Rapa Nui


A language of Chile

Alternate Names
Easter Island, Pascuense, Rapanui
Rapa Nui

1,000 (2016 R. Weber). Ethnic population: 5,000 (Kieviet 2016). Approximately 3,600 on Easter Island.


Valparaíso region: Easter Island, 3,800 km from Chile, 4,000 km from Tahiti.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened). Recognized language (1993, Indigenous Peoples Law (No. 19.253)).


None known. Lexical similarity: 64% with Hawaiian [haw], Mangareva [mrv], and Rarotongan [rar]; 63% with Marquesan [mrq]; 62% with Tahitian [tah] and Tuamotuan [pmt].


VSO; prepositions; noun head final; common and proper nouns; dual number; article; isolating language; aspect markers; 10 consonants and 10 vowels (5 short, 5 long); non-tonal; stress on penultimate syllable; inclusive/exclusive pronouns; verb serialization.

Language Use

Was vigorous, but now declining. Young generation losing interest in the language. Revival efforts are in progress (Wurm 2007). Home, education. Some young people, all adults. All also use Spanish [spa].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: 50%–75%. Literacy rate in L2: 80%–90% in Spanish [spa]. Literature. Radio. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2018. Agency: Academia de la Lengua Rapa Nui.


Latin script [Latn].

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