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চাটগাঁইয়া বুলি Chaţgãia Buli
Spoken in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar
Region Eastern South Asia
Total speakers 14 million
Language family Indo-European
Language codes
ISO 639-1 None
ISO 639-2 cit
ISO 639-3 ctg

Chittagonian (চাটগাঁইয়া বুলি Chaţgãia Buli) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the people of Chittagong in Bangladesh and in much of the southeast of the country. It is closely related to Bangla, but is normally considered by linguists to be a separate language and not a dialect of Bangla, as the two are not inherently mutually intelligible.[1] It is estimated to have 14 million speakers, in Bangladesh as well as by expatriate and second generation Chittagonian Bengalis in the United States and other countries. According to the status of Top 100 Languages by Population by Ethnologue, Chittagong ranked 69th of the world.



See also Rohingya language

Chittagonian is a member of the Bangladeshi-Assamese sub-branch of the Eastern group of Indo-Aryan languages, a branch of the wider and more vast Indo-European language family. Its sister languages include Sylheti (Silôţi), Bengali (Bangla), Assamese (Ôxômiya), Oriya, the Bihari languages, and also less directly all other Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindi. Like other Indo-Aryan languages, it is derived from Sanskrit, and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European.[2]

Geographic distribution

Chittagonian is spoken in Southeastern Bangladesh throughout Chittagong Division but mainly in Chittagong District and Cox's Bazar District . It has an estimated number of around 14 million speakers in Bangladesh, and also in countries where many Chittagonians have migrated. It has no official status and is not taught at any level in schools. It is regarded by many Bangladeshis, including most Chittagonians, to be a crude form of Bangla, as all educated Chittagonians are schooled in Bangla.

Essentially, Chittagonian has no standard form and is rather a continuum of different dialects, varying with location from north to south and also by religion between Muslims (professed by most Chittagonians) and Hindus. Variation between Muslims and Hindus is strictly in terms of vocabulary, whereas by location, grammar is varied as well as vocabulary. The Rohingyas are a community of ethnically Chittagonian related Muslims who spoke the Muslim dialect of southeastern region of Bangladesh bordering Burma and migrated to Arakan centuries ago.




Chittagonian is distinguished from Bangla by its large inventory of fricatives, which often correspond to stops in Bangla. For example, the Chittagonian voiceless velar fricative [x] (like the Arabic "kh" or German "ch") in [xabar] corresponds to the Bangla voiceless aspirated velar stop [kʰ], and the Chittagonian voiceless labiodental fricative [f] corresponds to the Bangla voiceless aspirated bilabial stop [pʰ]. Some of these pronunciations are used in eastern dialects of Bangla as well.

Nasal vowels

Nasalization of vowels is contrastive in Chittagonian, as with other Eastern Indic languages. A word can change its meaning solely by changing an oral vowel into a nasal vowel, as in আর ar "and" vs. আঁর ãr "my". Below are examples of Chittagonian phrases that include nasal vowels.

How are you: -তুঁই কেন আছো? Tũi ken aso?

I am fine: -আঁই গোম আছি। Ãi gom asi. I am not fine -Ai gom nai.

Where are you: -তুঁই হোন্দে? Tũi honde?

What's your name: -তোঁয়ার নাম কী? Tõar nam ki?

My name is Abul: -আঁর নাম আবুল। Ãr nam Abul.

I miss you: -তোঁয়ার লাই আঁর ফেড ফুরের। Tõar lai ãr fed furer.

I love you: -আঁই তুয়ানরে বেশি গোম লাগে। Ãnttun tuanre beshi gom lage.

Where are you going: --তুঁই হোন্দে যোর? Tũi honde jor? Where are you from? - Tui hothtun aishshu? Where do you live? -- Tui honde thako?


Chittagonian grammar is similar to that of Bangla, with significant variations in inflectional morphology (prefixes, suffixes, particles, etc.), and some variation in word order.

Like related languages of the eastern subcontinent, Chittagonian is a head-final language, with Subject-Object-Verb basic word order. Like Assamese (Ôxômiya) but unlike Bengali (Bangla), Chittagonian has preverbal negation. This means that the negative particle will precede the verb in Chittagonian, where the corresponding Bangla version would have a negative particle following the verb. Thank You = Tuarey Doinnobad.


Like Bangla, most of the vocabulary of Chittagonian is derived from Sanskrit. It also, like Bengali, includes a significant number of imported words from Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, as well as, to a lesser extent, Portuguese. In addition, English words are widely used in spoken Chittagonian, just as it is in almost all other Indian languages, as a result of the legacy of the British Empire. Although much of the vocabulary of Chittagonian Bengali is the same as standard Bangla, there are several distinguishing features. The contribution of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish words to Chittagonian Bengali is far greater than that to standard. This is due to the fact that Chittagong was a port city that was open to traders from Arabia, Persia and Turkey since ancient times, naturally absorbing their words. This is also meant that Chittagonians were amongst the first to convert to Islam and consequently, as Muslims, they were further influenced by Arabic, Persian, and Turkish vocabulary, as these were the languages spoken by the Muslims of the time, especially the traders. Among Europeans, the Portuguese colonists were amongst the first to reach Bengal, and Chittagong as a port city, was for a time under the administration of the Portuguese. This has meant that there is a larger proportion of Portuguese loanwords in the usage of Chittagonian speakers than that of standard Bengali speakers.

Writing system

Chittagonian is an unwritten language. Most literate Chittagonians read and write in Bengali using the Bengali script. In the past, Chittagonian has been written in the Arabic script. The Rohingya dialect of Chittagonian is sometimes written using the Roman alphabet, in a variant known as Rohingyalish. Rohingya, too, was once written with the Arabic alphabet.

See also


  1. ^ Ethnologue (2005). Chittagonian, a language of Bangladesh.  
  2. ^ Ethnologue (2005). Chittagonian, a language of Bangladesh.  


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