Rapa Nui language

Rapa Nui
Vānanga Rapa Nui
Pronunciation[ˈɾapa ˈnu.i]
Native toChile
RegionEaster Island
EthnicityRapa Nui
Native speakers
2,700 (2007)[1]
Latin script, possibly formerly rongorongo
Official status
Official language in
 Easter Island (Chile)
Language codes
ISO 639-3rap
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Rapa Nui or Rapanui (i/),[3] also known as Pascuan (n/) or Pascuense, is an Eastern Polynesian language of the Austronesian language family. It is spoken on the island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island.

The island is home to a population of just under 6,000 and is a special territory of Chile. According to census data,[4] there are about 3,700 people on the island and on the Chilean mainland who identify as ethnically Rapa Nui. Census data does not exist on the primary known and spoken languages among these people. There are recent[when?] claims that the number of fluent speakers is as low as 800.[5] Rapa Nui is a minority language and many of its adult speakers also speak Spanish. Most Rapa Nui children now grow up speaking Spanish and those who do learn Rapa Nui begin learning it later in life.[6]


Rapa Nui has ten consonants and five vowels.


Labial Alveolar Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/






Stop /p/








Fricative /v/




Flap /ɾ/


As present generation Rapa Nui speak Spanish as their first language in younger years and learn Rapa Nui later in life, flap /ɾ/ in word-initial position can be pronounced alveolar trill [r].


Front Central Back
High i u
Mid e o
Low a

All vowels can be either long or short and are always long when they are stressed in the final position of a word.[7] Most vowel sequences are present, with the exception of *uo. Repetition sequences do not occur except in eee ('yes').[8]