|Native to||Burma, Bangladesh, India|
|Region||Rakhine State of western Burma, Bandarban, Khagrachari, Patuakhali, and Barguna districts of Bangladesh, Tripura in India|
|over 2 million (1995)1|
rki – Rakhine ("Arakanese")
rmz – Marma ("Burmese")
The Arakanese language (also known as Rakhine //; Burmese: ရခိုင်ဘာသာ [ɹəkʰàɪɴ bàθà], MLCTS: rakhuin bhasa) is often considered a dialect of Burmese. Arakanese can be divided into three dialects: Sittwe–Marma (about two thirds of speakers), Ramree, and Sandoway.1
There are also significant vocabulary differences from Standard Burmese. Some are native words with no cognates in Standard Burmese, like "sarong" (လုံခြည် in Standard Burmese, တယော in Arakanese). Others are loan words from Bengali, English, and Hindi, not found in standard Burmese. An example is "hospital," which is called ဆေးရုံ in Standard Burmese, but is called သေပ်လှိုင် (pronounced [θeɪʔ l̥àɪɴ]/[ʃeɪʔ l̥àɪɴ]) in Arakanese, from English "sick lines." Other words simply have different meanings (e.g., "afternoon", ညစ in Arakanese and ညနေ in Standard Burmese). Moreover, some archaic words in Standard Burmese are preferred in Arakanese. An example is the first person pronoun, which is အကျွန် in Arakanese (not ကျွန်တော်, as in Standard Burmese).
A gloss of vocabulary differences between Standard Burmese and Arakanese is below:2
|go||သွား||လား||Arakanese for "go" was historically used in Standard Burmese.|
|kick a ball||ဘောလုံးကန်||ဘောလုံးကျောက်|
|stomach ache||ဗိုက်နာ||ဝမ်းခဲ||Arakanese prefers ဝမ်း to Standard Burmese ဗိုက် for "stomach."|
|guava||မာလကာသီး||ဂိုယံသီး||Standard Burmese for "guava" is derived from the word Malacca, whereas Arakanese for "guava" is from Spanish guayaba.|
|papaya||သင်္ဘောသီး||ပဒကာသီး||Standard Burmese for "papaya" literally means "boat."|
|blanket||စောင်||ပုဆိုး3||ပုဆိုး in Standard Burmese refers to the male longyi (sarong).|
|dark||မှောင်||မိုက်||The compound word မှောင်မိုက် ("pitch dark") is used in both Standard Burmese and Arakanese.|
|pick a flower||ပန်းခူး||ပန်းဆွတ်3||The compound word ဆွတ်ခူး ("pick") is used in both Standard Burmese and Arakanese.|
|wash [clothes]||လျှော်||ဖွပ်3||The compound word လျှော်ဖွပ် ("wash") is used in both Standard Burmese and Arakanese.|
Arakanese prominently uses the /r/ sound, which has merged to the /j/ sound in standard Burmese. Also, Arakanese has merged various vowel sounds like ဧ ([e]) vowel to ဣ ([i]). Hence, a word like "blood" is သွေး ([θwé]) in standard Burmese while it pronounced [θwí] in Arakanese. According to speakers of standard Burmese, Arakanese only has an intelligibility of seventy-five percent with Burmese.4 Moreover, there is less voicing in Arakanese than in Standard Burmese, occurring only when the consonant is unaspirated.1 Unlike in Burmese, voicing never shifts from [θ] to [ð].
Because Arakanese has preserved the /r/ sound, the /-r-/ medial (preserved only in writing in Standard Burmese with the diacritic ြ) is still distinguished in the following consonant clusters: /ɡr- kr- kʰr- ŋr- pr- pʰr- br- mr- m̥r- hr-/.
The Arakanese dialect has a higher frequency of open vowels weakening to /ə/. An example is the word for "salary," (လခ) which is [la̰ɡa̰] in standard Burmese, but [ləkha̰] in Arakanese.
|Written Burmese||Standard Burmese||Arakanese||Notes|
|-စ်||/-ɪʔ/||/-aɪʔ/||e.g. စစ် ("genuine") and စိုက် ("plant") are both pronounced [saɪʔ] in Arakanese|
|-ဉ်||/-ɪɴ/||/-aɪɴ/||e.g. ဥယျာဉ် ("garden"), from Standard Burmese [ṵ jɪ̀ɴ] → [wəjàɪɴ].
Irregular rhyme, with various pronunciations.
In some words, it is /-ɛɴ/ (e.g. ဝိညာဉ် "soul", from Standard Burmese [wèɪɴ ɲɪ̀ɴ] → [wḭ ɲɛ̀ɴ]).
In a few words, it is /-i -e/ (e.g. ညှဉ်း "oppress", from Standard Burmese [ɲ̥ɪ́ɴ] → [ɲ̥í, ɲ̥é]).
|-န် ွန်||/-aɴ -ʊɴ/||ွန် is /-wɔɴ/|
|-ည်||/-i, -e, -ɛ/||/-e/||A few exceptions are pronounced /-aɪɴ/, like ကြည် ("clear"), pronounced [kràɪɴ]|
|-ေ||/-e/||/-i/||e.g. ချီ ("carry") and ချေ ("cancel") are pronounced [tɕʰì] and [tɕʰè] respectively in Standard Burmese, but merged to [tɕʰì] in Arakanese|
|-တ် ွတ်||/-aʔ -ʊʔ/||/-aʔ/|
|Nasal initial + -ီ
Nasal initial + -ေ
|/-i/||/-eɪɴ/||e.g. နီ ("red") is [nì] in Standard Burmese, but [nèɪɴ] in Arakanese
In some words, the rhyme is unchanged from the standard rhyme (e.g. မြေ "land", usually pronounced [mrì], not [mrèɪɴ], or အမိ "mother", usually pronounced [əmḭ], not [əmḛɪɴ]
There are few exceptions where the nasal rhyme is /-eɪɴ-/ even without a nasal initial (e.g. သီ "thread", from Standard Burmese [θì] → [θèɪɴ]).
|Nasal initial + -ု -ူ -ူး||/-u/||/-oʊɴ/||e.g. နု ("tender") is [nṵ] in Standard Burmese, but [no̰ʊɴ] in Arakanese|
|ွား||/-wá/||/-ɔ́/||e.g. ဝါး ("bamboo") is [wá] in Standard Burmese, but [wɔ́] in Arakanese|
|ြွ||/-w-/||/-rw-/||Occurs in some words (e.g. မြွေ ("snake") is [mwè] in Standard Burmese, but [mrwèɪɴ] in Arakanese)|
|ချ-||/tɕʰ-/||/ʃ-/||Occasionally occurs (e.g. ချင် ("want") is [tɕʰɪ̀ɴ] in Standard Burmese, but [ʃɔ̀ɴ]~[tɕʰɔ̀ɴ] in Arakanese)|
|တ- → ရ-||/t- d-/||/r-/||e.g. The present tense particle တယ် ([dɛ̀]) corresponds with ရယ် ([rɛ̀]) in Arakanese
e.g. The plural particle တို့ ([do̰]) corresponds with ရို့ ([ro̰]) in Arakanese
|ရှ- ယှ- ယျှ-||/ʃ-/||/h-/||Found in some words only|
|Standard Burmese||ʔəmè ɡa̰||ðədʒàɴ pwɛ́ dwɪ̀ɴ||wʊʔ jàɴ||tʰəmèɪɴ||ʃɪʔ tʰɛ̀||pé laɪʔ pà||sʰò dɛ̀|
|Arakanese||ʔəmì ɡa̰||θɔ́ɴkràɴ pwé hmà||waʔ pʰo̰||dəjɔ̀||ʃaɪʔ tʰè||pí laʔ pà||sʰò rì|
|English||Mother says "Give me eight pasos for wearing during the Thingyan festival."|
|Open syllables||weak = ə
full = i, e, ɛ, a, ɔ, o, u
|Closed||nasal = eɪɴ, ɛɴ, aɪɴ, aʊɴ, ɔɴ, oʊɴ
stop = eɪʔ, ɛʔ, aɪʔ, aʊʔ, ɔʔ, oʊʔ
- Okell, John (1995). Three Burmese Dialects.
- "ရခိုင်စကားနဲ့ ဗမာစကား". BBC Burmese. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
- အသျှင်စက္ကိန္ဒ (1994). ရခိုင်ဘာသာစကားလမ်းညွှန် (in Burmese). Burma.
- Information on Arakanese
- Houghton, Bernard (1897). "The Arakanese Dialect of the Burman Language". The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland): 453–461. JSTOR 25207880.