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Rohingya language

Rohingya is a language spoken by the Rohingya Muslim people of Arakan (Rakhine), Burma (Myanmar). It is linguistically similar to the Chittagonian dialect spoken in neighboring south-eastern Chittagong region of Bangladesh . It also has a large number of Urdu, Persian, Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, Burmese and English words.



Rohingyalish is the modern writing system of Rohingya people. The word Rohingyalish is derived from the two words Rohingya and English due to the fact that it uses mainly Roman script which is completely different from that of the previously used scripts such as Arabic, Urdu, Hanifi-Script and Burmese.

Written in Arabic script, the first Rohingya language texts are more than 300 years old. While Arakan was under British rule (1826–1948), Rohingya people used mainly English and Urdu languages as basic means of written communication. Since the independence in 1948, the national language Burmese has been used in all official communications. Since early 1960s, Rohingya scholars have started to realize the need for a writing system for their own dialect which is different from that of Arabic, Urdu, Persian and Burmese.

In 1975 Master Sultan and his colleagues had developed a writing system using Arabic script. Due to major shortcomings in Arabic script to represent the dialect, some other scholars have soon adopted Urdu script to narrow the gap. Since Rohingya dialect is one of the most difficult Asian languages, the Arabic and Urdu scripts cannot produce all needed sounds. Therefore, most of the Rohingyas still find it quite difficult to read either Arabic or Urdu script versions of the language.

In other hand, Molana Hanif and his colleagues, have developed a new set of right-to-left oriented characters that are mainly based on Arabic script except a few from Latin and Burmese. This approach solved the reading problem in certain degrees and received appreciation from Rohingya Islamic scholars for whom media of study is purely in Arabic and Urdu. However, the new script got criticism for being very clumsy and the characters very similar to each other, requiring longer memorization time and careful writing to avoid confusion. More importantly, the major drawback is that it would require enormous work to standardize the new characters in today's computers and Internet media and the hassle to write in right-to-left direction.

Soon afterwards, E.M. Siddique has taken a complete radical approach to develop the Rohingya language using Latin letters only so as to eliminate all possible difficulties to write in today's electronic media such as Computers, Internet and mobile phones. The result is a quick to learn excellent writing system known as Rohingyalish that comprises 26 English letters, five accented vowels, and two other Latin characters carefully selected to represent the two distinguished Asian sounds known as the tongue rolling and the 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
Fig-1. Rohingya Character Set Table

The character set table of the Rohingya language writing system uses Latin letters A to Z along with the two other characters Ç and Ñ shown above in green background. In addition to five normal English vowels (aeiou), the language also uses five accented vowels (áéíóú). Rohingya is one of the most difficult Asian languages, therefore it was a very challenging job to write it using only Latin letters. However, the designer's intuitive concepts have made the writing not only perfect, but also, remarkably simple and easy to learn in minutes.

Usage of c, ç and ñ

C sounds neither k nor s in Rohingya. It sounds equal to sh only. Therefore, Rohingya word shamish should be written as camic (=spoon).

Ç closely sounds like rd, that is, a retroflex r. So sha-Rda should be written as caça (=mat).

Ñ closely sounds like an'h, that is the nasal sound which is widely used in Asia. So fan'h-s, should be written as fañs (=five).


To type Rohingyalish in computers with Microsoft Windows, add US International keyboard from control panel and then remove previous "US" keyboard. To type one of these characters (áéíóúç ), first type the single quote(' ) followed by the corresponding character in (aeiouc ). To type (ñ ) first type (~ ) followed by (n ). With US International keyboard setting, the characters (', ", ~ and ^ ) work as trigger characters only (do not display until you type another character), so to get them alone type spacebar after each one.


A Rohingya word may give you two different meanings based on whether it is pronounced in normal (soft) mode or in stressed (hard) mode. For example if the word Ful is pronounced in normal mode, its meaning is Bridge/hole, but in stressed mode its meaning is Flower. To overcome this problem, two types of vowels are used namely normal vowels and stressed vowels.

Normal vowels

a, e, i, o, u are normal (unstressed) vowels that give soft sounds as in the word Ful which means bridge or hole.

Stressed vowels

á, é, í, ó, ú are stressed (accented) vowels that give stressed sounds as in the word Fúl which means flower.

 Normal vowel usage        Stressed vowel usage
 Sal = roof,               Sál = tree bark
 Fan = betel leaf,         Fán = trap
 Bet = cane (n.),          Bét = intention
 Tel = oil,                Thél= push
 Tir = arrow,              Tír = up-right position
 Fir = person achieved     Fír =turn
       religious light,
 Gor = do,                 Gór = home
 Zor = fever,              Zór = rain
 Ful = bridge or hole,     Fúl = flower
 Sul = hair,               Súl = skin (v.)

Phonemic vowels

 1        2        3        4        5
Last     Fall     As        -        -
Men      Me       Eye       -        -
Hit      First    Ice      Crisis    -
For      Son      Old      Women    Do
Put      But      Use       -        -

Unlike English language, Rohingya language has fixed the sound of each vowel to a particular sound only, and thus each vowel maintains the same sound in all Rohingya words. In the Phonemic vowels example shown above in tabular form, only words -Last, Men, Hit, For and Put- in the first column show the correct vowel sounds that Rohingyalish chooses to use, and all the other vowel sounds in other columns are not used at all.

But, one disadvantage in doing so is that it lacks one important sound that is the sound of true (o) as used in English word old in the Phonemic vowels example above. Solution to this problem seems to create a new vowel character, but instead, joint-vowels (ou) is used for representing the true (o) sound, as the sound lies in the middle of the two Rohingya sounds (o) and (u).

Rohingya vowel set

In all, Rohingya has a total of six vowels in each vowel category (normal and stressed) as below.

Normal vowel set..:    a   e   i   o   u   ou
Stressed vowel set:    á   é   í   ó   ú   óu

"América on full tour" is an easy to remember English phrase that shows the sound of each Rohingyalish vowel. Similarly, "Alemi modú houli" is an easy to remember Rohingya language phrase which means International Honey Center.


Fata    (Fa-tha)   = leaves (n.)
Melé    (MayLáy)   = can be opened
Cíçi    (Shí-Rdi)  = ladder (note: "ç" represents a retroflex "r" sound)
Foró    (fawráu)   = read
Futú    (Fu-thú)   = baby
Gouru   (Go-Ru)    = cow
Ciñçí   (Shiñ-Rdí) = letter (note: "ñ" represents a nasal sound)

Straight and Circular sounds

In Rohingya language, there are mainly two types of sound formations, the straight sound formations and the circular sound formations.

Straight sounds

Straight sounds are those that are formed by using a single vowel such as a, e, i, o, u and ou. Ou is treated in Rohingyalish as if it is a single character. As discussed earlier, Rohingyalish assigns mono-sound (a fixed sound) to each of these vowels.

Circular sounds

Circular sounds are those that are formed by using two vowels, the 2nd one being always (i) such as ai, ei, oi and ui. The sound of each vowel pair is explained below.

Ai: ''pronounced as āy, i, or i?e.
For the sake of simplicity Rohingyalish considers the letter y as a consonant only. As a result My, By and etc. are not valid words any more, because y is used here as a vowel. To tackle this problem ai is used in place of y such as Mai and Bai. Similarly the English words Hi and Fi are phonetically equal to Hai and Fai in Rohingyalish. Likewise English words Mile, Fine, Rise can be phonetically expressed, in Rohingyalish, as Máil, Fáin, Ráis. These rules greatly reduce the ambiguity in vowel usages and make the language much easier.

Ei: pronounced as æi, aei, or a?e.
Rohingyalish ei is almost equal to English ai. For example, English words main, fail, tailor, mail, nail, rail, sail, tail are phonetically equal to méin, féil, téilar, méil, néil, réil, séil, théil in Rohingyalish. Similarly the words cane, sale, same, ate, plane can be phonetically written as kéin, séil, séim, éit, pléin in Rohingyalish.

Oi: pronounced as oui or oei (not wy, wai, oy, or y).
This is one of the most frequently used circular sound in Rohingya Language. Unfortunately, the sound of oi here is different from that of English one. English oi sounds like wy or oy such as in English words soil, coin, noice, rollroyce. But Rohingyalish oi sounds like oui or oei such as in Rohingya words Loi (=take), Boi (=sit), Ói (=yes), Goijjé (=done), Soil (=rice), Thoin (=tin), Moinna (=sharp) and so on. It is really hard to find an English word that can represent the Rohingya oi sound.

Ui: pronounced as wui.
This sound is the same as it is used in English words such as Quik, Quit, Buik. Some examples of Rohingya words are Kuissa (=worm), Tui (=you), Muillo (=value), Gúijja (=covered).


(1)Straight-Sound Words:
       Fatol (Fa-thol) = thin
       Meçi  (May-Rdi) = soil
       Bála  (Bha-la)  = good
       Salu  (Sa-lu)   = fast
       Bouli (Bo-li)   = fatty
(2)Circular-Sound Words:
       Gail   (Gy-il)   = scolding
       Beil   (Bay-il)  = sun
       Soil   (Sou-il)  = rice
       Tui    (Thui)    = you, you are
(3)Circular and Straight Sound together Words:
       Failla (Fy-illa) = dish
       Mouloi (Mo-loui) = teacher
       Balúic (Ba-lúish)= pillow
(4)A Rohingya sentence that gives all circular sounds.
       Hailla Meillós Tui Óineh?
      (Hylla May-il-loss thui óui-nayy?) = Yesterday opened, you, yes?

Long sounds and variants

Long sounds

In Rohingya language, the meaning of a word can change if you extend the sound of a vowel in a word. So to extend the sound Rohingyalish uses double vowels as illustrated below.

Normal Sound(single vowel)   Extended Sound(double vowels)
do   (Dau)   = give,         doo   (Daw)    = knife
no   (Nau)   = nine(9)       noo   (Naw)    = small boat
zo   (Zau)   = go            zoo   (Zaw)    = lucky period
dhor (Dhau-r)= afraid        dhoor (Dhaw-r) = heavy rain
mana (Ma-na) = make agree    maana (Ma-a-na)= free
nek  (nay-k) = husband       neel  (nay-el) = leave
nil  (nil)   = bamboo-skin   biili (be-e-li)= birth given lady
mur  (Mu-r)  = deep          muu   (mu-wu)  = face

In the examples above, single o, a, e, i or u are used in the words (left side) for short sounds, while double oo, aa, ee, ii or uu are used in the words (right side) for long sounds.


Rohingya language is very sensitive in extending the sound, as there are four ways of extending the sound. The first one, which is the simplest, uses double vowels as mentioned above such as aa, ee, ii, oo, uu. The other three variants differed on how double vowels are replaced with accented vowels. You can replace the first vowel, the second vowel, or both vowels with accented one such as (áa), (aá), or (áá).

Four variants
of long vowels
Pronunciation Meaning
gaa (Ga-a) body
gáa (Gha-a) infection
g (Ga-ah) sing
gáá (Gha-ah) expressing animal or natural sound

     Gaat gáa óiye-dé manúic-cwá gana gaár.
     The man with infection in the body is singing.

In the example above, the 1st word has double normal vowels aa that gives normal steady extension of sound. The 2nd word is started with normal sound (normal a) and ended with raised sound (accented á). Th 3rd word is started with raised sound(á) but ended with normal(a) sound. The 4th word is both started and ended with raised sounds(áá) which is not actually used in normal Rohingya talks but rather embedded in the talks to simulate the animal or natural sounds such as Dúúm the falling sound.


fool (Fawl)  = mad,      foól  (Fau-auhl)  = fault
hoor (Hawr)  = cloth,    hoór  (Hau-auhr)  = curse
muu  (Mu-u)  = face,     muúntu(Mu-uhn-tu) = in front of
neel (Ne-el) = out,      meél  (Me-ehl)    = factory
boól (Bo-ohl)= ball,     sóol  (sauh-aul)  = sheep

Dual Characters

There are some Rohingya sounds for which no direct character exists, and usually, the solution to that problem is to use two (or more) joint-characters as shown below. For the natural easiness of Rohingya language, Rohingyalish has in some cases, interchanged the sound of the original character with the sound of the joint-characters such as D with Dh, and T with Th. Therefore 'D' is pronounced as English 'The' and, 'Dh' is pronounced as English 'Di' (not Dy). Likewise, 'Ta' is pronounced as English 'Tha' and, 'Tha' is pronounced as English 'Ta' as seen below.

Examples of
Rohingya words
Examples of
English words
D the Dut (=milk), Dak (=mark) father, gather
Dh d Dhañço (=thick), Dhak (=call) dome, dog
H' h Háva (=air), Hát (=hand) hello
H kh Háiyi (=eaten), Hóro (=soar) Khaled (name)
Kh kh Kháled (name), Khátu (name) Khaled (name), Khatu (name)
N n Norom (=soft), Nun (=salt) north, noon
Ng ng Ngapúra (village name) Ngapura (village name)
Ny ny Nyong-Cóng (village name) Nyaung Chaung (village name)
T th Tua (=search) teeth, thin
Th t Thambu (=tent) tent, tin
Ts ts Tsáni (=next in Arabic) tsunami

Rohingya Grammar

Definite Articles

1. If a noun ends with a vowel then the article is either án or if singular, or ún if plural or uncountable.
Usually 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 for singular or ún for plural.

 Debal  lán   (the wall)          Debal  lún   (the walls)
 Mes    sán   (the table)         Mes    sún   (the tables)
 Kitap  p(the book)          Kitap  pún   (the books)
 Manúic c(the man)           Manúic cún   (the men)

3. If a noun ends with r, then the article is g plus án or for singular or ún for plural.

 Tar   gán    (the wire)          Tar   gún   (the wires)
 Duar  gán    (the door)          Duar  gún   (the doors)
 Kuñir g(the dog)           Kuñir gún   (the dogs)
 Faár  g(the mountain)      Faár  gún   (the mountains)

Indefinite Articles

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 leave)          Hodún fata    (some leaves)
 Ekkán fothú   (a picture)        Hodún Fothú   (some pictures)
     -or-                               -or-
 Fata  uggwá   (a leave)          Fata  hodún   (some leaves)
 Fothú ekkán   (a picture)        Fothú hodún   (some pictures)

Sentence Syntax

Unlike English, 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 Language can identify all 12 different forms of tenses as shown in the examples below. In these tenses, the helping verb félai shows perfect action like English "has/have" and félaat shows perfect continuous action like English "has/have been". The helping verb táki and táikki refer similar to that of English "be" and "been".

Verb-form-suffix (basic and/or helping verb) changes in two ways; by degree of person as well as by tense. The suffix ~ir, ~yi, ~lám, ~youm are used for the first person, the suffix ~or, ~yó, ~lá, ~bá for the 2nd person, and the suffix ~ar, ~ye, ~l, ~bou for the 3rd person. Similarly the suffix ~ir, ~or, ~ar refer present continuous tense, the suffix ~yi, ~yó, ~ye, refer to present perfect tense, the suffix ~lám, ~lá, ~l refer to past and the suffix ~youm, ~bá, ~bou refers to the future tense.

For 1st 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.)

For 2nd 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  félai.        [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 háai.              [Tui háai.]              (You ate.) Note: refer far past.
(b)Tuñí/Oñne háat táikki.       [Tui háat táikki.]       (You were eating.)
(c)Tuñí/Oñne hái  félai.        [Tui hái  félai.]        (You had eaten.)
(d)Tuñí/Oñne hái  félaat táikki.[Tui hái  félaat táikki.](You had been eating.)
3. Future
(a)Tuñí/Oñne hái.               [Tui hái.]               (You will eat.)
(b)Tuñí/Oñne háat táki.         [Tui háat táki.]         (You will be eating.)
(c)Tuñí/Oñne hái  félai.        [Tui hái  félai.]        (You will have eaten.)
(d)Tuñí/Oñne hái  félaat táki.  [Tui hái  félaat táki.]  (You will have been eating.)

For 3rd 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.)


Number Person Gender Pronouns Possessive
Subject Object Possessive Reflexive
Singular 1st m/f (I ) aññí añáre añár aññínize añár
2nd m/f (you ) tuñí
3rd m (he ) ite *
te *
uite **
íte **
m/f (he/she ) ibá *
uibá **
íba **
n1 (it )
n2 (it )
Plural 1st m/f (we ) añára añáráre añárár añáránize añárár
2nd m/f (you ) tuáñrá tuáñráre tuáñrár tuáñránize tuáñrár
3rd m/f (they ) itará *
tará *
uitará **
ítara **
n1 (they )
n2 (they )
iín *
uiín **

Gender: m=male, f=female, n=neuter., *=the person or object is near., **=the person or object is far.

See also

External links

For further information on Rohingya Language please refer the following links.

Other related links

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