Language - Bislama language

Language  >  Bislama language

Bislama language

Bislama (also known under its earlier name in French bichelamar ) is a creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu. It is the first language of many of the "Urban ni-Vanuatu" (those who live in Port Vila and Luganville), and the second language of much of the rest of the country's residents. "Yumi, Yumi, Yumi", the Vanuatu national anthem, is in Bislama.

More than 95% of Bislama words are of English origin; the remainder combines a few dozen words from French, as well as some vocabulary inherited from various languages of Vanuatu, essentially limited to flora and fauna terminology. While the influence of these vernacular languages is low on the vocabulary side, it is very high in the morphosyntax. Bislama can be basically described as a language with an English vocabulary and an Oceanic grammar and phonology.

During the period of "blackbirding", in the 1870s and 1880s, hundreds of thousands of Pacific islanders (many of them from the New Hebrides – now the Vanuatu archipelago) were taken as indentured labourers or sometimes kidnapped and forced to work on plantations, mainly in Queensland, Australia and Fiji. With several languages being spoken in these plantations, a pidgin was formed, combining English vocabulary with grammatical structures typical of languages in the region. This early plantation pidgin is the origin not only of Bislama, but also of Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea and Pijin of the Solomon Islands, though not of Torres Strait Creole north of Australia.

This pidgin started spreading over the Vanuatu archipelago at the turn of the 20th century, as the survivors of blackbirding began to come back to their native islands: knowledge of this pidgin would facilitate communication not only with European traders and settlers, but also between native populations, and because Vanuatu is the most language-dense country in the world (one count puts it at 113 languages for a population of 225,000), Bislama usefully serves as a lingua franca for communication between ni-Vanuatu, as well as with and even between foreigners. Although it has been a spoken-only language for most of its history, the first dictionary of Bislama was published in 1995. This, along with its second edition in 2004 has helped to create a uniform spelling of written Bislama.

Besides Bislama, most ni-Vanuatu also know their local language, the local language of their father and that of their mother, and their spouse – and formal schools are taught in English or in French.


New Hebrides

New Hebrides, officially the New Hebrides Condominium (undefined, "Condominium of the New Hebrides") and named for the Hebrides Scottish archipelago, was the colonial name for the island group in the South Pacific Ocean that is now Vanuatu. Native people had inhabited the islands for three thousand years before the first Europeans arrived in 1606 from a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Pedro Fernandes de Queirós. The islands were colonised by both the British and French in the 18th century, shortly after Captain James Cook visited.

The two countries eventually signed an agreement making the islands an Anglo-French condominium that divided the New Hebrides into two separate communities: one Anglophone and one Francophone. This divide continues even after independence, with schools teaching in either one language or the other, and with different political parties. The condominium lasted from 1906 until 1980, when the New Hebrides gained their independence as the Republic of Vanuatu.


Bislama language (English)  Lingua bislama (Italiano)  Bislama (Nederlands)  Bichelamar (Français)  Bislama (Deutsch)  Língua bislamá (Português)  Бислама (Русский)  Bislama (Español)  Język bislama (Polski)  比斯拉马语 (中文)  Bislama (Svenska)  ビスラマ語 (日本語)  Біслама (Українська)  Бислама (Български)  비슬라마 (한국어)  Bislama (Suomi)  Bahasa Bislama (Bahasa Indonesia)  Bislama (Lietuvių)  Bislamština (Česky)  Бислама (Српски / Srpski)  Bislama keel (Eesti)  Bislama (Slovenčina)  Biszlama nyelv (Magyar)  Bislama jezik (Hrvatski)  ภาษาบิสลามา (ไทย)  Bislama (Latviešu)  Μπισλάμα (Ελληνικά)  Bislama (Tiếng Việt)