It is spoken by about 1,500 people on the atolls of Tokelau, and by the few inhabitants of Swains Island in neighbouring American Samoa. It is a member of the Samoic family of Polynesian languages. It is, alongside English, the official language of Tokelau. In addition to the population of Tokelau, it is spoken by approximately 2,900 Tokelauan expatriates in New Zealand. The language is currently being taught privately, and in a few schools, in Brentwood, Essex, UK. Its ISO 639-3 code is tkl.
Tokelauan is written in the Latin script, albeit only using 15 letters: a, e, i, o, u, f, g, k, l, m, n, p, h, t, and v. This consists of 5 vowels: a (pronounced: /a/), e (pronounced: /e/), i (pronounced: /i/), o (pronounced: /o/) and u (pronounced: /u/); and 10 consonants: f, ŋ, k, l, m, n, p, h, t, v.
Loimata Iupati, Tokelau's resident Director of Education, has stated that he is in the process of translating the Bible from English into Tokelauan.