The vanaŋa Rapanui (Rapanui language) is considered as a core feature of Rapanui identity. The Rapanui created deliberate strategies for the preservation and revalidation of their language, particularly since the 1990s. Decrease in the use of the Rapanui language has been documented by linguists Nancy and Robert Weber. Besides the home, school is the main site for learning Rapanui. The teaching of Rapanui as a first language was implemented in the school through immersion education, introduced in 2000 through the Programa de Lengua Rapanui. Immersion education can now be chosen in the main municipal elementary school from pre-kinder up to 4th grade. The program also created a yearly Día de la lengua, where the community celebrates its unique language. Language consciousness also increased at the community level because of the increase of tourism and the desire for enhanced local political and economic control, which stimulated the use of the language in the public arena. Simultaneously two different groups of Rapanui elders worked on language revitalization during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Makihara distinguishes between syncretic and purist speech styles, both an expression of language revitalization. Vanaŋa Rapanui can thus be seen as a tool for cultural revitalization, but also as a political tool for Rapanui resistance against Chilean governance.
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