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What writing system(s) does this language use?[edit | edit source]

The Bengali language, locally known as Bangla, uses Bengali script, an Indic script somewhat similar to Devanagari script used to write Hindi.

How many people speak this language[edit | edit source]

Bengali is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the world with over 200 million speakers. It is the primary language of Bangladesh. 149 million 500 thousand citizens in Bangladesh speak in Bengali. Bengali is also spoken in India, especially in the state of West Bengal, and in Nepal by minority groups. Besides, emigrant Bangladeshis also speak in this language.

Where is this language spoken?[edit | edit source]

Where Bengali originated from.

Bengali is spoken in Bangladesh as well as in West Bengal, Tripura (states of India), Assam and also some portion of Jharkhand. West Bengal and Bangladesh together formed the ancient region of Bengal. There is also a growing Bengali speaking population in England.

What is the history of this language?[edit | edit source]

Bengali evolved from the merging of some derivatives of Sanskrit with local dialects. It also was enriched with the infusion of words from Arabic, Persian and European languages. The oldest specimen of Bengali literature is Charyapada from the 7th century.

Bengali also holds the distinction of being a language for which the speakers had to struggle a lot. In 1952, Bangladesh was part of Pakistan. The Pakistani rulers, mostly from the erstwhile Western wing of Pakistan (which forms the current state), were Urdu and Punjabi speaking, and wanted to declare Urdu as the national language. This was against the wishes of the Bengali population, who were the majority in Pakistan. On 21 February, 1952, a bloody crackdown by Police on unarmed students and activists resulted in a massacre. The movement later resulted in Bangla being recognized as one of the national languages of Pakistan. The event is commemorated as Language Movement Day in Bangladesh, and in 1999, UNESCO recognized it as the International Mother Language Day.

Who are some famous authors or poets in this language?[edit | edit source]

Nazrul playing a flute, Chittagong, 1926

Rabindranath Tagore is the most famous Bengali poet. He received the 1913 Nobel Prize in literature for his book of poems, Gitanjali. Two of his songs are the national anthems of Bangladesh and India.

Kazi Nazrul Islam, another famous poet was known as the rebel poet mainly because of his most famous poem called "Bidrohi" or "The Rebel", and also because of his strong sympathy and support for revolutionary activities leading to India's independence from British Rule.

Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay was a Bengali writer in the early twentieth century, and is one of the all-time most popular Indian authors. He wrote novels and short stories, mostly about the people and social practices of Bengal.

What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?[edit | edit source]

  • aami - I - আমি
  • tumi - You - তুমি
  • aapni - You (with respect) - আপনি
  • aamra - We - আমরা
  • bhalobasha - Love - ভালোবাসা
  • khela - Game - খেলা
  • din - Day - দিন
  • raat - Night - রাত
  • bari - house - বাড়ি
  • kukur - Dog - কুকুর
  • beeral - Cat - বেড়াল
  • boi - Book - বই
  • dhonnobad - Thank you - ধন্যবাদ
  • naa - No - না
  • heh - Yes - হ্যাঁ
  • prithibi - Earth - পৃথিবী
  • chaad - Moon - চাঁদ
  • gorom - Hot - গরম
  • thanda - Cold - ঠাণ্ডা
  • hi/ai(ei) - hello;
  • manush - human - মানুষ;
  • bhasha - language - ভাষা;
  • pani/jol - water - পানি/জল;
  • batash - air - বাতাস;
  • akash - sky - আকাশ;
  • maati - soil - মাটি;
  • ekh - one - এক;
  • dui - two - দুই;
  • teen - three - তিন;
  • chaar - four - চার;
  • paach - five - পাঁচ;
  • choy - six - ছয়;
  • shaat - seven - সাত;
  • aat - eight - আট;
  • noy - nine - নয়:
  • dosh - ten - দশ;
  • Aamar naam Rishi - My name is Rishi - আমার নাম ঋষি
  • Tomar Naam Ki? - What is your name? - তোমার নাম কি?
  • Shuprobhat - Good Morning - সুপ্রভাত;
  • Bidaa-ye - Good bye - বিদায়;
  • Pochondo kora- Like - পছন্দ করা।
  • " tumi kemon achho " - how are you - তুমি কেমন আছো ?
  • " ami bhalo achhi " - I'm fine - আমি ভালো আছি

What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?[edit | edit source]

A nonsense children's rhyme in Bengali called 'Haattimatimtim'.

Tara maathe pare dim.
Tader khara duto shing,
Tara Haattimatimtim.
They lay eggs in the field.
They have two straight horns,
They are the Haattimatimtim.)
In Bengali script
তারা মাঠে পাড়ে ডিম
তাদের খাড়া দুটো শিং
তারা হাটিমাটিমটিম

Another nonsense children's rhyme in Bengali called 'Aaikom Baaikom'.

Aaikom baikom taratari,
Jodu master shoshur bari.
Rel gari jhomajhhom ,
Pa pichhle aalur dom.
(Aaikom baikom Quickly,
Jodu master in-law's house.
Rail car Choo-Choo,
Slip & fall down mashed potato.)
In Bengali Script
আইকম বাইকম তাড়াতাড়ি
যদু মাস্টার শ্বশুরবাড়ি
রেল গাড়ি ঝমাঝম
পা পিছলে আলুর দম

References[edit | edit source]