Bislama (English: /ˈbɪsləmɑː/;[3] Bislama: [bislaˈma]; also known under its earlier name in French bichelamar[4] [biʃlamaʁ]) 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.[5] 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.[6]

Native speakers
10,000 (2011)[1]
200,000 L2 speakers
English Creole
  • Pacific
    • Bislama
Latin, Avoiuli (local)
Official status
Official language in
Language codes
ISO 639-1bi
ISO 639-2bis
ISO 639-3bis
Idioma bislama


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.[7] With several languages being spoken in these plantations, a pidgin was formed, combining English vocabulary[8] with grammatical structures typical of languages in the region.[9] 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),[10] 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.[11] 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.


The name of Bislama (also referred to, especially in French, as "Bichelamar") comes via the early 19th century word "Beach-la-Mar" from pseudo-French "biche de mer" or "bêche de mer", sea cucumber, which itself comes from an alteration of the Portuguese "bicho do mar".[12] In the early 1840s, sea cucumbers were also harvested and dried at the same time that sandalwood was gathered. The names biche-la-mar and 'Sandalwood English' came to be associated with the kind of pidgin that came to be used by the local laborers between themselves, as well as their English-speaking overseers.[13]

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in an account of his travels through the Pacific in 1888 and 1889, "the natives themselves have often scraped up a little English ... or an efficient pidgin, what is called to the westward 'Beach-la-Mar'."[14] In Jack London's story "Yah! Yah! Yah!", one of his "South Sea Tales", there is repeated a reference to "a bastard lingo called bech-de-mer", and much of the story's dialogue is conducted in it.

Today, the word "bislama" itself is seldom used by younger speakers of Bislama to refer to sea slugs, as a new re-borrowing from pseudo-French "bêche de mer", which has taken the form "besdemea", has become more popular.[15]


Notice in Avoiuli script at a custom school, Pentcost Island, 2014
A sign in Bislama written in boustrophedon Avoiuli script, from the island of Pentekost. The top-left reads, sab senta blong melenisian institiut blong tijim saen. filosofi. hiumaniti mo teknoloji. lisa vilij lolovini (Sap Centre of the Melanesian Institute for teaching signs, philosophy, humanity and technology, Lisaa village, Central Pentecost).

The Bislama Latin alphabet uses the letters A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, NG, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y and the digraphs AE and AO.

An older Latin orthography, used before 1995, had É (now written E), AI and AU (now AE and AO). For those vowels in hiatus, and were used (now written AI and AU). Labialized consonants, now written MW and PW, were then spelled with a macron, following the conventions used for some vernacular Vanuatu languages: was used for /mʷ/ and for /pʷ/.[16][17][18]

On the island of Pentecost, the avoiuli script is sometimes used for Bislama. The shapes of the letters derive from sand-drawing. It has distinct letters for NG and NGG, but otherwise corresponds closely to the Latin alphabet above, though capitals are seldom used, punctuation differs, there are digits for higher numbers and logograms for commonly traded commodities such as pig tusks.


Two frequent words in Bislama are "long" and "blong", which take the place of many prepositions in English or French.


  • Long as 'next to', 'by', 'beside' etc.
    Stoa long haos
    The store next to the house.
  • long as 'at' or 'to'
    Mi bin stap long ples ia bifo
    I have been to this place before.
    Mi stap long stoa
    I am at the store.
  • long as 'in'
    Jea long haos
    The chair in the house.

Long holds many other related meanings, and is sometimes used in improvisation.


Originally from the English word "belong", blong takes the place of 'of' or the genitive case in other languages. Just like of in English, it is one of the most widely used and versatile words in the language, and can indicate possession, country of origin, defining characteristics, intention, and others.

Buk blong mi
The book that belongs to me, my book
Man blong Amerika
Man from America, American.
Hemi woman blong saiens
She is a woman of science, She is a scientist.
Man blong dring
Man of drinking i.e. a drinker


Verbs in Bislama usually consist of a stem word (borrowed from English, French or indigenous languages); most transitive verbs add to this a transitive suffix.

The form of that suffix is /-em/, /-im/, or /-um/, depending on vowel harmony. If the last vowel of the verb's stem is either -u- or -i-, then that vowel will normally be copied into the transitive suffix – however, there are rare exceptions. For all other stem vowels, the transitive suffix has its default form /-em/:[19]

Morphology of transitive verb endings
English Bislama
etymon stem verb
dig dig- digim
clean klin- klinim
kiss kis- kisim
put put- putum
pull pul- pulum
cook kuk- kukum
want wand- wandem
hear har- harem 'hear, feel'
tell tal- talem 'tell, say'
sell sal- salem
shut sat- sarem
catch kas- kasem 'get, reach'
carry kar- karem 'carry, bring'
ready rere 'ready' rerem 'prepare'
take tek- tekem
find faen- faenem
call kol- kolem
hold hol- holem
follow fol- folem
show so- soem
look out lukaot- lukaotem 'search'
pay pe- pem 'buy'

Note that exceptions exist, such as lukim ("look").

Examples of transitive verbs which exceptionally don't take this suffix include: kakae 'eat, bite'; trink 'drink'; save 'know'; se 'say'.

Verbs do not conjugate. The tense, aspect and mood of a sentence are indicated with markers such as stap, bin and bae that are placed in the sentence.

Mi stap kakae taro
I'm eating taro
Mi bin kakae taro
I have eaten taro
Bae mi kakae taro
I will eat taro


The plural is formed by putting ol before the word. For example, bia 'beer'; ol bia = "beers". Ol comes from the English "all". When used with numbers, the singular form is used. 2 bia, 3 bia, etc.


The personal pronouns of Bislama feature four grammatical numbers (singular, dual, trial and plural). They also encode the clusivity distinction: 1st person non-singular pronouns (equivalent of English we) are described as inclusive if they include the addressee (i.e. {you + I}, {you + I + others}), but exclusive otherwise (i.e. {I + other people}). Bislama pronouns do not decline.

The personal pronouns of Bislama
singular dual trial plural
first person
first person
second person
third person

The third person singular hem, also written em lacks gender distinction, so it can mean either he, she or it. The predicate marker i – a particle which is placed before the verbal phrase of a sentence – is sometimes merged with the third person pronoun, giving the words hemi and emi, respectively, in singular, and oli in plural.[20]

Tense/aspect/mood markers

  • stap + V : (progressive) ongoing or habitual action
    hem i stap kukum kumala
hemi stap kukum kumala
he/she is cooking sweet potatoes
  • bin + V : past tense (with implication that the state is no longer true)
    hem i bin sik long fiva
    she was sick with fever [but is no longer sick]
  • V + finis : (perfective) "already" (when placed at the end of a phrase; elsewhere it means "finish")
    hem i kakae finis
    she has already eaten
  • bae + V (occasionally bambae): (irrealis) future or hypothetical actions (though, like in English, generally not used in conditional sentences)
    bae mi go long Santo
    I will go to Santo
    sipos plen i no bin fulap, bae mi go long Santo
    If the plane hadn't been full, I would have gone to Santo
  • no + V : negative, "not"
    hem i no wantem yam
    he doesn't want yam
  • nomo + V: "no longer" (when placed after the predicate; elsewhere it means "only")
    hem i nomo kakae yam
    he no longer eats yam
    hem i kakae yam nomo
    he only eats yam
  • neva + V : never
    hem i neva kakae yam
    he's never eaten yam
  • jes + V : (<"just") an action that has recently occurred
    mifala i jes wekap
    we just woke up
  • In a future context, jes entails a delay, rendered in English as "eventually":
    bae mi pem
    I will buy it / Let me buy it
    bae mi jes pem, be noyet
    I will buy it (eventually), but not yet
  • V + gogo : continued action
    hem i kukum kumala gogo
    he keeps on cooking sweet potatoes
  • mas + V : "must", be obliged to
    hem i mas kakae
    he must eat
  • traem + V : "try to"; also sometimes used for politeness in requests
    hem i stap traem katem
    he's trying to cut it
    traem soem long mi
    could you show it me? (request)
  • wantem + V : "want to"
    hem i wantem go long Santo
    she wants to go to Santo
  • save + V : be able to, or be in the habit of doing
    mi save rid
    I can read
    mi no save dring suga
    I don't take sugar in drinks
    fish ia i save kilim man
    this fish can kill a person

Some of these markers also have lexical meanings. For example, save can mean "be able to" but it is also a verb "know".


  • sapos + Clause : if
sapos yumitu faenem pig, bae yumitu kilim i ded
if we find a pig, we'll kill it

Internal variation

Dialects exist, based mainly on different pronunciations in different areas which stem from the different sounds of the native languages. The future tense marker can be heard to be said as: Bambae, Mbae, Nambae, or Bae. There are also preferences for using Bislama or native words that vary from place to place, and most people insert English, French, or local language words to fill out Bislama. So in the capital city it is common to hear 'computer'; in other places you might hear 'ordinateur'.

Pacific creole comparison

English Bislama Pijin Tok Pisin Torres Strait Creole
and mo an na ane / ne / an / a
the __ ia / ya __ ia dispela __ dha / dhemtu / dhem
this __ ia / ya __ ia dispela __ dhis __ (ia) / dhemtu __ ia / dhem __ ia
he / she / it / him / her hem hem em / en em
for from fo long po
(adjective marker) -fala -fala -pela -Ø when attributive (em i big man 'he's a big man')
-wan when predicative (man i bigwan 'the man's big')
woman woman woman / mere meri uman / oman (dialect difference)

Literature and samples

The longest written work in Bislama is the Bible completed in 1998.[21]

Luke 2:6–7:

"Tufala i stap yet long Betlehem, nao i kam kasem stret taem blong Meri i bonem pikinini. Nao hem i bonem fasbon pikinin blong hem we hem i boe. Hem i kavremap gud long kaliko, nao i putum hem i slip long wan bokis we oltaim ol man ol i stap putum gras long hem, blong ol anamol ol i kakae. Tufala i mekem olsem, from we long hotel, i no gat ples blong tufala i stap."


While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Yumi, Yumi, Yumi

Bislama words

Yumi, Yumi, yumi i glad long talem se
Yumi, yumi, yumi ol man blong Vanuatu

God i givim ples ya long yumi,
Yumi glat tumas long hem,
Yumi strong mo yumi fri long hem,
Yumi brata evriwan!


Plante fasin blong bifo i stap,
Plante fasin blong tedei,
Be yumi i olsem wan nomo,
Hemia fasin blong yumi!


Yumi save plante wok i stap,
Long ol aelan blong yumi,
God i helpem yumi evriwan,
Hem i papa blong yumi,


English translation

We (, We, We) are happy to proclaim
We (, We, We) are the People of Vanuatu!

God has given us this land;
This gives us great cause for rejoicing.
We are strong, we are free in this land;
We are all brothers.


We have many traditions
And we are finding new ways.
But we are all one
We shall be united for ever.


We know there is much work to be done
On all our islands.
God helps all of us,
He is our father,


Further reading

  • Camden, William. 1979. Parallels in structure and lexicon and syntax between New Hebrides Bislama and the South Santo language spoken at Tangoa. In Papers in Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, No.2. Pacific Linguistics, A-57. Canberra: Australian National University. pp. 51–117.
  • Charpentier, Jean-Michel. 1979. Le pidgin bislama(n) et le multilinguisme aux Nouvelles-Hébrides. Langues et Civilisations à Tradition Orale 35. Paris: SELAF.
  • Crowley, Terry (1990). Beach-la-Mar to Bislama: The Emergence of a National Language in Vanuatu. Oxford Studies in Language Contact. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 422..
  • Crowley, Terry (1995). An illustrated Bislama-English and English-Bislama dictionary. Oxford Studies in Language Contact. Port Vila: Pacific Languages Unit and Vanuatu Extension Centre, University of the South Pacific. p. 478..
  • Crowley, Terry (2000), "The language situation in Vanuatu", Current Issues in Language Planning, 1 (1): 47–132
  • Crowley, Terry. 2004. Bislama Reference Grammar. Oceanic Linguistics Special Publication No. 31. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
  • François, Alexandre (2012), "The dynamics of linguistic diversity: Egalitarian multilingualism and power imbalance among northern Vanuatu languages", International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 214: 85–110, doi:10.1515/ijsl-2012-0022.
  • Darrell T. Tryon and Jean-Michel Charpentier. 2004. Pacific Pidgins and Creoles: Origins, Growth and Development. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 2004. xix + 559 pp. Hardcover ISBN 3-11-016998-3.


  1. ^ Bislama at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Bislama". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ Bislama, Ethnologue. Accessed Jan. 2, 2014.
  5. ^ See Charpentier (1979).
  6. ^ See Camden (1979).
  7. ^ Emma Christopher, Cassandra Pybus and Marcus Buford Rediker (2007). Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, University of California Press, pp 188–190. ISBN 0-520-25206-3.
  8. ^ In addition, whaling captains who picked up workforce from Africa and the Pacific Islands had already developed some sort of pidginized English. Modern Bislama bears a striking resemblance to Pidgin Englishes of West Africa (where the slave trade was also active at one time); it is possible that Bislama is one branch of an evolution of pidgins from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when the first truly global trading system began. See Monogenetic theory of pidgins.
  9. ^ For this whole section, see: Tryon & Charpentier (2004), and Crowley (1990).
  10. ^ See Crowley (2000:50); François (2012:86).
  11. ^ See Crowley (1995).
  12. ^ "bêche-de-mer", American Heritage Dictionary, 2000
  13. ^ See Crowley (1990).
  14. ^ Stevenson, Robert Louis (2004). In the South Seas (1st ed.). Fairfield, IA: 1st World Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 1-59540-504-6.
  15. ^ Crowley, Terry (1990). "1". Beach-la-Mar to Bislama: The Emergence of a National Language in Vanuatu. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 33.
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ [3]
  19. ^, p. 71
  20. ^, p. 11-13, 49 and 57
  21. ^ Bislama | Ethnologue:Language Development

External links


Avoiuli (from Raga avoi "talk about" and uli "draw" or "paint") is a writing system used by the Turaga indigenous movement on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It was devised by Chief Viraleo Boborenvanua over a 14-year period, based on designs found in traditional sand drawings, and intended as a native alternative to the Latin alphabet. It is used mainly for writing in the area's native Raga language, although it can also be used for other languages including Apma, Bislama and English.

Coat of arms of Vanuatu

The Coat of arms of Vanuatu features a Melanesian warrior holding the spear standing before the mountain superimposed on the boar's tusk encircling two crossed namele fern fronds and the golden scroll on the bottom with the National Motto that reads: LONG GOD YUMI STANAP (In Bislama for, "IN GOD WE STAND"). The Bislama "long" is a preposition derived from the word "along" and has several flexible meanings, "in, on, at," and "with." When used referring to another with personhood, it is generally understood to mean "with (said person.)" The original version was designed by Australian artist Rick Frazer in 1980.

Cuisine of Vanuatu

The cuisine of Vanuatu (known in Bislama as aelan kakae) incorporates fish, root vegetables such as taro and yams, fruits, and vegetables. Most island families grow food in their gardens, and food shortages are rare. Papayas, pineapples, mangoes, plantains, and sweet potatoes are abundant through much of the year. Coconut milk and cream are used to flavor many dishes. Most food is cooked using hot stones or through boiling and steaming; little food is fried. Since Vanuatu is one of the few South Pacific regions influenced by the outside world, Vanuatu's food has a multicultural nature.

Darrell Tryon

Darrell T. Tryon (20 July 1942 – 15 May 2013) was a New Zealand-born linguist, academic, and specialist in Austronesian languages. Specifically, Tryon specialised in the study of the languages of the Pacific Islands, particularly Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and the French-speaking Pacific.From 1970 to 1971, Tryon completed the first systematic study of the languages of Vanuatu, known at the time as the New Hebrides. His study, which collected a list of vocabulary words from communities throughout the islands, determined that there were more than one hundred distinct languages in Vanuatu. Tryon determined that the modern, indigenous languages of Vanuatu are part of Austronesian language family.Tryon began to study the languages of the Solomon Islands beginning in 1978. He was also authored works on the pidgin and creole languages of the Pacific Islands, including Pijin of the Solomon Islands and Bislama of Vanuatu.

Economy of Vanuatu

Vanuatu's economy is primarily agricultural; 80% of the population is engaged in agricultural activities that range from subsistence farming to smallholder farming of coconuts and other cash crops.Copra is by far the most important cash crop (making up more than 35% of Vanuatu's exports), followed by timber, beef, and cocoa. Kava root extract exports also have become important.

Languages of Oceania

Native languages of Oceania fall into three major geographic groups:

The large Austronesian language family, with such languages as Malay (Indonesian), Tagalog (Filipino), and Polynesian languages such as Maori and Hawaiian

The Aboriginal Australian languages, including the large Pama–Nyungan family

The Papuan languages of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, including the large Trans–New Guinea familyContact between Austronesian and Papuan resulted in several instances in mixed languages such as Maisin.

Colonial languages include English in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and many other territories; French in New Caledonia and French Polynesia, Japanese in the Bonin Islands, Spanish on Easter Island.

There are also Creoles formed from the interaction of Malay or the colonial languages with indigenous languages, such as Tok Pisin, Bislama, Pijin, various Malay trade and creole languages, Hawaiian Pidgin, Norfuk, and Pitkern.

Finally, immigrants brought their own languages, such as Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek and others in Australia, or Fiji Hindi in Fiji.

Languages of Vanuatu

Vanuatu has three official languages, English, French, and Bislama, a creole language derived from English. Bislama is the first language of many urban ni-Vanuatu, that is, the residents of Port Vila and Luganville. It is the most common second language elsewhere in the Vanuatu islands. It is similar to Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea, and other nearby creoles.

In addition, there are over one hundred local languages spread over the archipelago. Vanuatu is the country with the highest density of languages per capita in the world: it currently shows an average of about 1760 speakers for each indigenous language, and went through a historical low of 565; only Papua New Guinea comes close. Some of these languages are very endangered, with only a handful of speakers, and indeed several have become extinct in recent times. Generally however, despite the low numbers for most of the indigenous languages, they are not considered especially vulnerable for extinction.In recent years, the use of Bislama as a first language has considerably encroached on indigenous languages, whose use in the population has receded from 73.1 to 63.2 percent between 1999 and 2009.Out of the three official languages, Bislama is the most spoken in Vanuatu, followed by English, and lastly French.

List of English-based pidgins

Pidgin English is a non-specific name used to refer to any of the many pidgin languages derived from English. Pidgins that are spoken as first languages become creoles.

English-based pidgins that became stable contact languages, and which have some documentation, include the following:

Aboriginal Pidgin English

American Indian Pidgin English

Cameroonian Pidgin English

Chinese Pidgin English

Butler English (India)

Hawaiian Pidgin English

Japanese Bamboo English

Japanese Pidgin English

Korean Bamboo English

Kru Pidgin English

Liberian Interior Pidgin English

Micronesian Pidgin English

Nauru Pidgin English

Nigerian Pidgin

Papua New Guinea Pidgin

Papuan Pidgin English (distinct from Tok Pisin)

Port Jackson Pidgin English (ancestral to Australian Kriol)

Queensland Kanaka English

Samoan Plantation Pidgin

Solomon Islands Pijin


Thai Pidgin English

Tok Pisin

West African Pidgin English (multiple varieties)

Vanuatu Bislama

Macron (diacritic)

A macron () is a diacritical mark: it is a straight bar (¯) placed above a letter, usually a vowel. Its name derives from Greek, Modern μακρόν (makrón), meaning 'long', since it was originally used to mark long or heavy syllables in Greco-Roman metrics. It now more often marks a long vowel. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the macron is used to indicate a mid-tone; the sign for a long vowel is instead a modified triangular colon ⟨ː⟩.

The opposite is the breve ⟨˘⟩, which marks a short or light syllable or a short vowel.

Media of Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu is an officially trilingual state in the western Pacific, the three national languages being English, French and Bislama. There is a diversity of newspapers, but only one, state-owned television channel. Private radio stations are a recent development; there were reportedly none in 2007.

Nese language

Nese is a moribund Oceanic language or dialect known by no more than twenty people in the Matanvat area of the northwest tip of the island of Malakula in Vanuatu. It is now rarely spoken, having been replaced as a primary mode of communication by Bislama.

Nese is one of the few languages to have linguolabial consonants.


Ni-Vanuatu is a demonym used to refer to all Melanesian ethnicities originating in Vanuatu. It also refers, more generally, to nationals and citizens of Vanuatu, whatever their ethnicity. It is more frequently used than the demonym Vanuatuan, which is regarded as incorrect by some authors and style guides.This recent coinage builds on the particle ni, which in some indigenous languages encodes the genitive, similar to the English 'of'. Thus Ni-Vanuatu literally means 'of Vanuatu'.

The term is mostly used in English and French, and is hardly used in Bislama, the country’s lingua franca, let alone in the indigenous languages of the archipelago.

Ni-Van is sometimes used as an abbreviation of Ni-Vanuatu. This term was pejorative in its original usage in the 1980s by Anglophone European expatriates, similar to its French equivalent les nis, but according to New Zealand linguist Terry Crowley by the 2000s the term Ni-Van saw increasing usage among Ni-Vanuatu.

Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island is one of the 83 islands that make up the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

It lies 190 kilometres (120 mi) due north of capital Port Vila. Pentecost Island is known as Pentecôte in French and Pentikos in Bislama. The island was known in its native languages by names such as Vanu Aroaroa, although these names are not in common use today. Pentecost has also been referred to as Raga or Araga, a tribal name that originated in the north but is now widely applied to the whole island. In old sources it is occasionally referred to as Whitsuntide Island.

Tanna (island)

Tanna (also spelled Tana) is an island in Tafea Province of Vanuatu.

Terry Crowley (linguist)

Terence Michael Crowley (1 April 1953 – 15 January 2005) was a linguist specializing in Oceanic languages as well as Bislama, the English-lexified Creole recognized as a national language in Vanuatu. From 1991 he taught in New Zealand. Previously, he was with the Pacific Languages Unit of the University of the South Pacific in Vanuatu (1983–90) and with the Department of Language and Literature at the University of Papua New Guinea (1979–83).


Vanuatu (English: (listen) VAH-noo-AH-too or van-WAH-too; Bislama pronunciation [vanuatu]), officially the Republic of Vanuatu (French: République de Vanuatu, Bislama: Ripablik blong Vanuatu), is a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is 1,750 kilometres (1,090 mi) east of northern Australia, 540 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of New Caledonia, east of New Guinea, southeast of the Solomon Islands, and west of Fiji.

Vanuatu was first inhabited by Melanesian people. The first Europeans to visit the islands were a Spanish expedition led by Portuguese navigator Fernandes de Queirós, who arrived on the largest island in 1606. Since the Portuguese and Spanish monarchies had been unified under the king of Spain in 1580 (following the vacancy of the Portuguese throne, which lasted for sixty years, until 1640, when the Portuguese monarchy was restored), Queirós claimed the archipelago for Spain, as part of the colonial Spanish East Indies, and named it La Austrialia del Espíritu Santo.

In the 1880s, France and the United Kingdom claimed parts of the archipelago, and in 1906, they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago as the New Hebrides through an Anglo–French condominium. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980. Since independence, the country is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Organisation internationale de la Francophonie and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Vanuatu Labour Party

The Vanuatu Labour Party (Bislama: Leba Pati) is a political party in Vanuatu. The party was established on June 3, 1987. It was founded on the initiative of various trade union organizations in order to contest the 1987 parliamentary election. The proposal to found the party was first presented by Ephraim Kalsakau, a leader of the Vanuatu Municipal Workers Union.In the 1987 polls, it presented four candidates; George Kalsakau in Port Vila, Willy Romain in

Tanna, Thomas Reynold in Luganville and Kenneth Satungia of

Efate. All four candidates were trade union leaders. Ephraim Kalsakau later claimed that the electoral participation was mainly intended as an awareness-raising effort, and that the party hadn't expected to win any of the seats.The party did not present candidates in the 1991 parliamentary election.The party gained parliamentary representation in 2005 as Joshua Kalsakau, then the Minister for Ni-Vanuatu Business and a MP from Efate representing the National Community Association Party, joined the party.Joshua Kalsakau is the president of the party whilst Lui Kaltonga is its general secretary.The party is connected to the Vanuatu Council of Trade Unions and the Vanuatu National Workers Union. The main stronghold of the party in the capital Port Vila.Joshua Kalsakau was reelected from his seat in the 2008 parliamentary election. In Luganville, the party had launched Pierre Malamlaen as its candidate. Malamlaen was however not elected. After the elections, Joshua Kalsakau was named as the new Minister of Justice in the cabinet of Edward Natapei. In the 2012 general election, Kalsakau narrowly lost his seat, by a margin of just twelve votes (out of more than 15,000), leaving Labour without representation in Parliament.

Vanuatu branch of The Scout Association

The Scout Association Vanuatu Branch (Bislama: Skots Blong Vanuatu) is a branch of The Scout Association of the United Kingdom operating in the Republic of Vanuatu since 1999. The Scout Association Vanuatu Branch is an incorporated non-government organisation. As a branch of The Scout Association, the Vanuatu Branch is recognised by but not an independent member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Currently there are four active Scout groups in Vanuatu, one in Santo and three in Port Vila, with over 200 youth participants.

Yumi, Yumi, Yumi

"Yumi, Yumi, Yumi" (Bislama: "We, We, We") is the national anthem of Vanuatu. It was written and composed by François Vincent Ayssav who was born in 1955 and adopted in by the citizens of Vanuatu in 1980.

Official languages
Mid-Pacific English-based pidgins and creoles

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