Volume 32, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0957-6851
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9838
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Throughout antiquity, the Chittagong Hill Tract was a sparsely populated region. This population increased with the immigration of different speech communities, thus changing its linguistic mosaic, and creating conditions for language contact between vernacular Bangla and between its ancestral Indo-Aryan variety Pali, the superstrate, and the Tibeto-Burman variety, the substratum. In the changing language contact situation, language contact involved various phenomena, such as language maintenance, the creation of new contact languages, i.e. pidgins and creoles as well as the acquisition and integration into a dominant L2. Through this language contact, the processes of language contact have had particular linguistic, social, and political outcomes that have shaped the region. The linguistic outcomes include lexical borrowing, calquing, and structural convergence, as well as the creation of a new contact language combining both the Indo-Aryan vernacular and Tibeto-Burman vernacular. This paper discusses these outcomes, and describes that changes in the social and political makeup of the region have ultimately led to language change. The study argues that linguistic change appears at present in several ways: The lexical makeup, phraseology and syntactic structure of Indo-Aryan varieties spoken by the Tibeto-Burman speech communities; pidgins including Chakma and Tanchangya which have emerged from contact between the Indo-Aryan variety and the Arakanese vernacular; a Tibeto-Burman pidgin which has emerged from contact between the superstrata Marma and the substrates Chak, Khumi, and Kheyang, which are spoken by the Marma, Chak, Khumi, and Kheyang ethnicities. Ultimately, the study presents that these social and linguistic outcomes have manifested themselves in the form of bilingualism and so code-mixing, and where the political outcomes of language contact have forged the political makeup of the Chittagong Hill Tract to bring the region to become one part of the larger political superstructure of Bangladesh.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Arakanization; assimilation; Chittagong Hill Tracts; language contact; Tribal languages
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