This page says they do.

Rohingyas are not Burmese. They called themselves as Rohingya. There are no such people in Burmese history and census.

  1. Rohingyas are in fact Bengali who speaks Bengali dialect, dress Bengali clothes and eat Bengali food and have Bengali cultures.

This article says the same.

The Rohingya are a minority who practice Islam and primarily live in Rakhine State, near the border with Bangladesh. They speak a regional Bengali dialect ...

Do Rohingyas speak in a Bengali dialect?

By dialect, I mean dialect.

  • 5
    Linguistics does not distinguish between dialects and languages. In common speech, the distinction is usually based on politics or cultural aspects and not on quantifiable facts. Voting to close as unclear and opinion based. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 17:19
  • 3
    @MohammadSakibArifin The article on dialect continua, which you link to, only confirms what I just wrote. For example the North Germanic dialect continuum covers eight culturally acknowledged languages: Swedish, Gutnish, Elfdalian, Scanian, Danish, Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic. Once again: Linguistic researchers usually do not distinguish between dialects and languages, even if you refuse to believe that here. Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 20:32
  • 1
    A language is a dialect with a military.
    – liftarn
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 12:14
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    @Federico: What the OP considers a dialect is irrelevant. What the original claimants consider a dialect is the important question. If the definition of dialect is important in your answer, please explain what definition you have used (or explain how the answer varies based on definition.)
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 13:19
  • Sheesh. You've been getting flack for supposedly being antisemitic, and for being anti-Muslim. You can't catch a break!
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 10:57

4 Answers 4


Short Answer

The claim "Rohingya is a Bengali dialect" cannot be meaningfully proven due to difficulties in defining what constitutes a dialect and what constitutes a language. But it is safe to say "Rohingya is a member of a dialect continuum that includes Bengali".

Long Answer

Rohingya is classified as a part of Bengali-Assamese languages. As such, it is not related to Burmese, which is a Sino-Tibetan language.

As said in other answers, Wikipedia also mentions that it is related to the Chittagonian language, which, according to the same source, "is often considered to be a non-standard dialect of Bengali, although it is not mutually intelligible with it".

I couldn't find any reference on the mutual intelligibility between Rohingya and Bengali, (or between Rohingya and Chittagonian for that matter) but it seems safe to assume that Rohingya is not mutually intelligible with Bengali.

The concept of dialect is hard to define. But mutual intelligibility usually plays a role. But even if my assumption about Rohingya not being mutually intelligible with Bengali is true, Wikipedia mentions that Bengali and closely related languages form a dialect continuum. That is, they are usually mutually intelligible with the neighboring languages but not necessarily so with Bengali or each other.

Therefore we can at least say that Rohingya is a member of a dialect continuum that includes Bengali.

  • 1
    A perfect answer. Accurate and informative.
    – TonyK
    Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 22:54
  • Burmese muslim diaspora numbered increased from 150,000 to 1,000,000 in 30 years under the british mandate in Burma. it is a colonial legacy, just like aids took root in Africa when the english ferried millions of african workers through cities with trains from around africa where the men needed females for entertainment. because most of them came from bangladesh 90 years ago, they won't have had time to develop a rohingya dialect. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 18:51

Rohingya language:

It is related to the Chittagonian language spoken in the neighboring southeastern Chittagong Division of Bangladesh

See also the 1799 article A Comparative Vocabulary of Some of the Languages Spoken in the Burma Empire. Asiatic Researches 5: 219-240

See also number 62 here: http://www.ethnologue.com/18/map/MM_c/

and see this map http://www.ethnologue.com/18/map/BD_se/

  • 1
    Thanks for your efforts. But is it a Bengali dialect or not? Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 12:45
  • Relevant: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya_people#/media/… Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 12:46
  • @MohammadSakibArifin according to the Wikipedia "Bengali Dialect" page, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengali_dialects , "Barisali or Borishali (Barisal division), Noakhali (Noakhali district), Rangpuri (Rangpur Region), Khulna (Khulna region), Mymonshingh (Mymensingh region), Sylheti (Sylhet region) and Chittagonian (Chittagong region) are major spoken dialects in Bangladesh." So, yes, it is a Bengali dialect.
    – DavePhD
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 13:45
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    @MohammadSakibArifin It's arbitrary where you draw the line between a dialect and a different language. The same Wikipedia pages says "Although these languages are mutually intelligible with neighboring dialects of Bengali, they lack mutual intelligibility with the Bengali language and sometimes would not be understood by a native speaker of Standard Bengali. Hence, some of these dialects are sometimes considered languages in their own right".
    – DavePhD
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 13:57

Further to How to proceed when implicit and explicit claims diverge I'd like to point out an inaccuracy in the claim.

I can't improve on the accepted answer which answers the question about language.

However the claim says,

Rohingyas are not Burmese

I think this claim confuses nationality with linguistics, or doesn't distinguish them; for example

  • Half the people in Belgium speak French and the other half speak Dutch, but, that doesn't mean they're not Belgian.
  • The Kurdish "nation" exists in several countries (Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq).

Bengal was only created 70 years ago and, given the arbitrariness of international borders, the fact that the Rohingya speak a different dialect isn't proof that they're a different "nationality", nor that they are recent illegal immigrants.

IOW this may be a continuation of ethnic partitioning of which the partition of Bengal was one example, the partition of India another, the Bosnian war another, and so on -- see ethnic cleansing.

Or from the Guardian:

Myanmar treatment of Rohingya looks like 'textbook ethnic cleansing', says UN

Myanmar’s treatment of its Muslim Rohingya minority appears to be a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing, the top United Nations human rights official has said.

  • This answer is throwing a lot of shade, the only thing you didn't try to suggest is how buddhist's are historically known internationally as the aggressors in most of these situations.
    – daniel
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 11:41
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    When my brother and I used to fight, my mum said, "I don't care which of you 'started it': you both have to stop (fighting)." The point I was trying to make was that a) dialect doesn't imply nationality; and that b) to equate the two is a factor in so-called "ethnic cleansing", of which there has been a lot generally, and which a UN official says is happening in this case.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 11:56
  • I feel like we are both internet LARPING on different sides on a conflict in one of the poorest countries in the world, a) not too long ago speaking the same language defined borders of nations, even today many countries require it to be a citizen. b) team UN world police are throwing shade too "appears to be", not "is"
    – daniel
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 14:32
  • @daniel In myanmar, there are at least 10 ongoing insurgencies (with 4000+ fighters) going on. I wouldn't say all Buddhists have a united cause in Myanmar. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 18:51

According to this, Rohingya is a dialect spoken in the Cox's Bazaar region of Bangladesh.

However, whether this is a result of Rohingyas emigrating across the border from Burma or vice versa is moot. The closest I can find is this which says they were originally Arab, Mughal and Bengali merchants from the 7th century. Given the time span and how languages develop, it's hard to say whether it is now a Bengali dialect or some Bengalis speak a Rohingya dialect.

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