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Let’s go insight of Bislama language and check out what on earth it is.

What is the history of Bislama?

During the period known as Black birding(in the 1870s and 1880s), hundreds of thousands of Pacific islanders(many of them were from the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) archipelago) were enslaved and forced to work on plantations mainly in Queensland, Australia and Fiji.

With several languages being spoken in these plantations, a pidgin was formed, forming English vocabulary with grammatical structures typical of languages in the region. This early plantation pidgin is not only the origin of Bislama, but also Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea and Pijin of the Solomon Islands, though not of Torres Strait Creole north of Australia.

What kind of Language is Bislama?

Bislama is a creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu. It is the first language for many of the “Urban ni-Vanuatu” (those who live in Port Vila and Luganville), and the second language for the rest of the country’s residents. The Vanuatu national anthem named “Yumi, Yumi, Yumi” is in Bislama.

Bislama is English-lexifier (based) Pidgin in spoken in Vanuatu. It shares a common ancestry with other Pidgins spoken in the South-Western Pacific, most notably, Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea) and Pijin (Solomon Islands). Bislama has the official status of Vanuatu’s National Language. English and French, the languages of the former colonial rule, are recognized as the Nation’s Official Languages.

Who and how many people are speaking Bislama?

There are more than 100 different vernacular languages spoken throughout the archipelago. Given the population of approximately 170,000, this makes Vanuatu (per capita) the most linguistically diverse country in the world.

What is the linguistic characteristic of Bislama?

Many of the Ni-Vanuatu is at least trilingual, speaking their own vernacular. More than 95% of the Bislama words are originated from English; 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. Basically speaking, Bislama can be described as a language with an English vocabulary and an Oceanic grammar. Two frequent words in Bislama are “long” and “blong”, which take the place of many prepositions in English or French….

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