History of Rohingya LanguageRohingya
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 SIL.org, 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 óuCircular Vowels:
Soft: ai ei oi ui
Hard: ái éi ói úiExtended 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 úúExtended Circular
Hard-XC: aái eéi oói ooi uúiVowels:
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.
Rohingya Language Sample and Meaning in English
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
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