Vanuatu Languages

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Description[edit | edit source]

The national language of the Republic of Vanuatu is Bislama. The official languages are Bislama, English, and French. The principal languages of education are English and French. The use of English or French as the formal language is split along political lines.

Bislama is a creole spoken natively in urban areas. Combining a typical Melanesian grammar and phonology with an almost entirely English-derived vocabulary, Bislama is the lingua franca of the archipelago, used by the majority of the population as a second language.

In addition, 113 indigenous languages, all of which are Southern Oceanic languages except for three outlier Polynesian languages, are spoken in Vanuatu. The density of languages, per capita, is the highest of any nation in the world, with an average of only 2,000 speakers per language. All vernacular languages of Vanuatu (i.e., excluding Bislama) belong to the Oceanic branch of the Austronesian family.

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. [1]

Bislama - More than 95% of Bislama words are of English origin, whilst the remainder comprises a few dozen words from French, as well as some specific vocabulary inherited from various languages of Vanuatu; though these are 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. As such, Bislama can be described simply as a language with an English vocabulary and an Oceanic grammar and phonology. [2]

Word List(s)[edit | edit source]

Alphabet and Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

The Bislama Latin alphabet uses the letters A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y and the digraphs AE, AO and NG. [3]

Bislama - Grammar

Language Aids and Dictionaries[edit | edit source]

Additional Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Vanuatu," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanuatu#Languages, accessed 11 March 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Bislama," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bislama, accessed 11 March 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Orthography," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bislama#Orthography, accessed 11 March 2021.