What Language Does Bangladesh Speak – Regional Languages Of Bangladesh

Last Updated on January 24, 2021 by Adnan Musa

Bangladesh is a populous country but you will be amazed to hear that Bangladesh only has one official language. In fact, Bangladesh is the only country in the South-Asia with a single official language. The national language, as well as the official language of Bangladesh, is Bangla (also known as Bengali). About 98% of people in Bangladesh speak this language. Due to the British colonization of the country, English is also a widely spoken language in Bangladesh and it is often regarded as the co-official language of the country.

Besides, Bangla language; there are about 38 languages that are used in Bangladesh. If you have the chance of traveling around Bangladesh then you will encounter these languages. These languages include Arakanese, Assamese, Bishnupriya, Burmese, Chak, Chakma, Asho Chin, Bawm Chin, Falam Chin, Haka Chin, Khumi Chin, Chittagonian, Darlong, Garo, Hajong, Ho, Khasi, Koch, Kok Borok, Kurux, Megam, Meitei, Mizo, Mru, Mundari, Pankhu, Pnar, Rajbanshi, Riang, Oraon Sadri, Santali, Shendu, Sylheti, Tangchangya, Tipperary, Usui and War. So it is quite clear that there are many living and spoken languages in Bangladesh which adds to the wonderful variety of the country.        

Total Number Of People Who Speaks A Specific Language  

1. Chittagonian: 13,000,000

2.Rangpuri: 10,325,000

3.Sylheti: 8,500,000

4. Bangla Sign Language: 2,600,000

5. Rohingya: 947,000

6. Bihari: 250,000

7. Santhali: 225,000

8. Rakhine: 200,000

9. Oraon Sadri: 166,000

10. Marma: 150,000

11. Chakma: 150,000

12. Garo: 120,000

13. Tippera: 85,000

14. Kurux: 50,000

15. Bishnupuriya: 40,000

16. Mru: 30,000

17. Usoi: 22,400

18. Tangchangya: 21,600

19. War-Jaintia: 16,000

20. Meitei: 15,000

21. Bawn Chin: 10,000

22. Hajong: 8,000

23. Sauria Paharia: 7,000

24. Megam: 6,870

25. Koch: 6,000

26. Atong: 5,400

27. Kok Borok: 5,000

28. Pnar: 4,000

29. Asho Chin: 4,000

30. Chak: 3,000

31. Mundari: 2,500

32. Pangkhua: 2,400

33. Khumi Chin: 2,090

34. Kol: 1,660

35. Koda: 1,300

36. Lyngngam: 1,000

The Aryan Languages Spoken In Bangladesh

These languages are mostly spoken by the people who live in the lowlands of Bangladesh. The Bangla language is also a part of the Aryan language and the most widely spoken language of this class. Moreover, many Eastern Indic languages are also spoken which are treated as dialects of Bengali Languages. They are:

Bishnupriya: This Aryan language is spoken in some parts of northeastern India, Burma, and Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, this language is mostly spoken in the Sylhet region. Bishnupriya is written with the Bengali alphabet.

Chakma: This language is spoken by Chakma and the Daingnet people. More than 3 lack people living near Chittagong City of southeastern Bangladesh and the same number of people living in northeastern India speak this language. The Chakma script is used for this language.

Chittagonian: This language is widely spoken in the southeast of Bangladesh, especially in Chittagong. Chittagonian language is not mutually intelligible with the Bengali language. Chittagonian language is spoken by about 13 million people in Bangladesh.

Hajong: Hajong language is spoken in the Mymensingh District of Bangladesh. This language is written in Latin and the Assamese script.

Rohingya: This language is mostly spoken by the refugees from Burma in Bangladesh. Rohingya language is considered as one of the main immigrant languages of Bangladesh.

Sylheti: This language is mainly spoken by the local inhabitants of the Sylhet Division. Sylheti language is also spoken in parts of northeastern India. This language lacks mutual intelligibility therefore some people consider this language to be a dialect of Bengali while others treats it as a distinct language.         

Tangchangya: This language is closely related to the Bengali language and is mostly spoken by Bangladeshi Tanchangya people.

Rangpuri: This language is spoken by about 10 million people in Bangladesh. Many of these people are bilingual and also speak either Bengali or Assamese.

The Non-Aryan Languages Spoken In Bangladesh

These types of languages are spoken by smaller groups of people in Bangladesh. Below is a list of these languages:

Khasi: This is the major language of Khasi people living in Bangladesh. This language is also spoken in India’s Meghalaya state and in Assam.

Koda: Koda is an endangered language spoken by people in some parts of Bangladesh and India. Statistics showed there were 1,300 speakers of the Koda language in Bangladesh’s Rajshahi Division.

Mundari: This language is spoken by people in parts of eastern India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. There are few Munda tribal people who live in Bangladesh who speak this language.

Pnar: This is a language from the Austroasiatic family which is spoken in some parts of Bangladesh and India.

Santali: This language is spoken by about 6.2 million people in India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh.

War-Jaintia: This language is spoken by 16,000 people living in Bangladesh.  

Dravidian Languages Spoken In Bangladesh

There are two Dravidian languages available in Bangladesh which are spoken by indigenous communities living in the western parts of Bangladesh. The two languages are Kurukh and Sauria Paharia. 

Kurukh: In Bangladesh, about 50,000 people from the northern region speak the Kurukh language. This language is also spoken in many parts of India, Nepal, and Bhutan. UNESCO classifies this language as “endangered.”

Sauria Paharia: This is a Northern Dravidian language and it is mostly spoken by a small group of people in Bangladesh.

Foreign and Immigrant Languages Spoken In Bangladesh

There is no official reorganization of the English language but this language is frequently used in government administration, educational institutions, courts, business, and media of the country. The demand for English is very high in Bangladesh’s education system and knowledge about this language will widen the scope of employment opportunities available to the youth of the nation.

There are immigrant languages available in Bangladesh. Bihari, Burmese, and Rohingya are treated as the main immigrant languages spoken in Bangladesh. Bihari language is mostly spoken by the Muslim refugee community from India’s Bihar state. On the other hand, Burmese and Rohingya are spoken by the refugees from neighboring Burma.