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The People

The Ni-Vanuatu, or people of Vanuatu, are the citizens of the multi-island nation of Vanuatu. Though they have a smattering of genes from European, Asian and Polynesian visitors, these people are primarily Melanesian. Despite being part of the same nation, they express more than 110 different cultures and languages. Everything from dances and ceremonies to systems of authority varies from island to island. These things even vary from district to district! Locals call this variety of lifestyles “kastom.”

Due to waves of European colonization, official languages here include English and French. However, the majority of people speak Bislama as their common tongue. Though Bislama is a creole, it’s the third official language of Vanuatu.

The Bislama creole combines Melanesian grammar with a mostly English vocabulary. Though rural folk usually speak this creole as a second language, it’s the first language of most people in the urban areas of Port Vila and Luganville.