Bengali/Verbs

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The verb is the most important part of speech in Bengali sentences. The Bengali verb takes the form of a verb root followed by person, tense and aspect markers. There's no gender or number marker for the verb in Bengali, which makes learning the language easier.

Verb root + (Person+Tense+Aspect) Marker = Verb

So when we discuss verbs in Bengali, we usually discuss: (a) whether the verb root undergoes any change in different grammatical conditions. (b) what the person, tense and aspect markers are in different grammatical conditions.

Once you have mastered the knowledge of the above two issues, you have mastered the Bengali verb.

Case study of the verb "to eat"[edit]

Let's start with a simple example, taking the Bengali verb "to eat". The root for this verb is "kha". The following discussion of the verb is arranged according to tense. The person and aspect features are discussed within each tense.

There are three grammatical tenses in Bangla: Present, Past and Future.

Present tense[edit]

In the present tense, there are three aspects: Simple, Perfect, and Continuous.

Simple Present tense[edit]

For the first person (singular or plural) in simple present tense, the verb is marked null for tense, null for aspect and marked "i" for person. So, the form of the verb "to eat" in first person will be:

kha + 0 + 0 + i = khai

Used in a sentence with the singular first person personal pronoun "ami" (I), it reads:

ami khai. (I eat.) (1st person, singular, simple present)

Similarly, in a sentence with the plural first person personal pronoun "amra" (We), it reads:

amra khai. (We eat.) (1st person, plural, simple present)

Note that the verb form is the same regardless of number.

For the second and third persons in the simple present tense, the tense and aspect markers are again null, but the person markers are "o" and "y", respectively. Therefore we have:

tumi khao. (You eat.) (2nd person, singular, simple present) tomra khao. (You eat.) (2nd person, plural, simple present)

she khay. (He/She eats.) (3rd person, singular, simple present) tara khay. (They eat.) (3rd person, plural, simple present)

Past tense[edit]

Similarly in the simple past, the verb conjugation doesn't change irrespective of the number

for first person its : verb+e+chchhilam (pronounce the 'chchh' as in Bachchhan) for second person its: verb+e+chchhiley for third person its: verb+e+chchhilo

Used in a sentence with the singular first person personal pronoun "ami" (I), it reads:

ami khae-chchhilam. (I ate.) (1st person, singular, simple past)

Similarly, in a sentence with the plural first person personal pronoun "amra" (We), it reads:

amra khaechchhilam. (We ate.) (1st person, plural, simple past)

Second person tumi khaechchhiley. (You ate.) (2nd person, singular, simple past) tomra khaechchhiley. (You(all) ate.) (2nd person, plural, simple past)

she khaechchhilo. (He/She ate.) (3rd person, singular, simple past) tara khaechchhilo. (They ate.) (3rd person, plural, simple past)

Future tense[edit]