DOMAINS OF USE
SPEAKER NUMBER TRENDS
- MORE ON VITALITY
90% of Cook Islands people live abroad. In New Zealand, 68% of Cook Islands people under 65 years of age and 80% under 30 years of age are monolingual English speakers. In the Cook Islands, increasing numbers of young people are monolingual in English or passive bilinguals, though the language is used in all domains including online. (Numbers unavailable for Australia). Cook Islands Māori is used by older speakers in some religious contexts and particular media programs as well as in welcoming ceremonies.
- SPEAKER ATTITUDE
- Rarotangan is often considered the high variety among the dialects. Despite a loss of speakers, the language is considered by many to be an important part of their identity. Older people express disappointment that few younger people speak the language, while younger people feel discouraged by their elders when trying to learn.
- GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
- official language alongside English
- INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT
- Ipukarea Society of Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
- OTHER LANGUAGES USED BY THE COMMUNITY
New Zealand Māori
- LANGUAGE CONTEXT COMMENTS
Advanced shift to English. Many older people also speak New Zealand Māori, Tahitian, and other regional indigenous languages due to having attended school away from the Southern Cook Islands. There is a lack of qualified Cook Islands Māori grade-school instructors in the diaspora, though some community courses are offered. The language is still prevalent in the performing arts.
- Scripts (Writing system)
- 19th century orthography developed by the London Missionary Society
- Competing Orthographies
- 21st century revised orthography by the Bible Society of the South Pacific
- More on Orthography
While English literacy is high, it is common to have functional or low literacy in Cook Islands Māori. Though most written material is liturgical, there is a broad representation across other genres as well as bilingual dictionaries and grammars. The unclear orthography impedes motivation to read aloud.