List of endangered languages in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh hosts a number of endangered languages that are defined as languages at risk of falling out of use, generally because it has few surviving speakers. If it loses all of its native speakers, it becomes an extinct language. UNESCO defines four levels of language endangerment between "safe" (not endangered) and "extinct":[1]

  • Vulnerable
  • Definitely endangered
  • Severely endangered
  • Critically endangered


According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics data from 2011, the country has 27 "small anthropological groups" consisting of 17,84,000 people in total.[2] Ethnologists in Bangladesh and indigenous leaders claim that 48 indigenous communities, a total of 5 million people, are present in Bangladesh. They host 4 language families with 30 ethno-languages. 12-18 of them are endangered at varying degrees. International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) in Dhaka, a government institute, launched a project to reservation and mobilization of 37 languages (including Bengali, the dominant language of Bangladesh). Only 4 of the target languages have their own scripts — Chakma, Marma, Mru, and Meithei.[3] Some other indigenous communities, especially the 2 lakh people living in Rajshahi, use a language called "Sadri" adopting alphabets from Hindi, Bangla, Urdu and other languages.[4] It is used in the Sylhet tea garden area by Telegu, Santhali, Nepali and Rai communities as a lingua franca.[3]

The Hill Tracts, a forested upland area in southeastern Bangladesh, is home to more than a dozen indigenous peoples. 50% of the indigenous people of there have no formal schooling; less than 8% complete primary education, and only 2% completes secondary. Most of the children don't understand the instructions written in Bengali. In north-eastern Bangladesh, Hari, Banai, Dalui, and Rajbongshi indigenous communities have started to use Bengali leaving their native languages due to the lack of social and economical recognition.[3]


Language Countries Speakers Status Comments Ref
Bishnupriya Manipuri Creole[1] [5] India, Bangladesh 115,000 Vulnerable    
Bawm[1] Bangladesh 14,000 Definitely endangered    
Chak[5] Bangladesh 5,500 Definitely endangered    
Asho Chin[5] Myanmar, Bangladesh 2,340 Definitely endangered    
Chin, Falam[5] Myanmar, Bangladesh 120,000 Vulnerable    
Chin, Haka[5] Myanmar, Bangladesh 446,264 Vulnerable    
Hajong[5] Bangladesh, India 68,000 Vulnerable    
Khasi[5] India, Bangladesh 865,000 Definitely endangered    
Koda[5] Bangladesh, India 1,600 Severely endangered    
Kok Borok[1][5] Bangladesh, India 695,000 Vulnerable    
Kurux[1] Bangladesh 14,000 Definitely endangered    
Marma[5] Bangladesh 166,500 Vulnerable    
Megam[5] Bangladesh 6,870 Severely endangered    
Mru[5] Bangladesh 51,230 Definitely endangered    
Pangkhua[5] Bangladesh 2,730 Severely endangered    
Pnar[5] India, Bangladesh 88,000 Definitely endangered    
Sadri, Oraon[5] Bangladesh 166,000 Vulnerable    
Sauria Paharia[5] India, Bangladesh 117,000 Definitely endangered    

In addition to this list International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) in Dhaka counts a number of other languages as endangered including Lushai (959 speakers), Khumi (3369 speakers), Khiyang (3899 speakers), Rengmatia (40 speakers), and Patra (203 speakers).[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Moseley, Christopher, ed. (2010). Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger. Memory of Peoples (3rd ed.). Paris: UNESCO Publishing. ISBN 978-92-3-104096-2. Retrieved 2015-04-11. 
  2. ^ Muktasree Chakma Sathi, "Disappearing Mother Tongues", Daily Tribune, page 8, May 30, 2014
  3. ^ a b c d Special Correspondent, "Disappearing indigenous languages", BD Chronicles, 21 February 2015
  4. ^ Emran Hossain, "30 Adivasi languages on verge of extinction", Daily Star, October 18, 2009
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Endangered Language Alliance. "Bangladesh: Some endangered languages" (PDF). Endangered Language Alliance. Retrieved 6 October 2012.