Bislama

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A language of Vanuatu

Alternate Names
Bichelamar
Population

10,000 in Vanuatu (2011), increasing. Ethnic population: 95% Melanesian.

Location

Widespread.

Language Status

1 (National). Statutory national language (1980, Constitution, Art 3(1)). Most in the country understand and use it as lingua franca and as a symbol of national identity.

Dialects

None known. Partially intelligible with Pijin [pis] (Solomon Islands) and Tok Pisin [tpi] (Papua New Guinea), but, unlike them, Bislama has some French loanwords.

Typology

SVO; prepositions; dual number; tense; 17 consonant and 5 vowel phonemes; non-tonal.

Language Use

All ages, except elderly or youngest rural speakers. Positive attitudes. Also use English [eng], French [fra].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: 35%. Literacy rate in L2: Low. Proposed vernacular education (2011). Since 2012, Bislama is classified along with the vernaculars as a first language for use as a language of instruction in grades 1–3, and for use as a supplementary language as required in other grades. Used informally in classrooms in secondary schools. Poetry. Magazines. Newspapers. New media. Radio programs. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Bible: 1998.
Writing

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Christian.

Also spoken in:

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