Being a French territory, the official language of Wallis and Futuna is French. Aside from French, there are two other popular languages that are widely spoken, namely the Wallisian language and the Futunan language. Wallis and Futuna is mainly made up of Wallis Island and the Futuna Islands. The predominant language spoke in Wallis Island is the Wallisian language while the Futunan language dominates in terms of speakers in the island of Futuna. For both cases, the reverse is true. That is, very little Wallisian is spoken in Futuna and vice versa. For both cases, French comes in second in terms of speakers. However, for both islands, Wallisian is the most popular language.

As per a census carried out in 2008, 60.2% of the population speaks Wallisian. Futunan is in the second place with 29%, and French has the smallest number of speakers with around 9.7% of the population. 86.1% of the Wallis population speaks Wallisian, 12.1% speaks French, and the rest speak Futunan. On Futuna Island, the vast majority speaks Futunan (94.9%), followed by French with 4.2%, and lastly by Wallisian with 0.8%. In the same census, it was determined that around 88.5% of the population could speak, write and read either Futunan or Wallisian. Of the entire population, 78.2% could read, speak and write French.

Wallisian uses the lengthened variation of the five standard vowels. This variation is one of the variations the language has from the English alphabet. One way of saying hello in Wallisian is “Mālō te ma'uli.” On the other hand, Futunan also uses the standard vowels which can be either shortened or lengthened. Words typically end with a vowel. For example “eio” means yes, “tauasu” refers to a gathering where kava is drunk, and others. French is also widely understood within both Wallis and Futuna. Some simple phrases in French include "merci", meaning "thank you", "bonjour", meaning "hello", and "au revoir", meaning goodbye.

The two indigenous languages are Wallisian (also called East Uvean) and Futunan, which each contain a few dialects. Wallisian is related to the Rennellesse and the Tongan languages. Futunan is also called East-Futunan and is spoken in Futuna Island as well as some parts of Vanuatu.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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