Chakma language

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Changmha, Daingnet
𑄌𑄋𑄴𑄟𑄳𑄦 𑄞𑄌𑄴
'Changmha Bhach' in Chakma script
Native toBangladesh and India
RegionChittagong Hill Tracts
CADC, Mizoram
Arunachal Pradesh
EthnicityChakma, Daingnet
Native speakers
483,299 in Bangladesh (2022)[1]
228,000 in India (2011)[2]
Chakma script, Latin script, Bengali script[2]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ccp

Chakma (/ˈɑːkmə/; autonym: 𑄌𑄋𑄴𑄟𑄳𑄦 𑄞𑄌𑄴, Changmha Bhach) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Chakma and Daingnet people. The language has common features with other languages in the region like the Chittagonian, Tanchangya, Arakanese and others. It has 483,299 speakers in Bangladesh[1] primarily the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and another 230,000 in India, including 97,000 in Mizoram,[3] Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh. It is written using the Chakma script, but literacy in this script is low.


It is officially recognized by the government of Tripura in India and also by the government of Bangladesh. In India, it is also spoken primarily in the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) which consists of the Tuichawng constituency of Lawngtlai district in Mizoram and many places in Tripura.

Although there were no Chakma language radio or television stations as of 2011, the language has a presence in social media and on YouTube. The Hill Education Chakma Script website provides tutorials, videos, e-books, and Chakma language forums.[4]

In 2012, the government of Tripura announced the implementation of Chakma language in Chakma Script (or Ajhā Pāṭh) in primary schools of Tripura. Imparting of education up to the elementary stage in the mother tongue is a national policy. To begin with, Chakma language subjects in its own scripts has been introduced in 87 primary schools in Chakma concentrated areas in Tripura."[5][6]

"In preparation for the January 2014 education season, the national curriculum and textbook board has already started printing books in six languages ... Chakma, Kokborok (Tripura community), Marma, Santal, Sadri (Orao community) and Achik."[7]

Mor Thengari (My Bicycle) was Bangladesh's first Chakma-language movie. However, it was banned in Bangladesh due to its controversial plot.[8]



Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open æ a


Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless p t k
voiced b d ɡ
breathy ɡʱ
Affricate voiceless
Fricative voiceless s (ʃ) h
voiced z
Nasal m n ŋ
Trill/Tap r ɽ
Approximant w l j
  • /p/ can be heard as [ɸ] in intervocalic and word-final positions.
  • /t k/ can be heard as [t̪ʰ x] in word-initial and intervocalic positions.
  • A /ʃ/ sound is rare, and in some cases, is a free variant sound of /s/.[9][10]

Medieval Chakma[edit]

The Chakma and Daingnet people now speak what may be considered divergent dialects of Magadhi Prakrit. However, this is due to language shift from a Tibeto-Burman language; that medieval language may have been related to Sak[11] or Chairel[12] (and therefore of the Brahmaputran branch).

Writing system[edit]

The Chakma script is an abugida that belongs to the Brahmic family of scripts. Chakma evolved from the Burmese script, which was ultimately derived from Pallava.[13][14][15]

Sample text[edit]

The following is a sample text in Mizo of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:[16]

Changhma Bhach English
𑄝𑄬𑄇𑄴 𑄟𑄚𑄪𑄌𑄴 𑄚𑄨𑄢𑄨𑄞𑄨𑄣𑄨 𑄥𑄧𑄁 𑄃𑄨𑄌𑄴𑄎𑄮𑄖𑄴 𑄃𑄳𑄃 𑄃𑄇𑄴𑄇𑄥𑄁 𑄚𑄨𑄚𑄬𑄭 𑄎𑄧𑄚𑄴𑄟𑄚𑄴𑅁 𑄖𑄢𑄢𑄴 𑄃𑄬𑄘 𑄃𑄳𑄃 𑄝𑄪𑄖𑄴𑄙𑄨 𑄃𑄊𑄬; 𑄥𑄬𑄚𑄧𑄖𑄳𑄠𑄴 𑄝𑄬𑄇𑄴𑄅𑄚𑄧𑄢𑄴 𑄃𑄬𑄇𑄴𑄎𑄧𑄚𑄴 𑄃𑄢𑄬𑄇𑄴 𑄎𑄧𑄚𑄧𑄢𑄴 𑄛𑄳𑄢𑄧𑄖𑄨 𑄉𑄧𑄟𑄴 𑄘𑄮𑄣𑄴 𑄌𑄨𑄘𑄳𑄠𑄬 𑄚𑄨𑄚𑄬𑄭 𑄌𑄧𑄣𑄚 𑄅𑄪𑄌𑄨𑄖𑄴𑅁 All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Educational institutions[edit]

The Chakma language is being taught in many government and private schools in India (Tripura, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh) and Bangladesh. The Chakma language was officially introduced in primary schools by the government of Tripura under The Directorate of Kokborok & Other Minority Languages in 2004 through Bengali script and since 2013 through Chakma script (also known as Ajhā Pāṭh). Presently, the Chakma language is being taught in 87 schools.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Table A-1.4 Ethnic Population by Group and Sex" (PDF). Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. 2021. p. 33. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b Chakma language at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  3. ^ "Distict Census Handbook Lawngtlai" (PDF). Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General.
  4. ^ "Languages: Online Activism To Save Chakma Language". Rising Voices. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  5. ^ Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network (31 August 2012). "Chakma script to be introduced in Tripura". E-Pao! Headlines. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  6. ^ a b Chakma Language, The Directorate of Kokborok & Other Minority Languages, Govt. of Tripura, India.
  7. ^ Chowdhury, K. R. (21 May 2013). "Native tongue offers ethnic children a good start". Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Bangladesh's Censor Board Blocks the Country's First Chakma-Language Film". Global Voices. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  9. ^ Tanchangya, Shanta Rakshit (December 2013). A comparative study of vowels in Chakma and English (PDF) (BA). BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 February 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  10. ^ Bhattacharyya, Sumana (2004). A Linguistic study of Chakma. University of Calcutta.
  11. ^ Bradley, David (2002). "The Subgrouping of Tibeto-Burman". In Beckwith, Christopher I. (ed.). Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages. Brill. p. 83. ISBN 978-90-04-12424-0.
  12. ^ Voegelin, Charles Frederick & Florence Marie Robinett Voegelin. 1977. Classification and Index of the World's Languages. New York: Elsevier. ISBN 0-444-00155-7
  13. ^ Talukdar, S. P. (2010). Genesis of Indigenous Chakma Buddhists and Their Pulverization Worldwide. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 9788178357584.
  14. ^ Mru: Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh. Birkhäuser. 11 November 2013. ISBN 9783034856942.
  15. ^ "Proposal for encoding the Chakma script in the UCS" (PDF). Unicode.
  16. ^ "UDHR - First article, all languages". Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  • Cāṅmā, Cirajyoti and Maṅgal Cāṅgmā. 1982. Cāṅmār āg pudhi (Chakma primer). Rāṅamāṭi:Cāṅmābhāṣā Prakāśanā Pariṣad.
  • Khisa, Bhagadatta. 2001. Cāṅmā pattham pāt (Chakma primer.) Rāṅamāṭi: Tribal Cultural Institute(TCI).
  • Singā. 2004. Phagadāṅ

External links[edit]

Media related to Chakma language at Wikimedia Commons