Bawm language

Native to Bangladesh, India, Burma
Region Rangamati and Bandarban
Ethnicity Bawm
Native speakers
ca. 16,000 (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]

In Mizoram, India, Bawm Chin is spoken in Chhimtuipui district, Lunglei district, and Aizawl district (Ethnologue). It is also spoken in the states of Tripura and Assam.

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.[5]

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.[6]

In 1981, around 7,000 Bawms inhabited the hills of southeastern Bangladesh.[7] 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).[8] 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 (18th ed., 2015)
  2. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Bawm Chin". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  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. Kim, Roy & Sangma. 2011. The Kuki-Chin Communities of Bangladesh: A sociolinguistic survey. SIL International.
  6. Kim, Roy & Sangma. 2011. The Kuki-Chin Communities of Bangladesh: A sociolinguistic survey. SIL International.
  7. The Invention of the ‘Jummas': State Formation and Ethnicity in Southeastern Bangladesh, WILLEM VAN SCHENDEL
  8. Bawm at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)

Further reading

External links

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