Rapanui
Language facts sheet by Niklas Jonsson
©1997-1999 POLLI & Niklas Jonsson

A bibliography of works refered to in this file may be found in the Polynesian Literature List.


Country/territory where spoken
Chile

Geographical region
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

Language codes
RPN (POLLI); PBA (Grimes 1996: Ethnologue); EAS (Biggs 1971)

Alternate language names
Easter Island, Pascuense

Genetic affiliation
Austronesian, Malayo-Polynesian, Central-Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Eastern Malayo-Polynesian, Oceanic, Central-Eastern Oceanic, Remote Oceanic, Central Pacific, Eastern Fiji-Polynesian, Polynesian, Nuclear Polynesian, East Polynesian, Rapanuic

Rapanui speaking population
2,200 on Easter Island; 200 to 300 together on Chile mainland, in French Polynesia and in the USA (Summer Institute of Linguistics 1981); 2,400 to 2,500 total.

Subsistence type
Fishermen; craftsmen; difficult cultivation - rainy.

Status of language
Work in progress.

Alphabet
A, E, I, O, U, ', NG, H, K, M, N, P, R, T, V (Stanley 1987, Biggs 1971) - may be incorrect/incomplete. Biggs (1971) lists W for Rapanui but no V, while Stanley (1987) mentions several place names containing V but none containing W. Chapin (1978) uses G for NG.

Word order typology
VSO

Remarks
64% lexical similarity with Hawaiian, Magarevan, Rarotonga; 63% with Marquesan; 62% with Tahitian and Tuamotuan. Spanish is used as second language.

Data last updated
17 December 1998



SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPGY - RAPANUI

ALEXANDER, JAMES D.
1981. Case-marking and passivity in Easter Island Polynesian (in: Oceanic Linguistics, vol 20, p 131-149). Honolulu. University of Hawai'i Press

BIERBACH, ANNETTE.
1996. Religion and language of Easter Island: an ethnolinguistic analysis of religious keywords of Rapa Nui in their Austronesian context

CHAPIN, PAUL G.
1978. Easter Island: A charcteristic VSO language (in: Lehmann, Winfred (editor). Syntacic typology, p 139-68)

CHURCHILL, WILLIAM.
1912. Easter Island: the Rapanui speech and the peopling of southeast Polynesia (in: Carnegie Institute Publications, no 174)

DAVIS-DRAKE, ALAN.
1988-. A layman's giude to Rongorongo: an historical approach (in: Rapa Nui Journal, vol 2, autumn 1988 issue, pp 5-8; and winter 1988 issue, pp 3-4; and vol 3, winter 1989-90 issue, pp 1 and 4-13; and vol 4, spring 1990 issue, pp 7-15)

DU FEU, VERONICA.
1996. Rapanui (Descriptive grammars series)

DU FEU, VERONICA/FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER.
1993. The Rapanui language (in: Fischer, Steven Roger (editor). Easter Island Studies: contributions to the history of Rapanui in memory of William T. Mulloy)

ENGLERT, SEBASTIANUS A DILLINGEN.
1938. Diccionario Rapanui-Español

ENGLERT, SEBASTIANUS A DILLINGEN.
1939. Tradiciones de la isla de Pascua en idioma Rapanui y Castellano.

ENGLERT, SEBASTIANUS A DILLINGEN.
1948. La tierra de Hotu Matu'a: historia, etnología, y lengua de la isla de Pascua

ENGLERT, SEBASTIANUS A DILLINGEN.
1977 (2nd edition). Idioma Rapanui: gramática y diccionario del antiguoidioma de la Isla de Pascua

ENGLERT, SEBASTIANUS A DILLINGEN.
1980. Leyendas de la Isla Pascua: textos bilingües

FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER.
1992. Homogenity in Old Rapanui (in: Oceanic Linguistics, vol 31, pp 181-190). Honolulu. University of Hawai'i Press

FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER (editor).
1993. Easter Island sudies: contributions to the history of Rapanui in memory of William T. Mulloy

FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER.
1994. Rapanui's great old words: e timo te akoako (in: Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 103, p 413-443). Wellington. Polynesian Society

FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER.
1995. Preliminary evidence for cosmogonic texts in Rapanui's Rongorongo inscriptions (in: Journal of the Polynesian Society, vol 104, p 303-321). Wellington. Polynesian Society

FISCHER, STEVEN ROGER.
Date not known. Rongorongo: the Easter Island scripts - history, traditions, texts

FUENTES, JORDI.
1960. Dictionary and grammar of the Easter Island language. Santiago. Editorial Andres Bello

HUGHES, H.G.A.
1992. Rapa Nui: a select bibliography (in: South Seas Studies, no 2/1992)

LANGDON, R./TRYON, D.
1983. The language of Easter Island: Its development and Eastern Polynesian relationships

MÉTRAUX, ALFRED.
1940. Ethnology of Easter Island (in: Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin, no 160)

WEBER, R.
1988. The verbal morphology of Rapa Nui, The Polynesian language of Easter Island, and its functions in narrative discourse (unpublished M.A. thesis, University of Texas at Arlington)



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