Learn Some Lingo – Common Words you can use in Vanuatu and New Caledonia

I think English speakers often take their language for granted. As Australians and New Zealanders, we have grown up with English as our primary language and I think we often assume the rest of the world has too!

English is the second most common language spoken in the world (after Mandarin), but did you know that there are more people who speak English as their second language than speak it as their native tongue! (Thanks Wikipedia)

So as English speakers we are lucky to find that no matter where we travel, we can usually find others who can speak our language too (so to speak haha)!

English really does seem to connect the world, and when we travel it makes the unknown a little less intimidating.


One of the greatest joys in travel is discovery and learning new things.  What would be the point in travelling if everything was the same as home? 

Speaking English may make our travels easier at times, but as they say “When in Rome”….

So why not have a go at some local language on your next cruise.

You will find that the locals love it, they will appreciate your respect of their culture and will be more than willing to help you along the way. It may just open the door to a whole new set of experiences on your journey.


Don’t be afraid to give it a go!

South Pacific Ports are a great place to practice speaking in a new language, because you can be guaranteed that if you run into trouble the local you are talking to will also know English.

There are also many different apps available these days that can do some translations for you.


Here is a short list of common words and phrases that may be useful when you are visiting these popular Cruise Ports of Call.


In New Caledonia (Noumea, Isle of Pines, Mare, Lifou) French is the official language

Do you speak English?                    Parlez-vous Anglais?

I don’t speak French                       Je ne parle pas français

My name is…                                      mon nom est

Hello                                                      Bonjour

How are you?                                    Comment ca va?

I am fine, thanks                               Ca va bien, merci

Good evening                                    Bonsoir

Goodbye                                             Au revoir

Thank you                                           Merci

Thank you very much                     Merci beaucoup

Please                                                   S’il vous plait

A taxi, please                                     Un taxi, s’il vous plait

Bread                                                    Le pain

Beer                                                      Une biere

Wine (Red/White)                           Le vin (rouge/blanc)

Yes                                                         Oui

No                                                          Non

How much is it?                                Combien ca coute?

I would like…                                      Je voudrais….

Where is the….                                  Ou se trouve….

Come on/Let’s Go!                          Allez

OK                                                          D’accord

Where is the bathroom?               Ou sont les toilettes?

Do you have..                                    Avez-vous…

Water                                                   l’eau

The food is good                               la nourriture est bonne



In Vanuatu (Efate & Santo) most people speak Bislama as their first language

Bislama is a form of Pidgin-English and it is great fun to learn a few words – read these words out loud and they will suddenly make a lot of sense

Do you speak English?                    Yu save toktok English?                  NB: Save is pronounced “Sav-vee”

I can’t speak Bislama                       Mi toktok Bislama smol nomo

Hello                                                      Halo

Goodbye                                             Tata

Good Morning                                   Gudmoning

Good Night                                         Gudnaet

See you later                                      Lukim yu

Please                                                   Plis

Thank you                                           Tangkyu Tumas

You’re Welcome                               I orate nomo

Yes                                                         Yes

No                                                          No

How are you?                                    Yu Oraet?

Fine Thank you                                  Gud, tankyu

What is your name?                        Wanem nem blong yu?

My name is…                                      Nem blong mi ...

Nice to meet you                             Gud mitim yu

I don’t know                                       Me no save

I understand                                      Me save

Please say that again                       Plis talem bakagin

Where is the toilet?                        Toilet i stap wea?

The Best/excellent                          Nambawan

How much?                                        Hamas?

Do you Have…                                   Yu Gat….

Water                                                   kolwata

This food is delicious                       Kae-kae emi gud

What                                                     Wanem


Most Importantly have fun with this and don’t take yourself too seriously if you get it wrong.


South Pacific Smile

Happy Travels.

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