Funny Hakka in Mauritius

A few amusing words that I came across when talking to Hakka-Mauritians were those that had been borrowed from Mauritian Creole/French/English and made to sound like Hakka. The (randomly spelled!) examples I found were:

  • se-mi-se for 'chemise'
  • foh-maa-se for 'fromage'
  • gat-toh for 'gâteau'
  • pa-sak for 'bazaar'
  • maa-yaa-se for 'mariage'
  • mi-se-kui for 'biscuit'
  • bi-se for 'bus'
  • bi-se-top for 'bus stop'

I'd love to add more if you can think of any!

I once heard a story of a Hakka lady who visited Mauritius and was rather confused because her host kept on asking her whether she would like some 'gat-toh' and she had no idea what this was!



More Creole-Hakka

Thanks to Ah Yee No. 3 and Yee Chong, who have remembered some more funny Creole-Hakka words:

  • La-vang-ha for 'la varangue' (veranda)
  • Si-ma-naye for 'ciment' (cement)
  • La-su-tik for 'elastique'
  • Pang-leh-song for 'prendre des leçons', that is, taking extra tuition after school...

Thanks to GSY:

  • an-ma-se for 'Champs de Mars' (racecourse)
  • Or-chin for the town of 'Rosehill' (doesn't sound very similar, but I guess to the original Chinese this was the closest they could get?)
  • Ma-ta-kwee for 'police' - one of our Malaysian readers confirms that 'mata' means 'eyes' in Malay and is used to refer to the police, whilst 'kwee' is a commonly-used Hakka word for 'ghost', often used as a derogatory term. 
  • Li-su-choy or 'le chou'

My dad recalls referring to La Réunion as phu-lo-vong, possibly derived from its former name of 'Île Bourbon' and to Rodrigues as lo-ti-li.

My mum, on hearing li-su-choy, suddenly remembered that from li-su-choy you can make yaa-saa, otherwise known as 'achard'!

  • ko-long-souille for 'Eau de Cologne'

Thanks to BNCT:

  • ang-taille for 'sangle'
  • Lam-jiu for 'rum'
  • Or-se-pen for 'Rose Belle'
  • Kak-ponne for 'Quatre Bornes'
  • Lan-ti-theo for 'lentilles' (I do like this one a lot!)

Thanks to AKLFS:

  • va-li-se for 'valise'