The French Supreme Court annulled two laws that were passed in the French assembly because the debate that led to the passing of the two laws were held in Tahitian. French is recognized as the official language that is to be used within the assembly. This resulted in calls by Edouard Fritch, the president of French Polynesia’s territorial assembly, to recognize Tahitian as an official language. Even though French is the official language in Tahiti, Tahitian is widely spoken by the locals.
Tahitian is spoken in French Polynesia. The Tahitian islands are collectively known as French Polynesia. Approximately 125,000 people speak this language. English is also spoken. You will find English speakers in most hotels, restaurants and shops in the larger islands. There are fewer English speakers in the remote Islands. Tahitian speakers can mainly be found in the Society Islands, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and some islands in Tuamotus. Tahitian is a Polynesian language. All Polynesian languages have been derived from Indo-Malaysian (Austronesian Languages). There are several Polynesian languages spoken in Tahiti, due to the large geographical differences in the region. All these languages are classified as reo Ma’ohi. Reo means language. Other languages spoken in the French Polynesia include Paumotu, Marquesian, Austral language, Mangarevian, with Tahitian being the most widely spoken. 86% of the population speak Tahitian. Other languages that are spoken in the French Polynesia includes French, Rapa, Chinese, and Tuamotuan. French and Tahiti are recognized as the official languages of Tahiti and her islands.
Tahitian is sometimes referred to as Maohi, te reo Ma’ohi and te reo Tahiti. Tahitian was largely an oral language until the 19th century. On 8th March 1805, John Davis, a Welsh historian and Linguist proposed a Tahitian spelling system, based on the Latin alphabet. In 1810, Davis published the first Tahitian book, Te Aebi no Tahiti. Since then, a variety of Tahitian literature has been published, mostly educational and religious materials. Tahitian has 16 letters of the alphabet and 1,000 words. This makes it much easier to learn. Vowels are pronounced and when an apostrophe is used it indicates a short pause.