A bit on the subtleties of Bislama

Monday, November 30, 2009

A search on Google News for the word Bislama (and Tok Pisin) usually turns up nothing at all, or otherwise just a travel article on Vanuatu giving a quick mention that "the locals speak a pidgin/creole called Bislama" before going back to describing the country as a travel destination.

A recent search using the term though actually turned up an article about Bislama and Bislama alone, namely about a false confidence some English speakers have in using the language due to its familiarity when sometimes a word can mean something slightly (or very) different. The article doesn't go into a great amount of detail, but that may just be due to a restricted article length and the author has left her e-mail address at the bottom for those that have questions.

Bislama also happens to be the only creole language with a translation on Ted.com, a short video that you can see here:

The person that did the translation there is given as meli.barnes, though I can't seem to find any more information there.

Here's a quick bit from the video showing the English original and the Bislama translation. Note how much longer the latter tends to be.

This map. This map shows the number of seconds that American network cable news organizations dedicated to news stories by country in February of 2007.

Map ia. Map ia i soem nam blong ol seken we olgeta netwok blong nius blong Amerika mo ol rigin nius oganaesesen i bin yusum blong talemaot stori long saed blong ol nius long every kantri raon long wol, long February 2007-wan yia i pas nomo.


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