Meaning of Bislama in English:


Pronunciation /ˈbɪʃləˌmɑː/


mass noun
  • An English-based pidgin language used as the national language of Vanuatu, where it shares official status with English and French.

    ‘Even in cases where a Creole has status as a national or official language, as Bislama, for instance, does in Vanuatu, or Haitian Creole French does in Haiti, this does not guarantee the use of Creoles in wider society.’
    • ‘Alongside Bislama, English and French are recognized as ‘official languages.’’
    • ‘With hundreds of traditional languages, literacy levels are low, including in the third official language, Bislama, a form of pidgin English.’
    • ‘There are three official languages: English, French, and Bislama.’
    • ‘One of the languages on which he did a great deal of work is Bislama, a pidgin which is the national language of Vanuatu, for which he produced a reference grammar and dictionary.’
    • ‘In neither place is ordinary speech, the national language Bislama, to be heard.’
    • ‘There are three languages for conducting the business of the country, Bislama, English, and French.’
    • ‘Most of the population is also fluent in Bislama, the ‘pidgin’ of Vanuatu, and increasingly some younger, educated people are fluent and/or literate in English or French.’
    • ‘The title of his major book on the history and linguistic development of what began as a pidgin and became a fully-fledged working language says it all - Beach-la-Mar to Bislama: The Emergence of a National Language in Vanuatu.’
    • ‘As well as referring to these ‘spirits’, as they are called in Bislama, the word tavalurau is also an important tropological device that describes the cosmological zone that they inhabit.’
    • ‘As the lyrics of a popular local string band song laments in Bislama; ‘Moni, moni i spoelem yumi’ (Money, money spoils us).’
    • ‘The Bislama translations most frequently given were famli, or laen (line).’
    • ‘There is no word for urgency in the Bislama language, according to my Port Vila friend, John.’
    • ‘And the simple Bislama phrase, ‘Me likem one fella Tuska plese.’’
    • ‘The project has been a great success, creating national connections between Port Vila and the other islands and a new word in the Bislama lexicon: filwoka.’
    • ‘The Webbs were coming any minute to take me to the Bislama church service.’


Alteration of Portuguese bicho do mar ‘sea cucumber’ (traded as a commodity, the word later being applied to the language of trade).