Chakma language

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Changmha, Daingnet
𑄌𑄋𑄴𑄟𑄳𑄦 𑄞𑄌𑄴
'Changmha Bhach' in Chakma script
Native toBangladesh and India
RegionChittagong Hill Tracts, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura
EthnicityChakma, Daingnet
Native speakers
326,000 in Bangladesh, 228,281 in India,[1][2] also in Myanmar
Chakma script, Latin script, Bengali script[3]
Language codes
ISO 639-3ccp[4]

Chakma language (/ˈɑːkmə/; autonym: 𑄌𑄋𑄴𑄟𑄳𑄦 𑄞𑄌𑄴, Changmha Bhach) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Chakma and Daingnet people. The language has common features with other languages in the region like the Chittagonian dialect of Bengali language, Tanchangya, Arakanese and others. It is spoken by nearly 310,000 people in southeast Bangladesh in Chittagong Hill Tracts, and another 300,000 in India in Assam and Tripura and 40,265 in Mizoram. It is written using the Chakma script, which is also called Ajhā pāṭh, sometimes romanised Ojhopath. Literacy in Chakma script is low.

It is officially recognised by neither the Bangladesh government nor the Indian government, the only two countries where local Chakma people live. It is the official language in the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) which consists of the Tuichawng constituency of Lawngtlai district in Mizoram.[citation needed]

Although there were no Chakma language radio or television stations as of 2011, the language has a presence in social media and on YouTube. The Hill Education Chakma Script website provides tutorials, videos, e-books, and Chakma language forums.[6]

In 2012, the Government of Tripura announced it would "introduce Chakma language in Chakma script in primary schools of Tripura. Imparting of education up to elementary stage in mother tongue is a national policy. To begin with Chakma language subjects in its own scripts will be introduced in 58 primary schools in Chakma concentrated areas."[7]

"In preparation for the January 2014 education season, the national curriculum and textbook board has already started printing books in six languages ... Chakma, Kokborok (Tripura community), Marma, Santal, Sadri (Orao community) and Achik."[8]

Mor Thengari (My Bicycle) was Bangladesh's first Chakma-language movie. However, it was banned in Bangladesh due to its controversial plot.[9]


Chakma has eight distinct vowels.[10]:7

Vowel phonemes[10]:10
Front Central Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open-mid ɛ ɔ
Open æ ɑ

Medieval Chakma[edit]

The Chakma and Daingnet people now speak what may be considered divergent dialects of Magadhi Prakrit. However, this is due to language shift from a Tibeto-Burman language; that medieval language may have been related to Sak[11] or Chairel[12] (and therefore of the Brahmaputran branch).


  1. ^ "Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength – 2011" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India.
  2. ^ CENSUS OF INDIA 2011. "LANGUAGE" (PDF). Government of India. p. 12.
  3. ^ "Chakma". Ethnologue. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  4. ^; Language.
  5. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chakma". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  6. ^ "Languages: Online Activism To Save Chakma Language". Rising Voices. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  7. ^ Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network (31 August 2012). "Chakma script to be introduced in Tripura". E-Pao! Headlines. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
  8. ^ Chowdhury, K. R. (21 May 2013). "Native tongue offers ethnic children a good start". Archived from the original on 25 June 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Bangladesh's Censor Board Blocks the Country's First Chakma-Language Film". Global Voices. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  10. ^ a b Tanchangya, Shanta Rakshit (December 2013). A comparative study of vowels in Chakma and English (PDF) (BA). BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  11. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2002). Medieval Oxomiya Languages. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-12424-0.
  12. ^ Voegelin, Charles Frederick & Florence Marie Robinett Voegelin. 1977. Classification and Index of the World's Languages. New York: Elsevier. ISBN 0-444-00155-7
  • Cāṅmā, Cirajyoti and Maṅgal Cāṅgmā. 1982. Cāṅmār āg pudhi (Chakma primer). Rāṅamāṭi:Cāṅmābhāṣā Prakāśanā Pariṣad.
  • Khisa, Bhagadatta. 2001. Cāṅmā pattham pāt (Chakma primer.) Rāṅamāṭi: Tribal Cultural Institute(TCI).
  • Singā. 2004. Phagadāṅ

External links[edit]

Media related to Chakma language at Wikimedia Commons