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Posted: 2012-08-09, 22:04
by bluejay390
So, I was reading about the Rohingya people in the news today which led me to wikipedia which in turn led me to the page about their language. That's why I'm making this thread.

Rohingya is an indo-European language that is related to the Chittagonian language spoken in Bangladesh. Chittagonian itself is closely related to Bengali. The Rohingya people live in Myanmar but are treated like foreigners, and many are refugees in Bangladesh. The Rohingya language has been written in many different scripts including more recently the Latin alphabet. The Latin alphabet is the very popular now but a version of the Arabic alphabet is also widely understood. The popularity of the Latin alphabet being used seems to be largely due to computers not having a unicode for a different alphabet script for the Rohingya language.

Historically, the Arabic script was used to write Rohingya for over 200 years. However, it was difficult to read as Rohingya has sounds not represented in the Arabic script. The Rohingya [rhg] language community leaders in Myanmar have chosen to use the Arabic script for modern usage as well. This modern use of the script is called “Rohingya Fonna.” The Rohingya Fonna script is essentially this historic script, but with some extra symbols as the unmodifed Arabic script is unsuited to the Rohingya language. There are also proponents for using the Latin script and this is called “Rohingyalish.” Another script, called “Hanifi”, is a completely new script with elements of Arabic, Burmese and English. This proposal does not address Rohingyalish or Hanifi.

Source: Proposal to add Arabic script characters for African and Asian languages

Some useful links ... yalish.htm ... ge-Book-aZ

Has anyone here studied or flirted with the Rohingya language before? I'm curious as to what it sounds like.

Re: Rohingya

Posted: 2012-08-10, 1:25
by Meera
Very interesting, Lisa! Thanks for sharing this.

Re: Rohingya

Posted: 2012-08-28, 22:24
by pandey
I am working on a Unicode encoding for the Hanifi Rohingya script. It is one of the scripts being actively promoted for writing Rohingya. The document is available at A Roman-based alphabet ("Rohingyalish") is being promoted for writing Rohingya.

Re: Rohingya

Posted: 2012-08-29, 10:52
by モモンガ
It's really a sad story, I hope the Burmese government can democratize fast, and abide more to human rights.

pandey wrote:I am working on a Unicode encoding for the Hanifi Rohingya script. It is one of the scripts being actively promoted for writing Rohingya. The document is available at A Roman-based alphabet ("Rohingyalish") is being promoted for writing Rohingya.

So they have they own script too?!
So how many writing systems are there in the world?

I read about scripts all the time, and still I sometimes learn something new.

Re: Rohingya

Posted: 2012-09-19, 15:10
by bluejay390
pandey wrote:I am working on a Unicode encoding for the Hanifi Rohingya script. It is one of the scripts being actively promoted for writing Rohingya. The document is available at A Roman-based alphabet ("Rohingyalish") is being promoted for writing Rohingya.

That is very interesting! Thank you for sharing that. Please feel free to post more information on the unicode encoding you are working on here if you want to. I am really interested in learning about all the different scripts around the world. The Rohingya script is very beautiful by the way.

Writing Systems of the Rohingya people

Posted: 2013-01-25, 0:30
by sidqm
Rohingya is one of the most oppressed community in Arakan, Burma (Myanmar). Rohingya population is about 3.5 millions including those left the country to save their lives. According to the UN officials there are at least 800,000 Rohingya in Arakan though the actual figure is much higher.

Rohingya speaks Rohingya language which is some what similar to that of Chittagong district but not intelligible to Bengali language which is spoken in most parts of the Bangladesh. According to the close studies, Rohingya language includes 30% of Arabic words, 30% of Urdu, 15% of Farsi, 5% Hindi, 2% Bengali and 3% Burmese. Rohingya language was first written in Arabic script about 350 years ago. It was lost during the British colony and revived again in 1973 but has reading difficulties. Hanifi script solved reading problems in 1983 but characters are complex and many are similar needing much work to be done.

However, the latest Latin script version, known as Rohingyalish or simply Rohingya, not only solved all problems but also its intuitive concepts made the writing system extremely easy to learn and use in no time and give speaking and writing exactly match to each other. It has only 26 English and 2 Latin letters (Ç,Ñ). The use of 6 vowels, 4 diphthongs and 5 accented vowels facilitate any one, native or non-native, how to exactly pronounce words.

Since ISO recognized it on 18 July 2007 by giving ISO code "rhg", Latin script has been used worldwide to translate documents into Rohingya. It has got school books and Quran translated. Currently, Rohingya grammar book is under development with SIL people in UK. Rohingya dictionaries are available in many languages. For more details, visit

History of Rohingya Language

Posted: 2013-01-25, 0:42
by sidqm
History of Rohingya Language

Rohingya Language was first written in Arabic script in the year 1650 by Shah Alawal, the great poet of Arakan. In 1973 Master Sultan revived it and received appreciation from many Rohingya scholars. However, due to reading problems in Arabic version, Molana Hanif and colleagues invented new alphabets in 1983 and solved reading problem significantly and it too got appreciation from scholars. However, complexity of the alphabets and right-to-left orientation make it uneasy to use in today’s computer, internet media and mobile devices.

Therefore, in the year 2000, Eng. Mohammed Siddique came up with an intuitive idea to write Rohingya language using 28 Latin letters only. The new concept makes the writing system amazingly simple yet the speaking and the writing perfectly match to each other in an astonishing degree making it 'What you write is what you read or vice versa'. So it requires only few minutes of training to read, write and master the language. This new system, known as Rohingyalish, has been recognized by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) on 18th July 2007. ISO assigned unique language code ISO 639-3 “rhg” to the language and listed among the world languages as shown in, the ISO authorized website. Moreover, it has been published in the world language book 'Ethnologue'.

Rohingyalish uses all 26 English alphabets and the two Latin characters ç and ñ to get retroflex r and nasal sounds e.g Faça, Fañs, Keñça. A number of Rohingya words such as Shamish, Shíshshiçímas consist of multiple sh causing reading difficulty. So Rohingyalish defined c as equivalent to sh sound and simplified the above words as camic and cícciçímas. The alphabet order is: abcçdefghijklmnñopqrstuvwxyz.

Basic Vowels:
Soft: a e i o u ou
Hard: á é í ó ú óu

Circular Vowels:
Soft: ai ei oi ui
Hard: ái éi ói úi

Extended Vowels
Soft: aa ee ii oo uu
Hard-01: aá eé ií oó uú
Hard-10: áa ée íi óo úu
Hard-11: áá éé íí óó úú

Extended Circular
Hard-XC: aái eéi oói ooi uúi

There are mainly three types of soft vowels; Basic (a-e-i-o-u-ou), Circular (ai-ei-oi-ui) and Extended (aa-ee-ii-oo-uu) as shown above. Each set has a stressed set which are; Basic (á-é-í-ó-ú-óu), Circular (ái-éi-ói-úi) and the Extended which has three variations (aá-eé-ií-oó-uú), (áa-ée-íi-óo-úu) and (áá-éé-íí-óó-úú). There is also another vowel type called Extended-circular which is a mix of both circular and extended as (aái-eéi-oói-ooi-uúi).

Basic Vowels:
There are six basic vowels (a, e, i, o, u, ou). Each basic vowel is strictly defined to have only one sound and all six sounds can be found in an English phrase “america on full tour”. The basic vowels can be either soft or hard. The soft vowels (a, e, i, o, u, ou) are pronounced soft and the corresponding hard vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú, óu) are pronounced hard (stressed). Please note that in óu, only the 1st char is accented and not both.

Circular Vowels:
You get four circular vowels (ai, ei, oi, ui) by simply adding (i) to four basic vowels. Each circular vowel is strictly defined to have only one sound only. To know the sounds of four circular vowels, four Rohingya words (bai, beil, boil, mui) are compared having same sound in English as (by, bail, bouyl, muei). While (ai, ei, oi, ui) gives soft sounds (ái, éi, ói, úi) give you the corresponding stressed sounds.

Extended Vowels:
(a, e, i, o, u) are the 1st five basic short vowels. To get extended sounds of these, double the letters as (aa, ee, ii, oo, uu). Ou is by itself extended. You can get stressed extended vowels in three different ways; (áa, ée, íi, óo, úu), (aá, eé, ií, oó, uú) or (áá, éé, íí, óó, úú). Examples are: Gaa=body, Gaá=sing, Gáa=wound.

Extended-circular Vowels:
Add i to the extended vowel set (aá, eé, ií, oó, uú) and you will get extended-circular vowel set (aái, eéi, oói, uúi). Examples are: Baáizar=overflowing, Beéinna=morning, Foóila=first, Ooin=fire. Ruúil-mas=fish.

Rohingyalish Character Set Table-28

Aa Bb Cc Çç Dd Ee Ff
Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm
Nn Ññ Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss
Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

Rohingya Language Sample and Meaning in English
Oti cúndor cándor, cúndoijja Roháng,
Táikoum añára biák miliya, Diya jan foran, diya lou wór gám.
Very beautiful, nice and attractive is Roháng Land,
We will live all together, By giving lives, by giving blood.

Háil meçi miçá faní, Duniyair woijja gán,
Bab dada abad goijjé, Diya jan foran, diya lou wór gám,
In the land of green and sweet water, It is best in the world.
Acquired by our forefathers, By giving blood, by giving lives.

Meçir óiya, Fanír faiya, Doijjar tolor gán,
Sairóu hañsa basai raikóum, Diya jan foran, diya lou wór gám.
With soil produces and, water provides in the sea bed,
We will protect all four sides, By giving lives, by giving blood.

Written by A. Gaffar
Rohingya Language Foundation, London, UK