Emae is a Polynesian language spoken mainly in the villages of Makatea and Tongamea on the island of Emae in Shefa province of Vanuatu. There are also speakers of Emae in elsewhere in Vanuatu, particularly in Port Vila. There are about 600 fluent speaker, and perhaps another 400 people have some knowledge of the language. The majority of fluent speakers are elderly. Younger people, particularly children are more likely to speak Bislama with each other as that it the language used in schools. The language is also known as Fakamakata, Emai, Emwae, Mae, Mai or Mwae.
Emae was first documented in the mid-19th century by missionaries, who learned the language and translated parts of the Bible into it. During the 20th century a number of linguists studied and documented the language, most notably, Arthur Capell, who wrote The Polynesian Language of Mae (Emwae), New Hebrides in 1962.
E tuni re kakai tasi ko fakaraua peni. E tuni re fafine e tuni nga tamariki, Kere Uoro Kali. E tuni nga na tamariki ngafuru e tasi. Tere feia rato kai ma tere keina. Ka rato nau e natu, ma e peni ta "Kotoka natu, kou kuka ano serea re ngakau re puaka ni i tai." Ma e ano ki tai ma e ano serea re ngakau, ka re mango tasi e numai ma laua aia.
There is a story that goes like this. There was a woman who had ten children. They were known as Kere Uoro Kali. The children were making their own food and eating it, when their mother said, "You will stay here, while I go out into the sea to cut open the stomach of this pig so we can eat it." Then she walked out into the sea and started cutting open the stomach. But a shark came, and took her away.
Page last modified: 23.04.21
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