Robert L. Stevenson is one of the most famous authors who lived in Kiribati, between 1888 and 1889. While he was there, he and his wife redesigned the flag of Kiribati. Kiribati is one of the few countries that do not have an armed forces. If they come under an armed attack from a foreign country, Australia will defend them. The country gained independence in 1979 from the British government. This led them to severe links with the British government while they forged ties with the Australian government. The Australian dollar is the currency of use in Kiribati. Scientists have determined that due to rising sea levels, Kiribati is in danger of vanishing below sea levels. This led the Kiribati government to reach an agreement with Australian and New Zealand governments that these 2 countries will accommodate Kiribati citizens in case the country becomes completely submerged in water. Kiribati was formerly known as Gilbert Islands.
Kiribati is sometimes referred to as Gilbertese or Kiribatese. It falls under the Austronesian language of families. There are approximately 105,000 people who speak Kiribati. Out of this, 98,000 speakers reside in Kiribati. Other speakers can be found in islands or countries that Kiribati citizens migrated to. This includes Rabi Islands in Fiji, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Hawaii, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and New Zealand. Most Kiribati speakers are bilingual, as they can also speak English. Kiribati language is used on a day to day basis and is not in danger of extinction. The language has 2 main dialects. The southern and northern dialects. The main differences in the dialects lies in the pronunciation of some words. The people who live on Butaritari and Makin islands also have their own dialect, which differs from the standard Kiribati language. Kiribati is written using Latin script. It has 10 vowels and 10 consonants.
In the 1970s, the orthography and grammar of the language was standardized by the Kiribati Language board. This led to the development of a Kiribati dictionary. The language board was also set up to ensure that the language evolves and is able to keep up with technological advancements. The younger generation of speakers tend to use slang words and borrowed words from other languages, like English.