To make all Rohingya to able to read & write


                      History of Rohingya Language  

Rohingya Language was first written in Arabic script in the year 1650 by Shah Alawal, the great poet of Arakan Kingdom (known as Ruháng) which is now one of the states of Burma (Myanmar). In 1973 Master Sultan revived it with great efforts and received appreciation from many Rohingya scholars. However, due to the reading problems in Arabic version, Molana Hanif and colleagues invented new alphabets in 1983 and solved reading problems significantly and they too got appreciation from scholars. However, complexity of the alphabets and right-to-left orientation make it uneasy to use it in today’s computer, internet media and mobile devices.

Therefore, in the year 2000, Eng.  Mohammed Siddique Basu 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 (view both pages 1&2). ISO assigned unique computer code as ISO 639-3 “rhg” to the language and listed it among the world languages as shown in, the ISO authorized website. Moreover, it has been published in the world language book 'Ethnologue' ( in 16th Edition. 

Rohingyalish Character Set Table-28
Click to edit table header
The alphabet order is: 
a b c ç d e f g h i j k l m 
n ñ o p q r s t u v w x y z. 

In addition it uses five accented vowels á é í ó ú for emphasizing sound.

1. Alphabet: 

Rohingyalish uses all 26 English letters plus the two Latin characters ç  (retroflex-r) and ñ (nasal-sound) respectively, for example, Faça, Fañs, Keñça. 

2. Usage of  (c):

Rohingyalish defined "c" as equivalent to English "sh" to simplify words with multiple "sh" sounds. For example Shamish (=for spoon) is written as camic and Shíshshiçímas (=a kind of fish) as cícciçímas, otherwise the words with "sh" would have been very difficult to read.  

3. Usage of  (d) & (dh):

There are two types of d sounds, d and dh for light and heavy sounds respectively. Examples of d are:  dana (=beans), dak (=mark), dabai (medicine). Example of dh are: dhula (=hand bag), dhandha (=rod).

4. Usage of  (t) & (th): 

Similarly there are t and th sounds for light and heavy sounds. Examples for are: tuta (=parrot), tui (=you). Example of th are: Thala (=lock), Thambu (=tent).  

5. Usage of  (hh) & (h):

There are two different types of h sounds in Rohingya, represented by a double hh or single h. Double hh comes only at the beginning of a word and not in the middle. Examples with double hh are hháñti (=tiger), hháñc (=duck), hháf (=snake), hháwa (=wind), hhácor (=dooms day), etc. Interestingly there exists only about 70 words in this category. These hh can be completely omitted and many people read without it. You can read either as áñc or hháñc and it is up to your choice how you want to read it. 

The example with single h are holom (=pen), hóro (=soar)húci (=happiness), ahálak (=character), bohíl (=miser), etc.   

1. Basic Vowels:

    Soft Vowels:  a  e  i  o  u  ou

    Hard Vowels: á  é  í  ó ú  óu

2. Circular Vowels:

    Soft Vowels:   ai  ei  oi  ui  ooi

    Hard Vowels:  ái  éi  ói  úi  óoi

3. Extended Vowels:

    Normal :       aa  ee ii oo uu

    Descending: áa  ée íi óo úu

    Ascending:   aá  eé ií oó uú

    All High:        áá  éé íí óó úú

4. Extended Circular Vowels 

    Normal:        aai  eei ooi uui  ooi

    Descending: áai  éei óoi úui  óoi

    Ascending:   aái  eéi oói uúi  oói


Vowels can be categorized into two Soft (shown in green) and Hard (shown in violet). But there are four types of vowel as shown in table 1-4 above, namely Basic, Circular, Extended and Extended circular. The  four types of soft vowel sets are; Basic (a-e-i-o-u-ou), Circular (ai-ei-oi-ui), Extended (aa-ee-ii-oo-uu) and Extended Circular (aai-eei-ooi-uui-ooi) as shown in green color above. 

Each soft set is accompanied by a stressed set which are; Basic (á-é-í-ó-ú-óu), Circular (ái-éi-ói-úi) and Extended that includes three variations (aá-eé-ií-oó-uú), (áa-ée-íi-óo-úu) and (áá-éé-íí-óó-úú). Also there are Extended Circular that includes two variations (aái-eéi-oói-uúi-oói) and (áai-éei-óoi-úui-óoi).

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. Examples: bura=bad, burá=old, búra=stained. 

Circular Vowels:

You get five circular vowels (ai, ei, oi, ui, ooi) by simply adding (i) to five basic vowels (a, e, o, u, ou). [ Here ou is converted to oo for simplicity]. Each circular vowel is strictly defined to have only one sound only. To know the sounds of five circular vowels, five Rohingya words (bai, beil, boil, tui, ooin) are compared having same sound in English as (by, bail, bouyl, muei, ouin). While (ai, ei, oi, ui, ooi) gives soft sounds (ái, éi, ói, úi,óoi) give you the corresponding stressed sounds. Examples: Lai=basket, zai=go, beil=sun, ooin=fire, bóin=sister.

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 so it is omitted in this extended table. 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 (aa, ee, oo, uu) and you will get extended-circular vowel set as (aai, eei, ooi, uui). There two emphasize sets as shown above. Examples are: Ooin=fire, Neeillé=came out, Baáizar=overflowing, Beéinna=morning, Foóila=first, Ruúil-mas=a kind of fish, Sáaiféla=filter it out.

Rohingya Sample
Oti cúndor cándor, 
cúndoijja Ruáng, 
Táikoum añára biák miliya, 
Diya jan foran,
diya lou wór gám. 

Háil meçi miçá faní, 
Duniyair woijja gán,
Bab dada abad goijjé,
Diya jan foran,
diya lou wór gám, 

Meçir óiya, Fanír faiya, 
Doijjar tolor gán,
Sairóu hañsa basai raikóum, 
Diya jan foran,
diya lou wór gám.
Jonab A. Gaffar é Leikké
Meaning in English
Very beautiful, 
nice and attractive is Roháng Land,
We will live all together,
By giving lives,
by giving blood.

In the land of green and sweet water, 
It is best in the world.
Acquired by our forefathers, 
By giving blood,
by giving lives. 

With soil produces and,
 water provides in the sea bed,
We will protect 
all four sides,
By giving lives, 
by giving blood. 
Written by Mr A. Gaffar
                        Rohingya Language Foundation, London, UK,
                                     Date: 20th Dec 2010