Rohingya Language Rules (Ruáinga Zuban or Kaanun ókkol)

Rohingya Language Rules

Rohingyalish is the modern writing system for the true spoken language of Rohingyas, the indigenous but oppressed Muslim minority people of Arakan State in the north-western part of Burma (Myanmar). Rohingyalish uses Latin alphabets A-Z, and two other characters Ç and Ñ along with the five accented vowels Á, É, Í, Ó, ÚÇ is a variant of R, used for rolling-tongue sound and pronounced as rd’i. Ñ is a variant of N, used for nasal sound and pronounced as an’h. While the normal vowels are used for soft sound, the accented vowels are used for stressed sound. C, though originally used for K and S sound, is now used only for the Sh sound and thus it is named to shi.

Aa Bb Cc Çç Dd Ee Ff

New Alphabets:

Cc =shi

Çç =rd’i

Ññ =an’h

Numbers: 0123456789

Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm
Nn Ññ Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss
Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Fig 1.     Rohingyalish Character Set Table



All the Rohingyalish alphabets (capital and small forms) with its proper arrangement are shown in Fig. 1 above followed by the rules 1 through 16 that explain in details how to write Rohingya words. For numbers, Rohingyalish uses Arabic numerals 0-9 as shown above and how to read and count them are shown at the end in rule number 16.

  1. The original English vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are used as soft vowels.

In English, the vowels (a, e, i, o, u) are used as hard (emphasized) vowels. But the Rohingyalish uses these vowels as soft (and also as short) vowels. Whenever hard vowels are required, Rohingyalish uses another set of vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú), which are normally known as accented (gutá) vowels.

These accented vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú) can be typed in Computer by simply choosing the keyboard type as United States-International through the Windows control panel. To set in Windows 98 follow the steps as “Start – Settings – Control Panel – Keyboard – Language – English (United States) – Properties –United States-International – OK – OK”. After setting the keyboard, you can get (á) by first typing a single quote () followed by (a). Similarly, to get (ç) type ( ) followed by (c), and for (ñ) first type (~) followed by (n). For Windows 2000, and Windows Xp, add and select the “United States-International” as the default keyboard.

See below how Ba and Boo in English are written in Rohingyalish to get the same sound.

Ba   (in English) =  (in Rohingyalish)
Boo (in English) =   (in Rohingyalish)

Rohingyalish words with soft vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and hard vowels (á, é, í, ó, ú) are shown below as examples along with the meaning. The last line in the example shows the 6th vowel (ou and óu are explained later) of the Rohingyalish.

Bak = tiger Bák = share
Bet = cane stick Bét = intention
Kil = punch Kíl = wedge
Zor = fever Zór = rain
Ful = hole/bridge Fúl = flower
Zouloi = Nail Zóuli = bamboo fence
  1. Rohingyalish has a total of ( 12 ) basic vowels where six are of the soft-sounds and the other six are of hard-sounds.

To understand here easily, the consonant K is used as refer­ence to show the sound of each vowel.

English

In English, the sound of each vowel is not fixed to a particular sound. The sound of any vowel varies from words to words causing enormous difficulties to know which sound is the correct one, particularly for whom English is the 2nd language.  Moreover, there is no method to know which vowel needs to be emphasized and which one is not to be emphasized depending on how the particular English word is pronounced. The five basic English vowels along with K are:-

Ka Ke Ki Ko Ku (vowels used as hard or soft sound)

Rohingyalish

In Rohingyalish, the sound of each vowel is fixed to one particular sound. Therefore, Rohingyalish has 12 basic fixed sounds, where the first six are for the soft sounds and the other six are for the hard sounds as shown in the table below.

Ka Ke Ki Ko Ku Kou (vowels used as soft sounds)
Kóu (vowels used as hard sounds)

The pronunciation of each soft sound can be represented with an English phrase “On Februari Tour” where Februari means the month February. Another similar one is “Put America on Tour”. The following are some comparative examples with English words:-

Ka  is pronounced as Ca as in the word Calculator, but not to be pronounced as in the word Can.

Ke is pronounced as Kay as “e” is pronounced in English words Let, Bet, Get, Net, and Wet but in soft sound.

Ki  is pronounced as it is pronounced in the word Kilo.

Ko will be pronounced as Kaw (but in short) as “o” is pronounced in English words Dot, Not, God, Lot, Rod but in soft sound.

Ku will be pronounced as Cu in the word Calculator.

Kou will be pronounced exactly as English Ko. Here Rohingyalish “ou” is made equal to English “o” as it is used in English words Go, Old, Won, Own, Toll, Sold, Bold, Mold, Fold but in soft sound.

  1. Rohingyalish words should not be read the same way Eng­lish is read.

In English, the words are read after analyzing the whole word and then pronounced correctly. This is not required in Rohingyalish. Simply read the consonant vowel pairs from left to right. Apply the following methods in the order shown to get the best possible results:

(a)    If the word follows the sequence of one consonant and one vowel then pronounce one consonant and one-vowel pairs individually and then combine the results. For example;

Mazé = Ma + Zé = Ma Zé      (middle)

Fala = Fa  + La = Fa La         (pillar)

Salu = Sa  + Lu = Sa Lu         (moving)

Thalasabí = Tha  + La + Sa + Bí=ThaLaSaBí (lock and keys)

(b)   If the word follows the sequence of one consonant and one vowel followed by another consonant then pronounce the three combined together. Do the same for the rest. Finally combine the results. For example;

Sultán = Sul  + Tán = Sul Tán (the name Sultan)

Tormus = Tor  + Mus = Tor Mus (water melon)

Bañdor = Bañ + Dor = Bañ Dor (monkey)

Fandhúk = Fan + Dhúk = Fan Dhúk (pipe)

(c)    The word may follow both rules mentioned above. For example;

Burus = Bu   + Rus (brush)
Gorom = Go   + Rom (hot)
Hañdá = Hañ + Dá (shoulder)
Fonná = Fon + Ná (education)

(d)   There may be two vowels together side by side. For example;

Sail = Sai + L (trick)
Beil = Bei + L (sun)
Soil = Soi + L (rice)
Tui = Tui (you)
Gouru = Gou + Ru (cow)
Mouloi = Mou + Loi (Arabic Teacher)
Maana = Maa + Na (free)

  1. New Alphabets ( Ñ ) and ( Ç ) pronounced as an’h and rd’a.

These two new alphabets are taken from Latin Alphabets and are very important for Rohingyalish to produce nasal sound using (Ñ), and a variant of R sound(i.e. tongue rolling sound) using(Ç). These two sounds are not used in English Language.  A list of Rohingyalish words are shown below as examples:

Nasal sound examples: normal without ñ  (left) and nasal with ñ (right):
Ara = Fence Añra = Coal
Fas = Pass Fañs = Five
Tongue rolling sound examples:  normal  with r  (left) and tongue rolling with ç  (right):
Bara = fishing fence Baça = exchange rate
Bera = Visit Beça = Husband
Fara = Village Faça = chili grinding flat rock
ra = Infectious spot ça = Drop
More nasal sound examples: normal without ñ  (left) and nasal with ñ (right):
Sáda = White Sañda = donation or tax
Kurá = chicken Kuñra = bring together/chicken food
More nasal and  tongue rolling sound examples:
Keñça = fish bone Meçá = bottle cap
Suañ = bamboo pipe Meçi = soil, ground
Súañ = Stick Theçá = not straight
  1. The alphabet ( C ) has been used differently.

Rohingyalish does not need the alphabet C because it has two different sounds which can be replaced with K and S. However, Rohingyalish words have a lot of ‘sh’ sounds and it would be easier to use a single character ‘C’ instead of two characters ‘sh’.  Therefore, ‘C’ is made equal to ‘sh’ and named as ‘shi’. See Examples:

Cúndor       (Shúndor) = beautiful
Camic         (Shamish) = spoon
Cuñça         (Shuñça) = cigars
Doc              (Dosh) = ten
Óñc              (Óñsh) = loose
Fáñc             (Fáñsh) = fertilizer
Cícciçi mas (shíshshiiçi mas) = a kind of fish
Cóccoçar    (shóshshoçar) = ducks looking food in shallow water
  1. The differences in ( T ), ( Th ) and ( D ), ( Dh )

The T sound is taken as the sound of Th as used in the English word Think. Alternatively, the Th sound is taken as the sound of T that is used in the English word Total.

See examples of Rohingyalish words with meaning in English:

Taza = fresh Mutha = fat
Talu = Bald Thambu = tent
Tal = music Thal = pile
Tuta = parrot Thaththi = toilet

The normal D sound is taken exactly the same sound of the word The in English. The Dh sound is taken as the sound of the normal D in English, i.e. as in the word Donut.   See examples of Rohingyalish words with meaning in English:

Dándah = profession Dhandha = short rod for beating
Duwa = prayer Dhuwa = soil container at the root of a plant
Duadi = busy; quickly Dhandhari = tales
  1. Three kinds of  ( H ) sounds

The three kinds of H sounds are produced by a single quoted H’, a single H, and Kh respectively as shown below in examples.

H’a = sound produced at the beginning of the mouth by blowing air out, as in the word H’ava meaning air in Rohingyalish. There are a few words only with this sound. Because of very few words a single quote requirement is made optional unless necessary. In the case where there are two alternative saying for the same thing such as áñti or háñti (meaning elephant), áñcor háñc (meaning duck), the single quote will be always omitted. Interestingly, the saying difference is based on either he/she is from north or south of Arakan. Examples: háva, howá, háñala, háñc, háñtih, hórin, húñciar, háff, hála, hál, hoñsu, hoñiçá, hoñinya, hoñroi, hámbah, hóraf, hottú.

Ha = Rohingyalish adopted this sound to work like Kha (below) which produces sound from the middle of the mouth, as in the words hána (Khána) and holom (Kholom) meaning food and Pen respectively. Since more than 90% of the all Ha sounds are in this category, Rohingyalish uses more simpler method which is hána and holom. Many Languages have only one variety of Ha sounds with the most exception being Arabic language having three distinct Ha(s).  Examples: hala, holom, háiye, hosóm, hóbor.

Kha = sound produced from the middle of the mouth as above. But this is to be used only for Arabic name such as “Khaled” instead of writing “Haled”.

  1. The most useful vowel ( o ) and its replacement ( ou ) in Rohingyalish.

O, used as au, is 40% of all the vowels used in Rohingyalish words. Most European and Asian languages use sounds either vertical (such as Bu) or horizontal (such as Ba). However, in Rohingyalish there are many sounds that are neither complete vertical nor complete horizontal and it is rather exactly in between which can be said, in other words, 45 degree sounds (0 degree means horizontal and 90 means vertical). Examples are Baw, Daw, Naw, Saw, etc.. These can be better spelled as Bau, Dau, Nau, Sau etc. by using both horizontal and vertical vowels together. Since 40% of the words in Rohingyalish will have these sounds in average, it is better if we can adopt only one vowel instead of the two vowels a and u together, so that the word will be short and easier to read. Therefore o is adopted to pronounce as au always, as it is pronounced in the English word For. While doing that ou is adopted to pronounce as the true sound of the English o as found in the English words Go, No, Bother, Old, Won but in soft way. See examples below.

Norom = soft Gorom = hot
Holom = pen Zonom = birth
Córom = shyness Nolor = not taking
Goró = do it Hóro = sore
Boro = big Doró = hard
Gourib = poor Gouru = cow
Mouloi = Arabic teacher Mouris = chilly
Fourís = read Gourís = do it; perform it, act on it
Zouloi = nail Sóuloi = matches
Foouli = mad lady Tooul = in perfect mix or balance
  1. Extending sound using long vowel that is ( 2 ) vowels side by side.

Like the soft and hard vowels change the meaning of the word, short vowels like (a) and long vowels like (aa) do change the meaning too such as Mana (=let accept) and Maana (=free) are not the same. We extend the sound by placing two vowels side by side. For example:

Gaa = body Maana = free
Neel = leave Biili = birth given (lady)
Doo = knife Zoo = Prosperity
Fool = mad Hoor = cloth
Foona = ripen Moota = funeral
Muu = face Zuu = tide
  1. Ascending ( aá )and Descending ( áa ) long vowels.

Sometimes two soft-vowels used side-by-side as above is not enough to get exact sound and the meaning. In some place we need the 1st vowel as a soft and the second vowel as a hard vowel. For example, in Rohingyalish the word Saá, which means tea, requires two vowels but the 1st one soft and the 2nd one hard. This arrangement is known as ascending long vowels. Similarly, the two vowels when arranged the other way around such as in the word Sáa (where the 1st vowel is hard and the second vowel is soft) is known as descending long vowels. See the examples below.

B = climbing Táa = staying
G = sing Gáa = infection
S = tea Sáa = filter
W = steep Fáa = gap
Mni = meaning Táani = next
Kn = how Théer = stop , wait
Ml = mill
Fl = field Síil = seal
Zn = (of) which Zíi = daughter
Bl = ball Sóol = sheep
Mntu = in front Súura = verses of Quran
  1. Using ( ai ) instead of y.

Though y is a consonant, it is also used as a semi-vowel in words such as By, My etc. Since Rohingyalish understand y as a consonant only, ai is used instead of y is used as a vowel. Therefore instead of My, By, Fy it will be used as Mai, Bai, Fai.

Bai = dizzy (head) Bái = brother
Sai = fish trap Sái = ashes
Lai = basket Nái = not there
Félai = throw it Hálaide = make the skin removed
Solaiféla = make it move ai = has been dried
  1. Using ( oi, ói ) to get rolling sounds.
Boroi = tablet (medicine) Borói = palm
Touloi = bamboo mat Mouloi = religious teacher
Hoñroi = heated rice grain Óroói = grain for mustard oil
Soil = rice Boil = fruit in flower stage
Moillo = value Hoil = quarrel
Bóin = sister Óiye = done
  1. Usages of ( ei ) and ( ui )
Beil = sun Dheil = upper  level land area
Plein = aero plane Teilla = cooking oil producer
Kéil = game Théil = branch of trees
Neillé = has leaved Féillé = has dropped
Théilleh = has pushed Kéilleh = played
Meillé = opened Neiththé = has laid down
Mui = I Tui = you
Muic = jungle cow Tuñic = rice skin
Fúñic = needle Tuñí = you (used to call elders)
Fúille = swelled Kúille = opened
Súille = skinned Kuiththa = get things ready, in cut
  1. ( Ñg ), ( Ñy ), and ( Ts ) sounds

Ñgapúra, Ñgapali, and Ñyong-Cóng are the area names in Myanmar (Burma). These names can be also written as Ngapúra, Ngapali and Nyong-Cóng because Ng and Ny are used as international standard.

Ts is a variant of S producing sound with tongue out as in the word Tsúmma meaning ‘then’ in Arabic language. Ts is rarely used by Rohingyas.

  1. Ending the word with double consonants to get echo, vibrating or trailing effect
Amm = mango Áff = snake
Córr = sailing cloth Rell = rail
  1. The counting system.
0 sifír 11 egaro 22 ekkuri-dui 100 ek-cót (cót)
1 ek 12 baró 23 ekkuri-tin 101 ekcó-ek
2 dui 13 teró ………… 501 Fañscó-ek
3 tin 14 soiddó 29 ekkuri-no 900 no-cót
4 sair 15 fundóroh 30 tiríc 1.000 ek-ázar
5 fañs 16 cúlloh 40 calic 10.000 doc-ázar
6 17 háñtaroh 50 fonjaic 1.00.000 ek-lák
7 háñt 18 añçároh 60 áit 10.00.000 doc-lák
8 añctho 19 unnúic 70 óttoir 1.00.00.000 ek-kurul
9 no 20 kuri 80 ací 10.00.00.000 doc-kurul
10 doc 21 ekkuri-ek 90 nobboi 1.00.00.00.000 ek-kuthí

For more info please visit the links below:

http://www.rohingyalanguage.com
http://www.rohingyalanguagefoundation.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rohingyalanguage
Email: rohingyalanguage@yahoo.com