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Kiribati Language - The People Of Kiribati Speak Gilbertese Most


Gilbertese is a Kiribati language that are spoken by the people of Kiribati. It is often referred to as Kiribatese or Kiribati. The second official language is English, but it is not often spoken outside of South Tarawa, the island's capital. It is more probable that Gilbertese is used with some English.

I-Kiribati elders often speak more complex dialects of the language. Many terms in Gilbertese have been acquired from European immigrants; for instance, the Kama, one of the Gilbertese words for dogs, is derived from the Oceanic word Kiri, which was first used by the I-Kiribati people to call their dogs.

Speakers Of The Gilbertese Language

Nukunonu People celebrating Festival Tokehega Day
Nukunonu People celebrating Festival Tokehega Day

More than 96% of Kiribati's 119,000 residents identify as Kiribati languages. Most people on Nui, Rabi Island, and certain other islands where I-Kiribati have moved following the Phoenix Islands Settlement Scheme or emigrated speak Gilbertese as well.

COPYRIGHT_JANE: Published on https://www.janeresture.com/kiribati-language/ by Jane Resture on 2022-10-04T10:11:12.077Z

The Solomon Islands, especially Choiseul Province, and Vanuatu (mostly New Zealand and Hawaii) are among these islands. In Kiribati, 97% of residents can read in Gilbertese, while 80% can read English. One of the languages of the oceans is it.

Eastern Fijian, with approximately 600,000 speakers, and Samoan, with an estimated 400,000 speakers, are the two Oceanic languages with the biggest individual populations. Over 100,000 people speak the Gilbertese, Tongan, Tahitian, Mori, Western Fijian, and Tolai languages.

Erika Taeang was hired as the teacher at Finlayson Park School in Auckland, which established the first Gilbertese language program in New Zealand in 2020.

Land Of Kiribati

The majority of the islands are atolls, but a few are compact with bordering reefs. The Line group's Kiritimati (Christmas) Atoll, the biggest atoll in the world with a land area of 150 square miles (388 square kilometers), makes up about half of the country's entire area.

In the 1960s, Kiritimati was used for nuclear weapons testing by the United States and the United Kingdom; now, it is home to a large coconut plantation, fish farms, and satellite telemetry stations.

Kiribati's highest peak, Banaba, is 285 feet (87 meters) above sea level. Between 1900 and 1979 mining took away most of the phosphate layer, and now there aren't many people living there.

People Of Kiribati

The bulk of the Micronesian population speaks Gilbertese (or I-Kiribati). The official language, English, is also extensively spoken, particularly on Tarawa. The majority of the remaining population is Kiribati Protestant, while more than half are Roman Catholics (Congregational).

The Mormon and Baha'i faiths are practiced by a small minority. Because so many people moved to South Tarawa's rapidly growing cities, where more than half of the population now lives, the population of most of the islands has stayed mostly the same for a long time.

Economy Of Kiribati

The export of phosphate rock was a major component of Kiribati's economy up until 1979 when the resource was depleted. A sizable reserve fund was built up before the end of mining; the interest now goes toward funding the government.

Copra, which is mostly generated in villagers' economies, and licensing payments from international fishing fleets, including a specific tuna-fishing deal with the European Union, are other sources of income. Commercial seaweed cultivation has grown to be a significant industry.

People Also Ask

What Language Do Kiribati People Speak?

The bulk of the Micronesian population speaks Gilbertese (or Kiribati languages).

What Percentage Of Kiribati Speak English?

In Kiribati, 97% of residents can read in Gilbertese, while 80% can read English.

Does Kiribati Speak English?

Although many people in Kiribati speak Kiribati, often called Gilbertese, English is the official language of the nation.


The Latin script, which is used to write Gilbertese or Kiribati languages, was originally used in the 1860s when Protestant missionary Hiram Bingham Jr. translated the Bible into Gilbertese. The language wasn't written down before.

Since Independence (1979), long vowels and consonants are written by doubling the letter; velar nasals and velarized bilabials are represented by a few digraphs. Bingham Jr. and the first Catholic missionaries (1888) did not double the characters to indicate the vowel length in their script.

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About The Authors

Jane Resture

Jane Resture - Since she embarked on her first world trip in 2002, Jane Resture spent the past decades sharing her personal journey and travel tips with people around the world. She has traveled to over 80 countries and territories, where she experienced other cultures, wildlife she had only read about in books, new foods, new people, and new amazing experiences. Jane believes that travel is for everyone and it helps us learn about ourselves and the world around us. Her goal is to help more people from more backgrounds experience the joy of exploration because she trusts that travel opens the door to the greatest, most unforgettable experiences life can offer and this builds a kinder, more inclusive, more open-minded world.

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