International Creole Day

Since 1983, October 28 has been International Creole Day. This language is spoken by around 25 million people worldwide. Although Creole refers more to the Republic of Haiti, it is a language spoken on every continent.

Creole is spoken in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean, in French Guiana in South America, by the oldest speakers in New Orleans in the USA, on Reunion Island, Mauritius, Rodrigues and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and Wallis & Futuna in the Pacific Ocean. However, with population migration (3 million Haitians or people of Haitian origin, for example, would not live on their native island), Creole is present on every continent. When we say "Creole", we think first and foremost of Haiti.

Indeed, Creole is the official language of the Republic of Haiti, alongside French. With over 10 million inhabitants, Haiti is the island where the language is most widely spoken. Most of the population speaks Creole, while French is spoken by only 10%. Haitian Creole is somewhat similar to Martinique and Guadeloupe Creole.

The Creole of the French-speaking islands of the Lesser Antilles (especially Martinique) is also very similar to that of Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago. These islands, which were French at a time when there was a strong wave of immigration from Martinique (Grenada and Trinidad & Tobago), have a Creole with a French lexical base. Their proximity to the French-speaking Antilles has helped perpetuate the language in the area.

However, we can't speak of an Antillean Creole, as the small differences in the words used mean that sentences will not have the same turn of phrase. So we speak of Haitian Creole, Martinican Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, St. Lucian Creole, Trinidadian Creole, Grenadian Creole and Dominican Creole.

For example, in Martinique, to say "I love you", we say "mwen inminw'", while in Guadeloupe we say "mwen inmin vou". Guiana Creole is also somewhat similar to the Creole spoken in the West Indies. In the English-speaking islands, Creole is the most widely spoken language, even before English!

In the Indian Ocean, Creole also has a French lexical base, but is in no way similar to the Creole spoken in the West Indies.

It is also spoken on islands colonized by the French. 90% of the population of Mauritius, Rodrigues and the Seychelles speak Creole! However, apart from Seychelles, where it is an official language alongside French and English, Creole is not a language of administration. French is used on Reunion Island, and English on the other islands. Finally, in Wallis and Futuna, an Overseas Territory (T.O.M.), Creole is spoken by the population but is not a language of administration.