Bislama is an English-based creole language related to the Solomon Islands Pijin and the Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin. It is a national language in the Republic of Vanuatu (Ripablik blong Vanuatu) and one of the three official languages of this country, along with English and French. The vast majority of Bislama words come from English; the rest come from French or the indigenous languages of Vanuatu.

Bislama serves as the lingua franca in Vanuatu, where over 100 other languages are spoken. It enables islanders to communicate amongst themselves, and also to communicate with English-speakers foreigners. There are about 6,200 native speakers of Bislama, and 200,000 people who speak it as a second language.

The name of Bislama comes from Beach-la-Mar, which is an anglicized version of the French bêche de mer (sea cucumber), which itself is a gallicized version of the Portuguese bicho do mar. During the 19th century and the pidgin language that developed between local labourers to communicate amongst themselves and with their overseers was named after the sea cucumbers being gathered.

The first Bislama dictionary was published in 1995 and this helped to standardise the spelling of written Bislama.

Bislama alphabet and pronunciation

Bislama alphabet and pronunciation


Download a Bislama alphabet chart (Excel)

Information about Bislama pronunciation compiled by Wolfram Siegel, with some details from "Evri samting yu wantem save long Bislama be yu fraet tumas blong askem" by Darrell Tryon

Sample text in Bislama

Evri man mo woman i bon fri mo ikwol long respek mo ol raet. Oli gat risen mo tingting mo oli mas tritim wanwan long olgeta olsem ol brata mo sista.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Samples of spoken Bislama

Information about Bislama | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel


Information about the Bislama languages

Pidginise your English! - How to speak Bislama (Vanuatu Pidgin English)

Bislama lessons

Bislama dictionary

Bislama phrases

Tam Tam - news in Bislama

Creole languages

Betawi, Bislama, Cape Verdean Creole, Chavacano, Chinook Jargon, Dominican Creole French, Fanagalo, French Guianese Creole, Guadeloupean Creole, Guinea-Bissau Creole, Haitian Creole, Jamaican, Kituba, Manado Malay, Mauritian Creole, Nagamese, Ndyuka, Norfuk, Nubi, Palenquero, Papiamento, Pijin, Réunion Creole, Sango, Saramaccan, Seychelles Creole, Sierra Leonean Creole, Singlish, Sranan, Saint Lucian Creole, Tok Pisin, Torres-Strait Creole

Languages written with the Latin alphabet

Page last modified: 24.07.23


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