In brief

Réunion government to use Creole in official communications

French will remain sole official language

The charter as signed by Reunion President Huguette Bello.
The charter as signed by Reunion President Huguette Bello.
The government of Réunion has approved the Bilingual Collectivity charter, which should allow the administration of this French Indian Ocean territory to include the island’s language, Creole, in its official communications.

Among 16 measures envisaged by the document are bilingual French-Creole signage on regional administration buildings or the use of Creole in the government’s magazine and website. It is also envisaged that Creole will be allowed in speeches in the region’s deliberative bodies, as well as the fact that elected representatives can address the public in the language in oral communications.

Despite these changes, French will remain Réunion’s only official language, as in the rest of the territory of the French Republic.

Réunion Creole emerged as a distinct language on this Indian island in colonial times. It is based on several north-western varieties of European French, with contributions from languages such as Malagasy, Tamil, or Hindi.

According to INSEE data, Creole is the mother tongue of more than 80% of the island’s population, although French is gaining ground in younger age groups. The use of Creole is essentially restricted to the oral domain.