Use and Standardisation of Mauritian Creole in Electronically Mediated Communication

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Abstract

New technologies have affected language use and attitudes in many communities. Kreol, a French-lexified Creole and the nonstandardised first language of the majority of Mauritians, is now gaining ground as a written language in the specific context of electronic-mediated communication. This has led to the emergence of writing norms among users of the language. These norms are founded on etymological phonemic and mixed conventions. This study based on data gathered through questionnaires analyses the attitudes of 66 young Mauritians towards the three orthographies used in electronically mediated communication and the standardisation of the language in new technologies. It also briefly discusses some of the spelling conventions used in Internet postings. I show that the etymological system is perceived as most readable, learnable and closest to French. Users believe that Kreol can act as a unifying factor among different ethnolinguistic groups in Mauritius. Responses also highlight the potential of users and electronic-mediated communication in bringing about the standardisation of Kreol.

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