Tokelauan
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
Tokelau

Geographical region
Tokelau Islands

Language codes
TOK (POLLI); TOK (Grimes 1996: Ethnologue); TOK (Biggs 1971)

Alternate language names
Tokelau

Dialect names
Nukunonu, Fakaofo, Atafu

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, Samoic- Outlier, Ellicean

Tokelauan speaking population
1,680 in Tokelau (1987), 99% of the population in the Tokelau Islands; 1,737 in New Zealand (1976); 100 in American Samoa on the Olosega atoll (Biggs 1971); 100 in Hawai'i (1976); 4,500 total, out of which 65% in New Zealand (Wurm/Hattori 1981).

Subsistence type
Fishermen mainly; agriculturalists: coconut, taro, breadfruit, banana, arrowroot

Status of language
Needs survey

Alphabet
A, E, I, O, U, F, G, H, K, L, M, N, P, T, V (Hovdhaugen/Hom/Iosefo/Muruvik Vonen 1989). F is clearly bilabial (Hovdhaugen/Hom/Iosefo/Muruvik Vonen 1989). Remarks
There are dialect differences among the three Tokelau atolls. Tokelauan speakers also live on the Olosega atoll (Swain's Island) which is politacally part of American Samoa. Tokelauan and Tuvaluan are mutually intelligible. The language is also closely related to Samoan. Tokelauans read the Samoan Bible and some speak some Samoan. Most who live in Tokelau have very rudimentary knowledge of English as a second language. Tokelauan is used in the schools.

Data last updated
11 February 1999



SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY - TOKELAUAN

MACGREGOR, GORDON.
1937. Ethnology of the Tokelau Islands (in: Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin)

HOM, INGJERD.
1992. Kupu Mai Te Tutolu (Tokelau oral literature)

HOM, INGJERD.
1995. A way with words: Language and culture in Tokelau society

HOVDHAUGEN, EVEN (editor).
1989. Ko te kalama Tokelau muamua

HOVDHAUGEN, E./HOM, I./IOSEFO, C.M./MURUVIK VONEN, A.
1989. A Handbook of the Tokelau Language

HUNTSMAN, JUDITH/HOOPER, ANTHONY.
1996. Tokelau: a historical ethnography

SIMONA, ROPATI.
1986. Tokelau Dictionary. Auckland. Office of Tokelau Affairs

[NATIONAL LIBRARY OF NEW ZEALAND].
Continuously updated. Tokelau national bibliography. National Library of New Zealand.



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