Bislama

Bislama is the national language and lingua franca in Vanuatu. Most of the nation’s c. 260,000 residents can use the language and increasing numbers of people speak it as their home language (either as L1 or co-L1 with a vernacular). This is particularly common in the main towns, but families using Bislama amongst themselves are found in many smaller villages too. It is not formally used as a medium of education but is widely used in public life and government. There are some suggestions that different regional dialects of Bislama are stabilising in the country: the data represented in APiCS (default lect) is largely based on fieldwork recording spontaneous speech among friends in the northern region (Sanma Province) in the mid-1990s, supplemented with printed materials in the newspapers (mainly the now defunct Vanuatu Hebdomadaire Weekly) and some national radio broadcasts in 1998 and isolated examples from print or native speaker intuitions collected between 1998-2010.

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No. Feature Value % Details Source
No. Feature Value % Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % Details Source