So ‘ouver lizie tang’ means that you’re showing people something which is right in front of them.
Example: “Linn ouver lizie tang, linn fer twa konn laverite” - “He made me realise the truth”
‘Bat lakol’ is definitely one of the most used expressions in kreol. This expression can be used in different situations and some examples of these situations can be, when you’re trying to get out of trouble, when you’re trying to flirt with someone or the act of being nice to obtain what you want. Don’t worry, the examples are here to enlighten you.
‘Li p rod bat lakol pou gagn so nimero’ - ‘He’s trying to flirt with her to get her phone number’
‘Monn bat lakol ar lapolis la pou mo pa gagn lamann’ - ‘I talked try to talk to the policeman to escape the fine’
‘Mo p bat lakol ar mo mama pou mo kav sorti tanto’ - ‘I am acting nice with my mom so that she allows me to go out tonight’
Context example: Looking for some means of transport
Man: How much to go to Grand-Baie (example from Port-Louis)
Driver: Rs 3000
Man thinking (mari bwar disan, mo sey bat lakol mo dir lir Rs1500)
(He’s trying to cheat me, let me try to negotiate for Rs1500)
Context example: Looking to buy something at the market
Woman: How much is it? Is there any discount available
Seller: Rs 800 for a pound (500g) of litchis
Seller thinking (enn touris sa kav tay so kart, tout fason lay bizin mor dan lalamp mem)
(She’s a tourist, I can cheat her anyway am the only one selling it, she will have to come back if she really wants to buy it)