a word from Vocabulary Seychelles Creole
The database contains the closest equivalents of LWT meanings in Seychelles Creole based on written sources (see references below) supplemented by the native-speaker knowledge of one of the investigators, Marcel Rosalie (Victoria/Mahé). Our main source is Annegret Bollée’s monumental work Dictionnaire étymologique des créoles français de l’Océan Indien (1993–2007), 4 volumes. We have also consulted St Jorre & Lionnet (1999) (Diskyonner kreol-franse/Dictionnaire créole seychellois-français) and Baker & Hookoomsing (1987) (Diksoner kreol morisyen).
Bollée (1993–2007) is a very comprehensive and highly reliable source for any
etymology of a creole lexeme in one of the main three creole languages spoken in
the Indian Ocean, Seychelles Creole, Mauritian Creole, and Reunion Creole. Bollée builds on earlier work by Chaudenson (1974) (Le lexique du parler créole de la Réunion) and Baker’s unpublished PhD thesis (1982) (The contribution of non-
Francophone immigrants to the lexicon of Mauritian Creole). The present dataset on Seychelles Creole does hardly add any etymology to those already established by Bollée (1993–2007).
In the field "Word form", there are in some rare cases two variants for a given entry, separated by a comma, e.g. delo, dilo 'water'.
Baker, Philip (1982), The contribution of non-Francophone immigrants to the lexicon of Mauritian Creole, PhD thesis, 2 vols, unpublished.
Baker, Philip & Hookoomsing, Vinesh (1987), Diksoner kreol morisyen, Paris 1987.
Bollée, Annegret (1993ff.), Dictionnaire étymologique des créoles français de l'Océan Indien, 4 vols, Hamburg: Buske.
Chaudenson, Robert (1974), Le lexique du parler créole de la Réunion, 2 vols, Paris.
St Jorre, de Danielle & Lionnet, Guy (1999), Diskyonner kreol – franse. Dictionnaire créole seychellois – français, Bamberg/Mahé.
Comments on word
Comments on word
Here I give additional information on the French source word(s) for a lot of the Seychelles Creole entries. Often we also cite an etymon from dialectal, non-standardized French as this was the source for the Mauritian and Seychelles Creole words.
|< French acquitter (perhaps as a loanword)|
The uninhabited islands of the Seychelles were the last of the Indian Ocean islands to be settled in 1770 by the French, mainly from Mauritius (settled in 1721), but also from Reunion Island (settled in 1664). The French settlers brought their African slaves along with them to this new subcolony, which was ruled from Mauritius. During the first two decades, the colony was faced with various difficulties, but a demographic boom began around the late 1780s, when under Malavois, the Governor-General for Mauritius and the Seychelles, the economy changed from the mere exploitation of the natural resources to profitable agriculture (cotton, coffee, spices) (Nwulia 1981: 27). By 1791, there were 572 inhabitants in the islands: 65 Europeans, 20 free “colored” people, and 487 slaves (Chaudenson 1979: 225). Due to a constant demand for servile labor, the population grew constantly, and by 1810 there were 317 European settlers, 135 free “colored” people and 3,015 slaves in the islands.
After the Napoleonic Wars, with the Treaty of Paris in 1814, the Seychelles and
Mauritius came under the rule of Britain, whereas Reunion remained under French rule. After 1807 the slave trade was illegal in all British territories, but the colonial authorities found it difficult to implement this ban in the Seychelles and Mauritius. As a consequence, an illegal slave trade started to flourish in the Indian Ocean (Allen 2001: 93, 110). It is estimated that between 1811 and 1827 about 60,000 slaves were exported from Madagascar and East Africa to Mauritius and to the Seychelles (Allen 2001: 111).
After the abolition of slavery in 1835, the British Navy captured French ships that still engaged in the slave trade and set the slaves “free” in the Seychelles. This led to a considerable further influx of Bantu-speaking East Africans in the 19th century.
With respect to the evolution of Seychelles Creole, it is crucial to note that when the French colonists, who mainly came from Mauritius, settled the Seychelles, they and their slaves brought some kind of already stabilized Mauritian Creole along with them. Baker & Corne (1986) hypothesize that it was around 1770 that the different varieties spoken in Mauritius “jelled” into a stable creole language. This historical fact is the reason why Seychelles Creole can be characterized as an offshoot of Mauritian Creole. The two modern languages are still mutually intelligible.
In 1976, the Seychelles became independent, and since 1978 there have been
three official languages: English, French and Seychelles Creole (Kreol seselwa). Creole is the native language of about 95% of the population. In 1982 it was introduced as a language of instruction in primary schools and has been used in different formal communication contexts, e.g. television, radio, court, newspaper. But during the last 15 years, the use of written varieties of Seychelles Creole has lost a lot of its former significance.
Regarding the age field , it should be stressed that the age estimates are based on a lot of speculation (much less for the 20th century), and not on the date of the first written attestation of a given word.
The following age designations have been used:
(i) 18th century: all words which are supposed to have been either already part of the Mauritian Creole varieties imported into the Seychelles (in 1770), or words that may have entered Seychelles Creole in this very early stage (1770-1800).
(ii) 19th century: words which may have entered Seychelles Creole via slaves who mainly came from East Africa speaking eastern Bantu languages or from Madagascar (whereas it is not clear how many Malagasy slaves were brought to the Seychelles during the illegal slave trade in the first decennies of the 19th century (see Michaelis 2008)).
(iii) 19th or 20th century: a lot of words borrowed from French and English, where a more exact timing seems to be unjustified given the little linguistic evidence.
(iv) 20th century: clear cases of late borrowings into Seychelles Creole mainly based on the semantics of the lexeme denoting concepts which have only become relevant in the 20th century.
Allen, Richard B. 2001. Licentious and unbridled proceedings: The illegal slave trade to Mauritius and the Seychelles during the early nineteenth century. Journal of African History 42:91–116.
Baker, Philip & Corne, Chris. 1986. Universals, Substrata and the Indian Ocean Creoles. In Muysken, Pieter & Smith, Norval (eds.), Substrata versus Universals in Creole Genesis, 163–183. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Chaudenson, Robert. 1979. Créoles français de l'océan Indien et langues africaines [French creoles of the Indian Ocean and African languages]. In Hancock, Ian F. (ed.), Readings in creole studies, 217–237. Ghent: E. Story-Scientia.
Michaelis, Susanne (2008), "Valency patterns in Seychelles Creole: Where do they come from", in: Michaelis, Susanne (2008) (Ed), Roots of creole structures. Weighing the contribution of substrates and superstrates, Amsterdam: Benjamins,
Nwulia, Moses. 1981. The History of Slavery in Mauritius and the Seychelles: 1810–1875. Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickenson University Press.
|19th or 20th century (1801–2007)|