Tanchangya language

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Tanchangya
Native toBangladesh
RegionChittagong Hill Tracts, Mizoram, Tripura, Rakhine State
EthnicityTanchangya people
Native speakers
(22,000 cited 1991 census)[1]
Tanchangya alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3tnv
Glottologtang1330[2]

The Tanchangya language (/ˈtɒnɒŋɛ/) is one of the eleven indigenous languages in Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh, and ethnic group in India & Myanmar. It is categories in Indo-Aryan languages, sub group of Indo Iranian branch of Indo-European language family, despite some scholars & opinion of Tibeto-Burman language family. [3]

Chakma says that Tanchangyas is ‘Real Chakma’; in private, However, A Tanchangya is Tanchangya. It has no reason why Tanchangya people is real Chakma. Moreover, he states that Tanchangya spoke a dialect slightly different from those of Chakmas.[4] It is closely related to Chakma and Chittagonian. Tanchangya language is rich to some extent with its folklore in oral literature. But due to the result of negligence very few have paid attention to it. The language has inevitably intermixed with surrounded majority languages where they are living in Myanmar, India & Bangladesh.

Vocabulary[edit]

Tanchangya Language is rooted in Indo-European languages. They are Pali, Sanskrit, Prakrit & other middle Indo-Aryan languages. The reason for being closest with the Bengali language is that because Bengali itself based on Pali, Sanskrit & Prakrit. They have adopted quite a number of words from Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, even Persian & Dutch.

Ancient Tanchangya language[edit]

Ancient Tanchangya’s words are believed to be the original words of Tanchangya since those words have been handing down a long time ago. It is not simply due to its earlier usage but it is universally understood by every Tanchangya despite any geographical distribution. According to Mr. Roti Kanta Tanchangya’s collection of some ancient Tanchangya words. [5]


Tanchangya English
Awga (অগা) Uneducated, uncivilised
Awnsur (অন্সুর্) Regularly, always
Awnawpinaw (অন-পিন); Awnaw-sawnaw (অন- সনঅ) Insane, foolish
Awrawk (অরক্) Nest
Hawla (হলা) Fry, thick shrub bushes
Awsangya (অসাঙ্যা); Besangya (বেসাঙ্যা) An unmarriageable relation
A-uk/Aruk (আ-উক্, আরুক্) Picture; Sketch

Middle India Aryan[edit]

The ancient Indo-Aryan language, Sanskrit is the most influential language impacting on most of the present middle-Aryan languages such as Hindi, Odiya, Bengali, and Assamese and even in Tanchangya language with distorted and half assimilated form. Though Tanchangya language is thought to be the Indo-Aryan language family, due to its long gap of meeting with Pāḷi and Sanskrit, their vocabularies are almost untraceable distorted forms. According to ‘Tanchangya Parichiti’ written by Biro Kumar Tanchangya of the words originated from Indo-Aryan.


Tanchangya Pāḷi/Sanskrit English
Manai, MManei, Manus, Manuit, (মানাই, মানেই, মানুইস্, মানুউত্) Manussa/Manusa Man
Mela (মেলা) Mahilā Woman
Ucu , Uju (উচু, উজু) Uju (Pāḷi) Straight

Tibeto-Burman[edit]

Tanchangay language does not belong to Tibeto-Burman language family; however, till today there are many Buddhist religious’ terms are found in the Tanchangya Language. It is believed that after the establishment of first Myanmar Empire, the Bagan Dynasty in 11th Century AD, Myanmar language and its culture influence to the neighbourning tribes in many ways.


Tanchangya Myanmar/Arakanese English
Pullyang/Pillang, (পুল্ল্যাং পিলাং) Palawng (Burmese) A traditional cane-basket
Pullang (পুলাং) Paleing (Burmese) Bottle
Dama Tagawl (ডামা তাগল্) Straight Knife
Mawng Mawng (Burmese Gong

Foreign words[edit]

In Tanchangya language it could also find few vocabularies derived from Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, Turkish, Persian, French, English, and Hindi.


Tanchangya Arabic/English/ French English
Awktaw (অক্ত) Owakta (Arabic) Time
Gawrba (গর্বা) Gorba(Arabic) Guest
Gamala/Gabala (গাবালা, গামালা) Gamela (Portuguese) Bucket
Balti (বাল্তি) Balde (Portuguese) Bucket


Opinions on Tanchangya language[edit]

Outside Tanchangya tribe, there is a common belief that there is no difference at all between Tanchangya language and Chakma language. Such an instance can be seen at Dr. Satyakam Phukam’s article named “An Analysis of the Ethno-Linguistic Roots and Connections of the Chakma and Tanchangya People”. According to him, the similarity is much compared to the difference between the words between Chakma and Tanchangya. [6] In fact, there are some similar derivation and slight modification from “da’ in Chakma language with ‘ra’ in Tanchangya language. Such as hudu jawr?(Chakma) Kuri jawt?(Tanchangya) Where are you going? Hitte idu ejawr? (Chakma) Kiyo pagi iri asyawt? (Tanchangya) Why you are coming here? In these examples, although some similar derivation words are found, each full sentence has a distinct difference in terms of grammatical allocation and complete word.


Tanchangya Chakma English
Bitsyawl (বিত্স্যল্) Bijawl (বিজল্) Smooth
Pawd (পদ্) Jangal, pawt (জাঙাল্, পত্) Road
Awna sawna (অন-সনঅ) Suli sawlaw (সুলি সলঅ) Half-brain
Dighawli (দিঘলি) Diri, bilawng (দিরি, বিলং) Long time

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tanchangya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Tangchangya". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ "In Search History of the Tanchangya Language". Tongchangya World. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  4. ^ Rupak-Debnath (2008): 167
  5. ^ Roti Kanta Tanchangya (2000): 62-65
  6. ^ "AN ANALYSIS OF THE ETHNO-LINGUISTIC ROOTS AND CONNECTIONS OF THE CHAKMA-TANCHANGYA PEOPLE" (PDF). Dr Satyakam Phukan's Webpages. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  • Debnath, Rupak (2008), Ethnographic Study of Tanchangya of CHT, CADC, South Tripura and Sittwe, Kolkata: Kreativmind

External links[edit]