The ancestral language of Easter Island called Rapa Nui language is a remnant of ancient mystery. Mostly only the elders speak it well, even though almost everyone speak it at least to some extent. Today it is somewhat of an exclusive knowledge.
Rapa Nui is a polynesian language, similar to Tahitian and Hawaiian, with ancient roots back to Southeast Asia. Traces can still be found in Asian languages. Examples are the indonesian words for "eye" and "ear" which are "mata" and "taliŋa". The Rapa Nui translations for the same words are "mata" (exactly the same) and "tariŋa".
During the 1960's, when Rapa Nui language was still the dominating tounge on the island, chilean influences had an increasing impact on the Rapa Nui culture. Many islanders thought highly of the land in the east. They made efforts to teach spanish to their children, putting aside their own language.
Today, those who handle the language well and are born in the 80's or later are very few. The newer generation - even those whose both parent are rapa nui - speak rapa nui only to the elders to show respect, if they know the language well enough.
The Rapa Nui language is today in a fragile situation, which is why it is important to support the language in any way possible, to prevent it from getting extinct. Your way of doing this could be by learning some Rapa Nui language in our free online school! This will also show that you respect the rapa nui culture, which will get you respect in return and could open many social doors for you during your stay at Rapa Nui.
Tāpura Re'o means
inscribed voice/language and is the the first newspaper ever written entirely in Rapa Nui language. This project was created by one of the founders behind Easter Island Travel - Marcus Edensky. The project also has had great support and help with translation from Rapa Nui woman and language expert Maria Eugenia Tuki Pakarati, as well as support and help with ortography checks from American linguists Nancy and Robert Weber.
Tāpura Re'o, which has been given away free of charge, was at first mainly funded with private means of Marcus Edensky, and for later publications with funds from the Chilean government.
See some publications of Tāpura Re'o.
Download the Rapa Nui keyboard layout for Windows to write Rapa Nui characters wherever you'd like. Examples of usage is when chatting, naming files and folders, writing e-mails or using Microsoft Word.
For long vowels and ŋ to display correctly in web browsers you will need the HTML codes for each of these letters. When writing your HTML code, simply put the corresponding character code where you want your Rapa Nui letter to be, and once viewed through a web browser the correct character will be displayed in its place.