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Tokelau language

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Title: Tokelau language  
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Subject: List of ISO 639-2 codes
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Tokelau language

Native to Tokelau
Native speakers unknown (undated figure of 3,500)Template:Infobox language/ref
1,400 in Tokelau (1987)
Language family
Official status
Official language in Tokelau
Language codes
ISO 639-2 tkl
ISO 639-3 tkl
Linguist List Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist
  Template:Infobox language/linguistlist

Tokelauan /tkəˈlən/[1] is a Polynesian language closely related to Tuvaluan.


It is spoken by about 1,500 people on the atolls of Tokelau, and by the few inhabitants of Swains Island in neighbouring American Samoa. It is a member of the Samoic family of Polynesian languages. It is, alongside English, the official language of Tokelau. In addition to the population of Tokelau, it is spoken by approximately 2,900 Tokelauan expatriates in New Zealand. The language is currently being taught privately, and in a few schools, in Brentwood, Essex, UK. Its ISO 639-3 code is tkl.

Affinities with other languages

Tokelauan is mutually intelligible with Tuvaluan, the main language of the neighbouring island realm of Tuvalu, and uses Samoan literature. It also has marked similarities to the Niuafo'ou language of Tonga.

Tokelauan is written in the Latin script, albeit only using 15 letters: a, e, i, o, u, f, g, k, l, m, n, p, h, t, and v. This consists of 5 vowels: a (pronounced: /a/), e (pronounced: /e/), i (pronounced: /i/), o (pronounced: /o/) and u (pronounced: /u/); and 10 consonants: f, g, k, l, m, n, p, h, t, v.

Loimata Iupati, Tokelau's resident Director of Education, has stated that he is in the process of translating the Bible from English into Tokelauan.


Tokelauan English
Fanatu au là? Shall I come too?
Ko toku nena e i Nukunonu. My grandmother lives in Nukunonu.
Malo ni, ea mai koe? Hello, how are you?
E hēai ni vakalele i Tokelau. There are no airplanes in Tokelau.

See also


External links

  • Mini-dictionary sponsored by Tokelau Magic
  • "Te Vaka" – A popular New Zealand music group that sings in the Tokelauan language
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