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Mru language

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Title: Mru language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Mruic languages, Lolo-Burmese languages, Tibeto-Burman languages, Mro people, Sino-Tibetan languages
Collection: Languages of Bangladesh, Sino-Tibetan Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mru language

Mro, Maru, Mrung, Murung[1]
Region Bangladesh, Burma
Native speakers
50,000  (1999–2007)[1]
Mru alphabet, Latin alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mro
Glottolog mruu1242[3]
A group of Mrus foraging in the hills
The Mru people and language are located in the lower right hand corner of the map of Bangladesh

Mru is a Sino-Tibetan language and one of the recognized languages of Bangladesh. It is spoken by a community of Mros (Mru) inhabiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh with a population of 22,000 according to the 1991 census, and in Burma. The Mros are the second-largest tribal group in Bandarban District of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. A small group of Mros also live in Rangamati Hill District.

The Mru language is considered "definitely endangered" by UNESCO in June 2010.[4]

It is one of the Sino-Tibetan languages that is difficult to classify and has marginal affiliations with Burmic. Mru and Meithei in India, Bangladesh, and Burma, would appear close to the Kukish languages.[5] However, although once classified as Kukish, the Mru language is thought to be closer to Lolo-Burmese.[6]


  • Distribution 1
  • Subdivisions 2
  • Numerals 3
  • Alphabet 4
    • Unicode 4.1
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6


The Mros live in forest areas of Lama, Ruma, Alikaram, and Thanchi near Chimbuk Mountain of Bandarban District (Rashel 2009). They also live in Sittwe (Akiab), Rakhine State, Burma.


There are five major Mro clans (Rashel 2009).

  • Dengua
  • Premsang
  • Kongloi
  • Maizer
  • Ganaroo Gnar

Rashel (2009) also lists another classification scheme which lists ten Mro clans.

  • Yarua (subdivisions below)
    • Khatpo
    • Chimlung
    • Zongnow
    • Chawla
  • Yaringcha
  • Tang
  • Deng
  • Kough
  • Tam-tu-chah
  • Kanbak
  • Prenju
  • Naichah
  • Yomore


Rashel (2009:159) lists the following Mro numerals.

  1. lɔk
  2. pre
  3. ʃum
  4. taːli
  5. taŋa
  6. tro
  7. rinit
  8. rijat
  9. tako
  10. muit


Mro, Krama[7]
Languages Mru
ISO 15924 Mroo, 199
Direction Left-to-right
Unicode alias

The Mru alphabet is an indigenous, messianic script: In the 1980s Menlay Murang (also known as Manley Mro) created the religion of Khrama (or Crama) and with it a new alphabet for the Mru language.[8][9]

The Mru (or Mro) alphabet is written from left to right and has its own set of digits. It does not use tone marks.

The Mru language is written using both the Latin and Mru alphabets.[7]


The Mru alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block for the Mru alphabet, called Mro, is U+16A40–U+16A6F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1.^ As of Unicode version 7.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points


  1. ^ a b Mru at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Mruic". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Mru". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ UNESCO, "Bangladesh: Some endangered languages (information from Ethnologue, UNESCO)", June 2010.
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Article: Sino-Tibetan Languages
  6. ^ Peiros, Ilia. 1997. "Lolo–Burmese linguistic archaeology." Mon–Khmer Studies 27: 233–248. (Mon–Khmer Studies Journal website)
  7. ^ a b Mru at Ethnologue (17 ed.). 2013. 
  8. ^ Hosken, Martin;  
  9. ^ Zaman, Mustafa (24 February 2006). "Mother Tongue at Stake". Star Weekend Magazine (The Daily Star) 5 (83). 
  • Peterson, David A., "Where does Mru fit into Tibeto-Burman?", The 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 42), November 2009, Payap University, Chiangmai, Thailand. Cf. p. 14.
  • Rashel, Md Mostafa (2009). "Morphosyntactic Analysis of Mro Language." Dhaka University Journal of Linguistics, Vol, 2, No, 3, February 2009, 141–160.

Further reading

  • Clifton, John M. 2009. "Orthography development as an ongoing collaborative process: lessons from Bangladesh". 1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)
  • Mru word list (Luce 1985)
  • Mru word list (Matisoff 1987)
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