Myanmar (Burma)

Riang Lang

Within Bangladesh the Riang people live almost exclusively in Rangamati district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This people group relates loosely with the Tripura community, which lives throughout much of the Hill Tracts and into southern Sylhet division of Bangladesh as well as through Tripura state, India.

Most Riang speakers are agriculturalists, and they practice a type of farming which is often referred to as "slash and burn" farming. They live in hilly areas and farm different hillsides on a rotational basis. Their homes are generally made of bamboo and leaves. Most of their villages do not have electricity or roads leading to them.

The language situation among the Riang in Bangladesh is an interesting one. There are thousands of Riang people in Rangamati district, but only about 500 of them reportedly still speak Riang. Most of the other Riang people in Bangladesh now speak a form of Chakma as their mother tongue. Because of the environmental realities that hinder easy access to schools and because Bangla is the language of education, Riang people struggle to achieve their educational goals.

The Riang generally follow a denomination of Orthodox Hinduism called Sonaton, yet a significant percentage claim to be Christians. The New Testament is available to them in the Riang language, but access to training for comprehension and practice is limited.

Language Data

  • Alternate names: Black Karen, Black Riang, Black Yang, Liang Sek, Riang, Yang, Yang Wan Kun, Yanglam, Yin, Yin Kya, Yin Net, Yinnet; Also, in China: Riang
  • Dialects: Black Riang, De'ang, Liang, Liang Palaung, Na'ang, Red Riang, Xiaoan'gou, Xiaochanggou, Yang Sek, Yang Wan Kun, Yanglam, Yin, Yinja
  • Scriptures published:
    • Portions (1950)
  • Literacy: Literacy rate in first language: Below 1% in Riang Lang. Some also use Shan [shn]
    Second Language: No information available.
  • Primary country: Myanmar (Burma)
  • Region: Northeast, Shan State, Hopang district, near southern Shan town of Pang Long
  • Also used in: China,
  • Religion: Buddhist, traditional religion
  • Livelihood: Agriculture
  • Status: Language of recognized nationality in China
  • Number of users: 15,500 (12,500 in Myanmar (2008); 3,000)
  • Vitality: Threatened

(data from Ethnologue and other sources)