International Mother Language Day: Launching of first volume of scientific publication in Mauritian Creole

International Mother Language Day: Launching of first volume of scientific publication in Mauritian Creole

The first volume of the book entitled ‘Sians ek Konesans pou tou dimounn’ (Science and knowledge for all) was launched, today, by the Minister of Arts and Cultural Heritage, Mr Avinash Teeluck, in the context of International Mother Language Day. The launching is an initiative of the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre in collaboration with the Creole Speaking Union (CSU) and the University of Mauritius.
The first volume of the book consists of three winning texts in Mauritian Creole of the ‘Konkour Lekritir Text Siantifik 2020’ (Science writing competition 2020), namely ‘Anou fer enn teleskop’ (Let’s build a telescope) by Jean Lindsay Dhookit, ‘Langaz liniver’ (Language of the Universe) by Krishna Pentayah & al, and ‘Mezir dan fiziks’ (Measurement in Physics) by Amena Rosun. This first volume will act as the basis for the publication of other scientific works in the Mauritian Creole language.
In his address, Minister Teeluck dwelt on the evolution of the Creole language in Mauritius and congratulated the CSU for the work undertaken to that end. He recalled that students can now sit for kreol morisien (Mauritian Creole) exams at the level of School Certificate, adding that Government will ensure that this academic progress at the secondary level continues.
Speaking about the new publication, the Minister rejoiced that the language in which it is written, that is kreol morisien, will help ignite an interest in science in the reader since he/she  will be exposed to his maternal tongue. The use of a learner’s mother language, he underlined, has been found to have a wide and positive impact on learning, supporting better dialogue between teacher and student, boosting participation in society and opening up access to new knowledge and understanding. He acknowledged that it can be key in boosting a learner’s confidence and self-esteem, affirming their sense of self-identity, which, in turn, can lead to further learning and development for the individual and for their community.
Also present, the President of the CSU, Prof. Arnaud Carpooran, stated that International Mother Language Day provides an opportunity to acknowledge those who have fought for the recognition of their mother language, as well as to reflect more generally on the importance of respecting and celebrating linguistic diversity. “Respect for linguistic diversity is a precondition of authentic dialogue and cooperation; the better we understand and value different languages, the better our chances of building a world that is creative, inclusive and peaceful,” he said.
As regards the publication, he expressed satisfaction that it has reached the stage of publication adding that the whole experience was a success. He said that the kreol morisien, as an optional language, has proved to be successful and expressed hope that it becomes a scientific language in the future. He also dwelt on the importance of making science accessible to everyone and highlighted the need for the setting up of a Commission to look into the terminology and grammar of the language.
International Mother Language Day
International Mother Language Day is a worldwide annual observance held on 21 February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism. Mother Language Day is part of a broader initiative to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.
It is to be recalled that in Mauritius, kreol morisien entered school in Grade 1, at the primary level, as an optional subject in 2012. As from 2015, as part of the nine-year schooling, the national curriculum framework includes the kreol morisien. At the Primary School Achievement Certificate (PSAC), the kreol morisien is an “examinable subject” and the results are taken into account for admission to Grade 7. In 2018, the language was introduced at the secondary level and as from 2021, students could sit for the kreol morisien exams at the National Certificate of Education level.

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