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Bawm language

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Title: Bawm language  
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Subject: Mara language, Languages of Bangladesh, Kukish languages, Mruic languages, Hmong language
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Bawm language

Native to Bangladesh, India, Burma
Region Rangamati and Bandarban
Ethnicity Mizo
Native speakers
ca. 15,000  (2004–2011)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bgr
Glottolog bawm1236[2]

Bawm or Bawm Chin, AKA Banjogi, is a Kukish language primarily of Bangladesh. It is also spoken in adjacent regions of Northeast India and Burma.[3] The Bawms that live on the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh call their settlements "Bawmram", which literally means an area or location inhabited by Bawms.[4] According to traditional myths, the Chins surfaced into this world from the bowels of the earth, a cave or a rock called 'Chinlung'.[5]

General information

Most of the Kuki-Chin communities live in Rangamati and Bandarban districts of Chittagong division in Bangladesh, with most of the Bawm community residing in the Bethel Para in Ruma subdistrict and Thanci subdistrict of the Bandarban district. Also, the Bawm reside in the Rangamati Sadar and Barkal and Bilaichari subdistricts of the Rangamati district.[6]

Bawm language is fairly developed and contains a good amount of literature including dictionaries, religious texts, historical texts, folk stories and books such as short stories and science fiction. However, the Bawm language is at risk for endangerment. One way in which the language can prosper is through the use of multilingual education programs to ensure that the Bawm community as a whole has sufficient resources to pass the language to the next generation. The use of multilingual education programs requires the community to be educated in what types of books and literature to use.[7]

In 1981, around 7,000 Bawms inhabited the hills of Southeastern Bangladesh.[8] In 2004, around 5,000 Bawm inhabited India, with a population in all countries totaling around 16,000. In 2011, 10,000 Bawms inhabited the Chittagong hills of Bangladesh and 1,500 Bawm inhabited Myanmar. The endangerment status of the Bawm language in India and Myanmar is 6B and in Bangladesh is 5 (developing).[9] The language is threatened severely in India and Myanmar as the number of speakers continues to decline. In Bangladesh, the language is stable but its speakers in numbers are not increasing.


  1. ^ Bawm at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Bawm Chin". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ The Sino-Tibetan Languages Graham Thurgood and Randy J. LaPolla
  4. ^ Loncheu, Nathan (2013). Dena, Lal, ed. Bawmzos: A Study Of The Chin-Kuki-Zo Tribes Of Chittagong. Akansha Publishing House. ISBN 9788183703468. Retrieved 17 March 2013
  5. ^ Sakhong, Lian H. In Search of Chin Identity, A Study in Religion, Politics and Ethnic Identity in Burma. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2003
  6. ^ Kim, Roy & Sangma. 2011. The Kuki-Chin Communities of Bangladesh: A sociolinguistic survey. SIL International.
  7. ^ Kim, Roy & Sangma. 2011. The Kuki-Chin Communities of Bangladesh: A sociolinguistic survey. SIL International.
  8. ^ The Invention of the ‘Jummas': State Formation and Ethnicity in Southeastern Bangladesh, WILLEM VAN SCHENDEL
  9. ^ Bawm at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)

Further reading

  • Brandreth, E.L. “On the Non-Aryan Languages of India” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, New Series, Vol. 10, No. 1 (1878): 1-32
  • Claus-Dieter, Brauns and Lorenz G. Löffler. “Mru. Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh.” Anthropos (1994): 247-248
  • DeLancey, Scott. “The History of Postverbal Agreement in Kuki-Chin.” Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, Vol. 6 (2013): 1-17
  • Matisoff, James A. “Sino-Tibetan Linguistics: Present State and Future Prospects.” Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 20 (1991): 469-504
  • Rahman, Tania. “A Multilingual Language-in-education Policy for Indigenous Minorities in Bangladesh: Challenges and Possibilities.” Current Issues in Language Planning Vol. 11, Issue 4 (2010): 341-359.
  • Reichle, Verena. “Bawm Language and Lore: Tibeto-Burman Area.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 47, No. 3 (1984): 591-592
  • Singh, Irom Robindrol. “The Status of Meiteilon among the Tibeto-Burman Languages.” Language in India, Vol. 13 Issue 9 (2013): 320-332

External links

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