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jeudi 8 mai 2008

Mauritius isn't Mauritania

Here's a conversation i had with a Mexican guy who was looking for 'friends' on Skype (i keep getting those invites these days):

i'm a student in France
i'm originally from Mauritius, which i don't think u've heard about
yes, a little bit. Near to Africa, right?
;) in spanish it's Mauritania, i think
nope....this ain't mauritania
Mauritania is another country in West Africa
Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean

This is a common mistake by English speakers as compared to French people don't really have this problem to distinguish 'La Mauritanie' from 'L'île Maurice.'

A few years ago, even Times Magazine made that mistake. In their list of countries governed by islamic principles, they mentioned Mauritius! Thankfully they cleared their erratum later but my island was listed as a potential threat to the US government for a few weeks.

There's also the story of a US President who made the same confusion when meeting the Mauritian Prime Minister...

Let's clear this confusion once and for all, please, shall we?

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