Mru language

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Region Bangladesh, Burma, India
Ethnicity Mru people
Native speakers
50,000 (1999–2007)[1]
Mru script, Latin script
Language codes
ISO 639-3 mro
Glottolog mruu1242[3]
Mru women harvesting rice
A group of Mrus foraging in the hills
The Mru people and language are located in the lower right hand corner of the map of Bangladesh

Mru (Maru), also known as Mrung (Murung), is a Sino-Tibetan language and one of the recognized languages of Bangladesh. It is spoken by a community of Mros (Mrus) inhabiting the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh with a population of 22,000 according to the 1991 census, and in Burma. The Mros are the second-largest tribal group in Bandarban District of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. A small group of Mros also live in Rangamati Hill District.

The Mru language is considered "Severely endangered" by UNESCO.[4]


Mru forms the Mruic language branch with Hkongso and Anu, which are spoken in Paletwa Township, Chin State, Myanmar. The position of Mruic with Sino-Tibetan is unclear.


The Mros live in forest areas of Lama, Ruma, Alikaram, and Thanchi near Chimbuk Mountain of Bandarban District (Rashel 2009). They also live in Sittwe (Akiab), Rakhine State, Burma.


Ethnologue (22nd edition) lists 3 main dialects as Anok, Dowpreng (Dopreng), and Sungma (Tshungma), as well as the 2 minor dialects of Domrong and Rumma.

  • Anok: largest and central
  • Tshungma: in the north
  • Domrong: in the lowlands north of the Matamuri
  • Dopreng: in far south and into Arakan
  • Rumma: in far south and into Arakan

There are five Mru dialects according to Ebersole (1996).

  • Anawk
  • Süngma
  • Dopreng
  • Tamsa
  • Rengmitsa

There are five major Mro clans (Rashel 2009).

  • Dengua
  • Premsang
  • Kongloi
  • Maizer
  • Ganaroo Gnar

Rashel (2009) also lists another classification scheme which lists ten Mro clans.

  • Yarua (subdivisions below)
    • Khatpo
    • Chimlung
    • Zongnow
  • Sangkan
  • Chawla
  • Ngaringcha
  • Tang
  • Deng
  • Kough
  • Tam-tu-chah
  • Kanbak
  • Prenju
  • Naichah
  • Yomore


Unlike the Kuki-Chin languages, Mru has SVO (subject-verb-object) word order (Ebersole 1996).


Rashel (2009:159) lists the following Mro numerals.

  1. lɔk
  2. pre
  3. ʃum
  4. taːli
  5. taŋa
  6. trok
  7. rinit
  8. riyat
  9. tako
  10. h:muit


Mro, Krama[1]
Languages Mru
Direction Left-to-right
ISO 15924 Mroo, 264
Unicode alias

The Mru script is an indigenous, messianic script: In the 1980s Menlay Murang (also known as Manley Mro) created the religion of Khrama (or Crama) and with it a new script for the Mru language.[5][6]

The script is written from left to right and has its own set of digits. It does not use tone marks.

The Mru language is written in both the Latin and Mru scripts.


The Mru alphabet was added to the Unicode Standard in June, 2014 with the release of version 7.0.

The Unicode block for the Mru script, called Mro, is U+16A40–U+16A6F:

Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+16A4x 𖩀 𖩁 𖩂 𖩃 𖩄 𖩅 𖩆 𖩇 𖩈 𖩉 𖩊 𖩋 𖩌 𖩍 𖩎 𖩏
U+16A5x 𖩐 𖩑 𖩒 𖩓 𖩔 𖩕 𖩖 𖩗 𖩘 𖩙 𖩚 𖩛 𖩜 𖩝 𖩞
U+16A6x 𖩠 𖩡 𖩢 𖩣 𖩤 𖩥 𖩦 𖩧 𖩨 𖩩 𖩮 𖩯
1.^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2.^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

See also

  • Mru word list (Wiktionary)


  1. ^ a b Mru at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mruic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Mru". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  4. ^ Evans, Lisa (2011-04-15). "Endangered languages: the full list". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  5. ^ Hosken, Martin; Everson, Michael (24 March 2009). "N3589R: Proposal for encoding the Mro script in the SMP of the UCS" (PDF). Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  6. ^ Zaman, Mustafa (24 February 2006). "Mother Tongue at Stake". Star Weekend Magazine. The Daily Star. 5 (83).
  • Ebersole, Harold. 1996. The Mru Language: A preliminary grammatical sketch. Ms.
  • Peterson, David A., "Where does Mru fit into Tibeto-Burman?", The 42nd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics (ICSTLL 42), November 2009, Payap University, Chiangmai, Thailand. Cf. p. 14.
  • Rashel, Md Mostafa (2009). "Morphosyntactic Analysis of Mro Language." Dhaka University Journal of Linguistics, Vol, 2, No, 3, February 2009, 141–160.

Further reading

  • Clifton, John M. 2009. "Orthography development as an ongoing collaborative process: lessons from Bangladesh". 1st International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)
  • Mru word list (Luce 1985)
  • Mru word list (Matisoff 1987)
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