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Encyclopedia > Bislama
Bislama
Spoken in: Vanuatu and New Caledonia
Total speakers: 6,200 (first language), 128,000 (additional language)
Genetic classification: creole language of various Vanuatuan languages with English and French
Language codes
ISO 639-1: bi
ISO 639-2: bis
ISO/DIS 639-3: bis 

Bislama is a Melanesian 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 the rest of the country's residents. Current distribution of Human Language Families Most languages are known to belong to language families. ... // A Creole is a language descended from a pidgin that has become the native language of a group of people. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... ISO 639 is one of several international standards that lists short codes for language names. ... ISO 639 is one of several international standards that lists short codes for language names. ... ISO 639-3 is in process of development as an international standard for language codes. ... The International Phonetic Alphabet. ... Phonetic (pho-NET-ic) is a nationwide voicemail-to-text messaging service available for most digital mobile phones in which a subscriber is provided a custom voice mailbox for the purpose of receiving all incoming voice messages as actual transcribed text for reading via short messaging (also known as SMS... Unicode is an industry standard whose goal is to provide the means by which text of all forms and languages can be encoded for use by computers. ... Melanesia (from Greek black islands) is a region extending from the western side of East Pacific to the Arafura Sea, north and north-east of Australia. ... // A Creole is a language descended from a pidgin that has become the native language of a group of people. ... This article is about the Vanuatu capital; Vila is the site of a World War II airstrip in the Solomon Islands. ... Luganville is the second largest city in the Republic of Vanuatu and is located in the province of Espiritu Santo. ...


Bislama is a mixture of words from English, French, and various North, Central, and South Vanuatu languages, with a syntax most resembling a Vanuatu language. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The family of North and Central Vanuatu languages is a subgroup of the Remote Oceanic languages. ... The family of South Vanuatu languages is a subgroup of the Central-Eastern Oceanic languages. ...


Bislama is closely related to Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea, Pijin of the Solomon Islands, and Torres Strait Creole north of Australia. Tok Pisin (tok means word or speech, pisin means pidgin) is the creole spoken in Papua New Guinea (PNG). ... Pijin is a language spoken in the Solomon Islands. ... Torres Strait Creole (also Torres Strait Pidgin, Torres Strait Broken, Cape York Creole, Lockhart Creole) is a creole language spoken on several Torres Strait Islands (Queensland, Australia). ...


"Yumi, Yumi, Yumi", the Vanuatu national anthem, is in Bislama. Yumi, Yumi, Yumi (We, We, We) is the national anthem of Vanuatu. ...

Contents


History

Thousands of Ni-Vanuatu were recruited to work mainly on Queensland, Australia, as well as Fiji plantations in the 1870s and 1880s. With several languages being spoken in these plantations, a pidgin was formed. Motto: Audax at Fidelis (Bold but Faithful) Other Australian states and territories Capital Brisbane Governor HE Ms Quentin Bryce Premier Peter Beattie (ALP) Area 1,852,642 km² (2st)  - Land 1,730,648 km²  - Water 121,994 km² (6. ... // Forestry plantations A plantation of Douglas-fir in Washington, USA; note the trees of uniform size and planted in straight lines, and the lack of diversity in the ground flora In forestry, plantations of trees are typically grown as an even-aged monoculture for timber production, as opposed to a... Events and Trends Technology The invention of the telephone (1876) by Alexander Graham Bell. ... // Events and Trends Technology Development and commercial production of electric lighting Development and commercial production of gasoline-powered automobile by Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Maybach First commercial production and sales of phonographs and phonograph recordings. ...


Similarly, whaling captains who picked up help from Africa, and the Pacific Islands often were forced to 'invent' a sort of pidgin English and Bislama bears a striking resemblance to Pidgin Englishes of West Africa (where the slave trade was also active at one time) and it is possible that Bislama is one branch of an evolution of pidgins from the 1700 and 1800s when the first truly global trading system began.


Over the past century or so, Bislama has evolved to what is currently spoken and even written. Only recently has the first dictionary of Bislama been published, and this has helped to create a uniform spelling on Bislama. Because Vanuatu is one of the most language-dense countries in the world (one count puts it at 113 languages for a land area the size of Connecticut state), the pidgin language is useful for communication between ni-Van as well as with foreigners. Most ni-Van also know their local language, the local language of their papa and that of their mama, and their spouse, and formal schools are taught in English or in French.


Related languages are Pijin of the Solomon Islands, Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea, and the Torres Strait Creole. Pijin is a language spoken in the Solomon Islands. ... Tok Pisin (tok means word or speech, pisin means pidgin) is the creole spoken in Papua New Guinea (PNG). ... Torres Strait Creole (also Torres Strait Pidgin, Torres Strait Broken, Cape York Creole, Lockhart Creole) is a creole language spoken on several Torres Strait Islands (Queensland, Australia). ...


Name

The name of Bislama (previously also spelled "Bichelama") comes via the 19th century word "Beach-la-Mar" from the French "bêche de mer" sea cucumber, which itself comes from an alteration of the Portuguese "bicho do mar".[1] In the mid-1800s, sea cucumbers were also harvested and dried at the same time that sandalwood was gathered. The name 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. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Orders Subclass Apodacea  Apodida  Molpadiida Subclass Aspidochirotacea  Aspidochirotida  Elasipodida Subclass Dendrochirotacea  Dactylochirotida  Dendrochirotida The sea cucumber is an echinoderm of the class Holothuroidea, with an elongated body and leathery skin. ... The branches of a young sandalwood tree found in Hawaii Sandalwood is the wood of trees of the genus Santalum. ...


Grammar

Probably the two most important words in Bislama are "long" and "blong" which take the place of many prepositions in English or French.


Long

Long as 'next to' 'by' 'beside' etc...
Stoa long haos: The store next to the house. 'Nia' or near is also used.


long as 'at' or 'to'
Mi bin long ples ia wan taem bifo: I have been to this place once before.
Mi stap long stoa: I am at the store.


long as 'in'
Jia long haos: The chair in the house.


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


Blong

Widely believed to be a form of "Belong" takes the place of 'of' or the genitive case in other languages. It is widely used and can indicate possession, country of origin, defining characteristics, etc...
Buk blong mia: The book that belongs to me, my book
Man blong Amerika: Man from America, American.
Emi woman blong sciens. She is a woman of science, She is a scientist.
Man blong man: Man of man i.e. homosexual


This is truly one of the most versatile words in the language.


Verbs

Verbs in Bislama do not conjugate. Usually they consist of a stem word borrowed from English, French or Melenasian languages and the ending -em, -im, or -um, depending on vowel harmony. There is a past tense and a future tense marker that usually goes at the beginning of the sentence or next to the verb. For example:


mi wantem bia I want beer.
mi bin wantem bia I wanted beer (bin=past tense marker, borrowed presumably from the English form of to be "been")
Bambae mi wantem bia I will want beer. (Bambae=future tense marker)


Nouns

Most nouns are phonetically simplified versions of English, French, or Melenasian words. The plural is formed by putting "ol" before the word: bia=beer. Ol bia=beers. When used with numbers, the singular form is used. 2 bia, 3 bia, etc...


Pronouns

Bislama features dual, triple, and multiple plural personal pronouns as well as an inclusive and exclusive we. Following are the Bislama plural personal pronouns, in italics the English transliteration where useful to understand/remember, and the grammatical category.


We, us
Yumi: You and me first person, inclusive, multiple
Yumitu: You and me two: first person, inclusive, dual
Yumitri: You and me three first person, inclusive, triple.
Mifala, Me fellows first person, exclusive, multiple
Mitufala Me two fellows first person exclusive, dual
Mitrifala Me three fellows first person exclusive, triple


You (plural)
Yufala, second person, multiple
Yutufala, seond person, dual
Yutrifala, second person, triple


They
Oli (olifala), third person, multiple
Tufala, third person dual
Trifala, third person triple


The singular personal pronouns are; mi (I), yu (you) and Emi (he/she/it).
They do not decline.


Dialects

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 captial city it is common to hear 'computer'. In other places you might hear 'ordinateur'.


Bislama does not have official 'words' for some things necessitating borrowing words or descriptions. Again this depends on region, and to whom you are speaking. One of the most colorful features of Bislama is its long-winded descriptions of concepts or objects not common to Vanutau. The ambiguity of Bislama due to its simplification often requires very long sentences in order to specify. For example, globalization could be described as: wan samting wea ol kantri long world olgeta exchangem sam samting witem ol difren countries, i bekeken ol man oli go long difren ples long wol, oli fri go wok long difren ples, i ol man oli sharem ol difren idia tua bekeken: A thing where all countries in the world trade things with each other, and people can go all over the world and work in different places and people share all sorts of different ideas too.


Melanesian Creole Comparison

English Bislama Pijin Tok Pisin Torres Strait Creole
and mo an na
the / this __ ia / ya __ ia dispela __ dis __
he / she / it / him / her hem hem em / en em
for from fo long po
(adjective marker) -fala -fala -pela
woman woman woman / mere meri oman

Culture

In Vanuatu culture it is rude to talk about certain matters explicitly or to overly use someone's name in conversation lest their be malicious eavesdroppers leading to cryptic phrases only understandable to the participants.


References

  1. ^ "bêche-de-mer", American Heritage Dictionary, 2000

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD) is a dictionary of American English published by Boston publisher Houghton-Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Bislama - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (901 words)
Bislama is a Melanesian creole language, one of the official languages of Vanuatu.
Bislama is a mixture of words from English, French, and various North, Central, and South Vanuatu languages, with a syntax most resembling a Vanuatu language.
Bislama is closely related to Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea, Pijin of the Solomon Islands, and Broken of the Torres Strait in Australia.
Bislama - definition of Bislama in Encyclopedia (210 words)
Bislama, previously also spelled Bichelama and Beach-la-Mar, is a creole language spoken in Vanuatu.
It is closely related to Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea; Pijin of the Solomon Islands; and Broken of the Torres Strait, Queensland, Australia.
The name of Bislama comes from the nineteenth-century word Beach-la-Mar, which itself derives from the French "bêche de mer" sea cucumber.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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