Video: Soul Harvest Choir sings in three languages - Nakanamanga, Bislama, and English

There are 100+ languages spoken in the island nation of Vanuatu. The one of my island and the surrounding area is called Nakanamanga, which is 2nd most commonly spoken local language of Vanuatu.

Map created by Timothee Duhamel

Vanuatu has three official languages: English, French, and Bislama, a creole based on English and French words. We volunteers learn how to speak Bislama, but across Vanuatu, volunteers find that locally, Bislama is not often used. When I visit a friend in the village, for example, her family will talk among themselves in Nakanamanga (which we just call "language" for brevity, as it is inferred that it is Nakanamanga), but when they speak to me, it will be in Bislama.

For those of you at home reading this, wondering what these all sound like (and who haven't already checked out my Languages of Vanuatu video series), here is a video I found to show you them compared back to back.

One of the teachers and my friends at the school, Ms. Tatangis, had an amazing opportunity to travel to Australia for the first time in her life to participate in a singing festival. The choir group sang songs in Nakanamanga.  Here is a video of Meriana and her group, dressed in traditional Vanuatu island (mother hubbard) dresses, singing and dancing to the church song "There is No One Like Jesus."

They sing the song three times in a row, first in Nakanamanga, then Bislama, and finally in English.

You can spot Meriana in the front row, fourth from the audience's left (her hair is in a bun and she has stud earrings).



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