Bislama is an English-based creole language related to the Solomon
Islands Pijin and the Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin. It is a national
language in the Republic of Vanuatu (Ripablik blong Vanuatu)
and one of the three official languages of this country, along with
English and French. The vast majority of Bislama words come from
English; the rest come from French or the indigenous languages
Bislama serves as the lingua franca in Vanuatu, where
over 100 other languages are spoken. It enables islanders to communicate
amongst themselves, and also to communicate with English-speakers
foreigners. There are about 6,200 native speakers of Bislama, and
200,000 people who speak it as a second language.
The name of Bislama
comes from Beach-la-Mar, which is an anglicized version of the French
bêche de mer (sea cucumber), which itself is a gallicized version
of the Portuguese bicho do mar. During the 19th century and
the pidgin language that developed between local labourers to communicate
amongst themselves and with their overseers was named after the sea
cucumbers being gathered.
The first Bislama dictionary was published in 1995 and this helped
to standardise the spelling of written Bislama.
Bislama alphabet and pronunciation
Information about Bislama pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel
Sample text in Bislama
Evri man mo woman i bon fri mo ikwol long respek mo ol raet. Oli gat risen
mo tingting mo oli mas tritim wanwan long olgeta olsem ol brata mo sista.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)