Bengali is one of the most widely spoken languages of India. It is regarded as one of the sweetest languages of the world after Spanish and Dutch. Spoken by more than 210 million people as a first or second language, with some 100 million Bengali speakers in Bangladesh; about 85 million in India, primarily in the states of West Bengal, Assam, and Tripura and sizable immigrant communities in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Middle East.
Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Indian Subcontinent. It is the national and official language of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, and the official language of some eastern and north-eastern states of the Republic of India, including West Bengal, Tripura, Assam (Barak Valley) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. With over 250 million speakers, Bengali is the seventh most spoken native language in the world due to their population. It has been influenced by other language families prevalent in South Asia, notably the Dravidian, the Austroasiatic, and the Tibeto-Burman families, all of which contributed to Bengali vocabulary and provided the language with some structural forms.
Dictionaries from the early 20th century attributed slightly more than half of the Bengali vocabulary to native words (i.e., naturally modified Sanskrit words, corrupted forms of Sanskrit words, and loanwords from non-Indo-European languages), about 30 percent of unmodified Sanskrit words, and the remainder to foreign words. Dominant in the last group was Persian, which was also the source of some grammatical forms. More recent studies suggest that the use of native and foreign words has been increasing, mainly because of the preference of Bengali speakers for the colloquial style.
Today, Bengali is the primary language spoken in Bangladesh and the second most widely spoken language in India. The Bengali script has a total of 11 vowels each of which is called a shorborno “vowel letter”. The shorbornos represent six of the seven main vowel sounds of Bengali, along with two vowel diphthongs.
In the distant past Oriya, Assamese, and Bengali formed a single branch, from which Oriya split off first and Assamese later. This is one reason that the earliest specimens of Bengali language and literature, the Charyapadas (Buddhist mystic songs), are also claimed by speakers of Oriya and Assamese as their own.
The Bengali scholar Muhammad Shahidullah and his followers offered a competing theory, suggesting that the language began in the 7th century ce and developed from spoken and written Gauda (also, respectively, a Prakrit and an Apabhramsha).
The Bengali linguists Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Sukumar Sen suggested that Bengali had its origin in the 10th century CE, deriving from Magahi Prakrit (a spoken language) through Magahi Apabrahmsha (its written counterpart
Although Bengali is an Indo-European language, it has been influenced by other language families prevalent in South Asia, notably the Dravidian, the Austroasiatic , and the Tibeto-Burman families, all of which contributed to Bengali vocabulary and provided the language with some structural forms. In the 1960s and ’70s, Chatterji examined dictionaries from the early 20th century and attributed slightly more than half of the Bengali vocabulary to native words (i.e., naturally modified Sanskrit words, corrupted forms of Sanskrit words, and loanwords from non-Indo-European languages), about 45 percent to unmodified Sanskrit words, and the remainder to foreign words. Dominant in the last group was Persian, which was also the source of some grammatical forms. More recent studies suggest that the use of native and foreign words has been increasing, mainly because of the preference of Bengali speakers for the colloquial style.
There are two standard styles in Bengali: the Sadhubhasha (elegant or genteel speech) and the Chaltibhasha (current or colloquial speech). The former was largely shaped by the language of early Bengali poetical works. In the 19th century, it became standardized as the literary language and also as the appropriate vehicle for business and personal exchanges. Although it was at times used for oration, Sadhubhasa was not the language of daily Communication.
Bengali Script is the fifth most widely used writing system in the world.The Bengali alphabet are known as ‘Bangla Bornomala’. There are 51 letters in the Bengali Alphabet, 11 Vowels and 40 Consonants. The Bangla Alphabet or bornomala are listed as below:
|Bangla||Bangla Examples||English To Bangla||Phonetic Examples|
|ঞ||গাঞি||niyô / iyô|
|ধ||ধনুক||dho||dont u dare|
Out of the total 50 letters in the Bangla Alphabet or Bornomala, there are a total number of 11 Vowels which is called ‘Shorborno’. Below are the listed vowels–
English To Bangla
Consonant letters are called ‘Benjonborno’ and are 35 in numbers. Below are the consonants-
English To Bangla
niyô / iyô
dont u dare
These are mainly the Brahmi-Sanskrit diacritics present in languages with Sanskrit influence or Brahmi-derived scripts.
English To Bangla
Merging Consonants and Vowels:
English To Bangla
To understand how Bengali alphabet is used as building blocks to make complex sentences, please see the following:
“যদি একজন মানুষ তার সঙ্গীদের সাথে গতি না রাখে, সম্ভবত এটি একটি ভিন্ন ড্রামারকে শুনতে পায় “ –
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. “
– Walden, Henry David Thoreau