Rakhine

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A language of Myanmar

Alternate Names
Arakanese, Mogh, Rakhain, Rakhaing, Rakkhaine
Population

800,000 in Myanmar (2013 SIL). Population total all countries: 1,000,000. L2 users: 1,020,000 in Myanmar (2013 SIL). Minority peoples in Rakhine and Chin states, Paletwa Township.

Location

Throughout Rakhine State; Chin State, Paletwa township.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).Throughout Rakhine State and in Paletwa Township, Chin State. Especially in market, business, oral language at school, and in some media. Rakhine is the largest ethnic group and dominant language in the area and Rakhine people control most business, transport, and trade.

Dialects

Chaungtha, Kyaukphyu, Man Aung (Chebuda Island), Mrauk-U, Sittwe (Akyab), Yangbye (Rambree, Yanbe, Yanbye, Yangye). Intelligibility in Rakhine State of prestigious Sittwe dialect seems fairly high. Slight variations in north Rakhine speech in Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, Minpya, Ponnagyun, Buthidaung, and Maungdaw townships. The variety spoken in south Rakhine State townships of Kyauk Phyu, Yangbye, Thandwe, and Toungup noticeably different from the northern variety. The southern variety, particularly in Thandwe Township, is more similar to standard Burmese [mya]. Lexical similarity: among Rakhine and Marma varieties in both Myanmar and Bangladesh is over 85%. Lexical similarity: 91% with standard Burmese [mya].

Typology

SOV.

Language Use

Vigorous, but some shift toward Burmese [mya], especially in south Rakhine State. All except formal domains. All ages. Positive attitudes. Also use Rohingya [rhg] in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships. Also use Burmese [mya]. Used as L2 by Anu-Hkongso Chin [anl], Chak [ckh], Chakma [ccp], Eastern Khumi Chin [cek], Khumi Chin [cnk], Laitu Chin [clj], Mro-Khimi Chin [cmr], Mru [mro], Rohingya [rhg], Sumtu Chin [csv].

Language Development
“. . .the literary (written) languages of Rakhine and standard Burmese are largely identical” (Leider 2008:453). Rakhine pronunciation is closer to the literary language than modern spoken Burmese. Some Rakhine spell words according to Rakhine usage, but most use standard Burmese [mya] for writing. Newspapers. New media. Films.
Writing

Myanmar (Burmese) script [Mymr], informal and non-standardized use.

Other Comments

Buddhist.

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