Definition of Bislama in English:



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

    • ‘Alongside Bislama, English and French are recognized as ‘official languages.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are three official languages: English, French, and Bislama.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In neither place is ordinary speech, the national language Bislama, to be heard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With hundreds of traditional languages, literacy levels are low, including in the third official language, Bislama, a form of pidgin English.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the lyrics of a popular local string band song laments in Bislama; ‘Moni, moni i spoelem yumi’ (Money, money spoils us).’
    • ‘There are three languages for conducting the business of the country, Bislama, English, and French.’
    • ‘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.’


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