Shukla Tanchangya.svg
'Tanchangya' in Tanchangya/Chakma script
Native toBangladesh
RegionChittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh)
Mizoram and Tripura (India)
Rakhine State (Myanmar)
EthnicityTanchangya people
Native speakers
(22,000 cited 1991 census)[1]
Tanchangya alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3tnv

The Tanchangya language is one of the eleven indigenous languages in Chittagong Hill Tracts in present-day Bangladesh, and an ethnic group in the Indian states of Tripura and Mizoram, as well as Rakhine State in Myanmar. It is categorized as an Indo-Aryan language, despite some scholars having the opinion of it being Tibeto-Burman language.[2][3] It is closely related to Chakma and Chittagonian.


Tanchangya language is rooted in Indo-Aryan languages, with mixture of Pali, Sanskrit, Prakrit and other middle-Indo-Aryan languages.

Ancient Tanchangya language

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 Roti Kanta Tanchangya's collection of some ancient Tanchangya words.[4]

Tanchangya English
Mwga (মগা) 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 Indo-Aryan

The ancient Indo-Aryan language, Sanskrit is the most influential language impacting on most of the present middle-Indo-Aryan languages such as without Hindi, and with 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 language.

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


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 CE, Myanmar language and its culture influence to the neighbouring 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

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

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 Phukan'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.[5]

Tanchangya Chakma English
Bitsyawl Bijawl Smooth
Pawd,Jangal Pawt Road
Awna sawna Suli sawlaw Half-brain
Diri, Bilawng Dighawli Long time


  1. ^ Tanchangya at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ "In Search History of the Tanchangya Language". Tongchangya World. 1 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  3. ^ Rupak-Debnath (2008): 167
  4. ^ Roti Kanta Tanchangya (2000): 62-65
  5. ^ "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.