Attitudes towards english in Mauritius: linguistic paradox or cultural pragmatism?
Mauritius, a member of the Commonwealth since independence in 1968 and also a permanent member of the Francophonie (the equivalent in the French-speaking world of the Commonwealth organisation), is unique in many ways. An island where English is the official language, but where French predominates in social interactions and a French-based Creole is the lingua franca of a population of whom 66% are of Indian descent, although very few speak their Indian ancestral language. The remainder of the population is made up of a diversity of people from African, Chinese, European and mixed backgrounds. According to the last census carried out in 2000, the total population of the island was just over a million inhabitants and two-thirds were described as "Indo-Mauritians", 2% as "Sino-Mauritians" and almost a thord as "General Population" (i.e. Mauritians of African, mixed, and European descent). The three main religions followed by these ethno-linguistic groups are Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Indo-Mauritians are generally Hindus and Muslims, whilst the majority of the General Population and Sino-Maurotians are Christians.