Rapa Nui, or Rapanui, is a Polynesian language spoken by about
2,700 people on Easter Island and also in Chile, Tahiti and the USA.
Rapa Nui is a member of the eastern branch of Polynesian languages
and is related to the languages of Tahiti and the Marquesas, and
also to Maori.
Easter Island, which is known as Rapa Nui in Rapa Nui and
Isla de Pascua in Spanish, was annexed by Chile on 9
September 1888 and has been run by Chile since then. On 30 July
2007 the island became a special territory of Chile. Until the
late 1990s the Rapa Nui people were effectively not permitted
to speak their native language, and Spanish was required for
public sector jobs. Education was also in Spanish.
Since the early years of the 21st century language policies
have changed and there are now classes in Rapa Nui in Easter
Islands schools, and some subjects, such as science and history,
are taught through Rapa Nui in one school.
A version of the Latin alphabet is used to write Rapa Nui,
although the language is rarely written, and most Easter
islanders write in Spanish. However in 2010 the first ever
newspaper in Rapa Nui was published, and there are plans for a
Rapa Nui alphabet and pronunciation
Vowels can be long or short, and are long when stressed and at the end of a word.
Loanwords from Spanish sometimes use ġ to represent the Spanish g sound