Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A lingua franca based on Malay and English, spoken in the southwest Pacific, especially in the Papua New Guinea area. Also called Beach-la-Mar, Bêche-de-Mer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A creole spoken on the South Pacific island-nation of Vanuatu, derived from Indo-European and Malay languages.

Etymologies

Pidgin or native variant of Bêche-de-Mer.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
A loanword from the Bislama language, from French bêche de mersea cucumber”. In the mid-nineteenth century, sea cucumbers were harvested and dried at the same time that sandalwood was gathered. The name came to be associated with the kind of pidgin speech that was used by the local laborers between themselves, as well as their English-speaking overseers. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I did write a 15 minute screenplay entirely in Bislama - Waet Devel: Taem Drakula I Kam Long Vanuatu (White Ghost: When Dracula Came To Vanuatu), which was a lot of fun to do but, of course, like its title character, will never see the light of day!

    Interview: Lavie Tidhar Talks About 'World SF'

  • I would happily write in Bislama - the South Pacific pidgin spoken in Vanuatu - if I could publish it.

    Interview: Lavie Tidhar Talks About 'World SF'

  • Languages: local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)

    Vanuatu

  • Vanuatulocal languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census)

    Languages

  • Languages: English (official), French (official), pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama)

    The 1999 CIA Factbook

  • Languages: three official languages: English, French, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama), plus more than 100 local languages

    The 2004 CIA World Factbook

  • Although local pidgin, called Bislama, is the national language, English and French also are official languages.

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  • English (official), French (official), pidgin (known as Bislama or

    The 1994 CIA World Factbook

  • Languages: local languages (more than 100) 72. 6\%, pidgin (known as Bislama or

    The 2007 CIA World Factbook

  • Go read up on Tok Pisin, or Bislama for more on that.

    World Affairs Article: Let Languages Die

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