|Native to||Burma, Bangladesh|
|Region||Arakan region of Burma, southeastern Chittagong region of Bangladesh|
|1.8 million (2012)|
Written in Arabic script, the first Rohingya language texts are more than 200 years old. While Arakan was under British rule (1826–1948), the Rohingya people used mainly English and Urdu for written communication. Since independence in 1948, Burmese has been used in all official communications. Since the early 1960s, Rohingya scholars have started to realize the need for a writing system suited to their own language.
In 1975 a writing system was developed using Arabic letters; other scholars adopted Urdu script to remedy some deficiencies of the Arabic. Neither proved satisfactory, however, and most Rohingyas found it difficult to read the language in either version.
Today, there are efforts for creating a Rohingya Unicode font based on Arabic letters (since those are far more understood by the people) with additional tone signs.
Molana Hanif and his colleagues developed a new set of right-to-left oriented characters based mainly on Arabic script, with a few borrowings from Roman and Burmese. This approach was an improvement and was appreciated by Rohingya Islamic scholars, used to studying in Arabic and Urdu. However, the new script was criticized because the characters were very similar to each other, requiring longer memorization time and careful writing to avoid confusion. Despite such criticism, the Hanifi script is currently in use and a Unicode standard for it is being developed.
Soon afterwards, E.M. Siddique took a different approach, using Latin letters only. The result is a writing system known as Rohingyalish that comprises 26 Roman letters, five accented vowels, and two additional Latin characters for retroflex and nasal sounds.
|A a||B b||C c||Ç ç||D d||E e||F f|
|G g||H h||I i||J j||K k||L l||M m|
|N n||Ñ ñ||O o||P p||Q q||R r||S s|
|T t||U u||V v||W w||X x||Y y||Z z|
The character set table of the Rohingya language writing system uses the Latin letters shown above (ç and ñ with green background). The vowels are written both unaccented (aeiou) and accented (áéíóú). The use of c, ç and ñ is adapted to the language; c represents /ʃ/ (English sh), ç is the retroflex r ([ɽ]), and ñ indicates a nasalized vowel (e.g., fañs /faⁿs/ 'five'). Crucially, these can all be accessed from an English keyboard, for example by using the English (US) International keyboard.
Rohingya has primarily the following 25 native consonant phonemes. There are some other consonant phonemes which are of foreign origin like from Arabic, Bengali, Burmese and Urdu.
|Plosive||p b||t̪ d̪||ʈ ɖ||ɟ||k ɡ||ʔ|
Accented vowels represented stressed (or "hard" vowels). Repeating a vowel lengthen it. Thus, tonals are marked by arranging the location of a stressed vowel in a lengthen pair, like ⟨aá⟩ and ⟨áa⟩.
1. If a noun ends with a vowel then the article is either án or wá if singular, or ún if plural or uncountable.
Usually wá is used for round-fatty objects, and án for flat-thin objects.
( singular ) ( plural ) Kéti án (the farm) Kéti ún (the farms) Fothú án (the picture) Fothú ún (the pictures) Fata wá (the leave) Fata ún (the leaves) boro wá (the large) boro ún (the large) Lou ún (the blood)
2. If a noun ends with a consonant then the article is the end-consonant plus án or wá for singular or ún for plural.
Debal lán (the wall) Debal lún (the walls) Mes sán (the table) Mes sún (the tables) Kitap pwá (the book) Kitap pún (the books) Manúic cwá (the man) Manúic cún (the men)
3. If a noun ends with r, then the article is g plus án or wá for singular or ún for plural.
Tar gán (the wire) Tar gún (the wires) Duar gán (the door) Duar gún (the doors) Kuñir gwá (the dog) Kuñir gún (the dogs) Faár gwá (the mountain) Faár gún (the mountains)
Indefinite articles can be used either before or after the noun. Uggwá usually is used for roll/round/fatty shaped objects and ekkán is for thin/flat shaped objects.
( singular ) ( plural ) Uggwá fata (a leaf) Hodún fata (some leaves) Ekkán fothú (a picture) Hodún Fothú (some pictures) -or- -or- Fata uggwá (a leaf) Fata hodún (some leaves) Fothú ekkán (a picture) Fothú hodún (some pictures)
Rohingya word order is subject - object - verb.
Subject Object Verb Aññí(I) bát(rice) hái(eat). Ite(He) TV(TV) saá(watches). Ibá(She) sairkél(bicycle) soré(rides). Ítara(They) hamot(to work) za(go).
Rohingya distinguishes 12 tenses, as shown in the examples below. In these tenses, the helping verb félai shows perfect action (comparable to English "has/have") and félaat shows perfect continuous action (compare English "has/have been"). The helping verb táki and táikki are comparable to English "be" and "been".
Verb-form-suffix (basic and/or helping verb) indicate both person and tense. The suffixes ~ir, ~yi, ~lám, ~youm are used for the first person, the suffixes ~or, ~yó, ~lá, ~bá for the 2nd person, and the suffixes ~ar, ~ye, ~l, ~bou for the 3rd person. Similarly ~ir, ~or, ~ar indicate present continuous tense, ~yi, ~yó, ~ye present perfect tense, ~lám, ~lá, ~l past tense, and ~youm, ~bá, ~bou future tense.
First person ( I ):
1. Present (a)Aññí hái. (I eat.) (b)Aññí háir. (I am eating.) (c)Aññí hái félaiyi. (I have eaten.) (d)Aññí hái félair. (I have been eating.)
2. Past (a)Aññí háiyi. (I ate.) Note: refer near past. Aññí háailam. (I ate.) Note: refer far past. (b)Aññí háat táikkilám. (I was eating.) (c)Aññí hái félailám. (I had eaten.) (d)Aññí hái félaat táikkilám. (I had been eating.)
3. Future (a)Aññí háiyoum. (I will eat.) (b)Aññí háat tákiyoum. (I will be eating.) (c)Aññí hái félaiyoum. (I will have eaten.) (d)Aññí hái félaat tákiyoum. (I will have been eating.)
Second person ( You ):
1. Present (a)Tuñí/Oñne hóo. [Tui hós.] (You eat.) (b)Tuñí/Oñne hóor. [Tui hóor.] (You are eating.) (c)Tuñí/Oñne hái félaiyó. [Tui hái félaiyós]. (You have eaten.) (d)Tuñí/Oñne hái féloor. [Tui hái féloor]. (You have been eating.)
2. Past (a)Tuñí/Oñne háiyo. [Tui háiyós.] (You ate.) Note: refer near past. Tuñí/Oñne háailá. [Tui háailí.] (You ate.) Note: refer far past. (b)Tuñí/Oñne háat táikkilá. [Tui háat táikkilí.] (You were eating.) (c)Tuñí/Oñne hái félailá. [Tui hái félailí.] (You had eaten.) (d)Tuñí/Oñne hái félaat táikkilá.[Tui hái félaat táikkilí.](You had been eating.)
3. Future (a)Tuñí/Oñne háibá. [Tui háibí.] (You will eat.) (b)Tuñí/Oñne háat tákibá. [Tui háat tákibí.] (You will be eating.) (c)Tuñí/Oñne hái félaibá. [Tui hái félaibí.] (You will have eaten.) (d)Tuñí/Oñne hái félaat tákibá. [Tui hái félaat tákibí.] (You will have been eating.)
Third persons ( He/She/They ):
1. Present (a)Ite/Ibá/Itará há. (He/She/They eats/eats/eat.) (b)Ite/Ibá/Itará hár. (He/She/They is/is/are eating.) (c)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félaiye. (He/She/They has/has/have eaten.) (d)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félaar. (He/She/They has/has/have been eating.)
2. Past (a)Ite/Ibá/Itará háaiye. (He/She/They ate.) Note: refer near past. Ite/Ibá/Itará háail. (He/She/They ate.) Note: refer far past. (b)Ite/Ibá/Itará háat táikkil. (He/She/They was/was/were eating.) (c)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félail. (He/She/They had eaten.) (d)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félaat táikkil. (He/She/They had been eating.)
3. Future (a)Ite/Ibá/Itará háibou. (He/She/They will eat.) (b)Ite/Ibá/Itará háat tákibou. (He/She/They will be eating.) (c)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félaibou. (He/She/They will has/has/have eaten.) (d)Ite/Ibá/Itará hái félaat tákibou. (He/She/They will has/has/have been eating.)
|3rd||m (he)||ite *
|m/f (he/she)||ibá *
|3rd||m/f (they)||itará *
Gender: m=male, f=female, n=neuter., *=the person or object is near., **=the person or object is far.
The interrogative is indicated by né at the end of the sentence.
Itattú górr ekkán asé né? [Does he have a house?]
Itattú górr ekkán asé. [He has a house.]
Ibá za né? [Does she go?]
Ibá za. [She goes.]
Itará giyé né? [Did they go?]
Itará giyé. [They went.]
Inflection for person
Rohingya verbs indicate person by suffixes.
lek = write (command to you sg.)
lekí = I/we write.
lekó = write (command to you pl.)
lekós = You write(sg./pl.).
leké = He/she/they write(s).
Present Continuous Tense
lekír = I/we am/are writing.
lekór = You(sg./pl.) are writing.
lekér = He/she/they is/are writing.
Present Perfect Tense
lekífélaiyi = I/we have written.
lekífélaiyo = You (sg./pl.) have written.
lekífélaiyós = You (sg.) have written. (used to very closed people)
lekífélaiye = He/she/they has/have written.
lekíyóum = I/we will write.
lekíbá = You (sg./pl.) will write.
lekíbi = You (sg.) will write. (used to very closed people)
lekíbóu = He/she/they will write.
Past Tense (Immediate/near past)
leikkí = I/we wrote.
leikkó = You (sg./pl.) wrote.
leikkós = You (sg.) wrote. (used to very closed people)
leikké = He/she/they wrote.
Past Tense (Remote past)
leikkílám = I/we wrote long ago.
leikkílá = You (sg./pl.) wrote long ago.
leikkílí = You (sg.) wrote long ago. (used to very closed people)
leikkíl = He/she/they wrote long ago.
Past Tense (If possibility)
lekítám = I/we would have written.
lekítá = You (sg./pl.) would have written.
lekítí = You (sg.) would have written. (used to very closed people)
lekítóu = He/she/they would have written.
Forming Noun, Doer, Tool, Action
lekóon = act of writing.
e.g. Debalor uore lekóon gom noó. Writing on wall is not good.
lekóiya = writer.
e.g. Itaráttú lekóiya bicí. They-have many writers.
lekóni = thing with which you write.
e.g. Añártú honó lekóni nái. I-have no any writing-thing (i.e. pen, pencil)
lekát = in the action of writing.
e.g. Tui lekát asós. You are busy-in-writing.
- Rohingya at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
- Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Rohingya". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- "Rohingya". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005.
- Language and National Identity in Asia (Oxford Linguistics) by Andrew Simpson. Oxford University Press. 2007, ISBN 978-0199226481 pg 267.
- Mohammed Siddique Basu. Starting with Rohingyalish.
- Priest, Lorna A.; Hosken, Martin; SIL International (2010-08-12). "Proposal to add Arabic script characters for African and Asian languages". pp. 13–18, 34–37.
- Pandey, Anshuman (2012-06-20). "Preliminary Proposal to Encode the Rohingya Script".
For further information on Rohingya Language please refer the following links.
- Rohingyalanguage Foundation
- Rohingya Language Video Training
- Burmese Rohingya Organization in Germany Website
- Rohingyas News online Website
- Arakan Rohingya Cooperation Council Website
- Rohingya Website