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Rohingya migration brings the Rohingya language to Indonesia

Indonesia has recently witnessed a surge of Rohingya refugees arriving by boat from Bangladesh, where they have been living in overcrowded and unsafe camps. The Rohingya are a persecuted Muslim minority from Myanmar, who have faced violence, discrimination, and displacement for decades. 

The refugees have been welcomed by the local authorities and communities in Aceh, who have provided them with food, shelter, medical care, and protection. The Acehnese people, who are predominantly Muslim, have shown solidarity and compassion for the Rohingya.

However, the refugees also face many challenges and uncertainties in Indonesia since Indonesia does not grant asylum or refugee status to the Rohingya but only allows them to stay temporarily until they can be resettled to a third country.

There have been over 1,600 Rohingya people in Aceh up to December 2023. This calculation is indeed much larger including the Rohingya people in other regions of Indonesia. The large amount of Rohingya speakers in Indonesia has proven to us that the Rohingya language existence in Indonesia cannot be underestimated. Therefore, it is worth getting to know this new coming language.

Rohingya (Ruáingga / رُاَينڠَ / 𐴌𐴟𐴇𐴥𐴝𐴚𐴒𐴙𐴝)

The Rohingya language is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority from Myanmar. The language has a long and rich history, but it is also facing many threats and challenges in the modern world.

The Rohingya language belongs to the Bengali-Assamese branch of the Indo-Aryan languages and is closely related to the Chittagonian language spoken in neighboring Bangladesh. The Rohingya and Chittagonian languages have a high degree of mutual intelligibility. The Rohingya language has been influenced by Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Burmese, as well as other languages of the region.

The earliest Rohingya writing dates back over 350 years and it used Arabic script. However, the writing was lost during the British colonial period from 1826 until 1946 and therefore English, Urdu, and Farsi languages were mainly used for written communications. Then Hanifi script, which is a blend of Arabic, Burmese, and Roman scripts, was developed after the independence of Burma.

Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Hanifi script

The Hanifi failed among the people due to difficulty in using this script on computers. The latest writing known as Rohingyalish is based only on Roman alphabets which are readily available on all modern media. This script proved to be extremely easy to learn and understand as the written and spoken language match very closely.

Examples of the Rohingya language in Rohingyalish

1. Hi / Hello – Assolamu Aláikum.
2. How are you? – Tuñí keén aso?
3. What is your name? – Tuáñr nam ki?
4. Where do you stay? – Tuñí hoçé táko?
5. Where is your house? – Tuáñr gór hoçé?
6. I am Rafique / My name is Rafique. – Aññí Rofíque / Añár nam Rofíque
7. How old are you? – Tuáñr boc hoddúr?
8. What do you do? – Tuñí ki goró?
9. It is a great pleasure to meet you. – Tuáñr lói mili bicí kúci lager.
10. Thank you so much. – Tuáñre bicí cúkuria.
11. Welcome. – Tuáñre barái luwazar.
12. Hope to see you again. – Acágorir abbar dola óiyoum.
13. Ok. – Thík case.



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