The Bengali alphabet is derived from the Brahmi alphabet. It is also closely related to the Devanagari alphabet, from which it started to diverge in the 11th Century AD. The current printed form of Bengali alphabet first appeared in 1778 when Charles Wilkins developed printing in Bengali. A few archaic letters were modernised during the 19th century.
Bengali has two literary styles: one is called Sadhubhasa (elegant language) and the other Chaltibhasa (current language). The former is the traditional literary style based on Middle Bengali of the sixteenth century, while the later is a 20th century creation and is based on the speech of educated people in Calcutta. The differences between the two styles are not huge and involve mainly forms of pronouns and verb conjugations.
Some people prefer to call this alphabet the Eastern Nagari script or Eastern Neo-Brahmic script
Bengali (বাংলা), an eastern Indo-Aryan language with around 211 million speakers in Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal and also in Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, the UAE, UK and USA.
Assamese, an eastern Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 15 million people in the Indian states of Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, and also spoken in Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Manipuri, one of the official languages of the Indian state of Manipur in north-east India and has about 1.1 million speakers. It is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family, and also has its own alphabet
Garo, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by about 800,000 people in the Indian states of Meghalaya and Assam, and also in Bangladesh.
Mundari, a Munda language with about two million speakers in eastern India, mainly in the Indian state of Bihar, also in Bangladesh and Nepal. It has been written with the Devanagari, Bengali, Oriya and Latin alphabets.
Download a spreadsheet with these charts (Excel format, 80K)
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Online Bengali lessons
Ekushey - an add-on for MS Word which enables you to type in Bengali or Assamese
Free bengali fonts
Online radio in Bengali
Viswayan - information about Bengali language, literature, drama, video, etc.
ALPHABETUM - a Unicode font specifically designed for ancient scripts, including classical & medieval Latin, ancient Greek, Etruscan, Oscan, Umbrian, Faliscan, Messapic, Picene, Iberian, Celtiberian, Gothic, Runic, Old & Middle English, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Old Nordic, Ogham, Kharosthi, Glagolitic, Old Cyrillic, Phoenician, Avestan, Ugaritic, Linear B, Anatolian scripts, Coptic, Cypriot, Brahmi, Old Persian cuneiform: http://guindo.pntic.mec.es/~jmag0042/alphabet.html
Awadhi, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Chakma, Dhivehi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Kotia, Kutchi, Maithili, Marathi, Marwari, Modi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Romany, Saraiki, Sindhi, Sinhala, Sourashtra, Sugali, Sylheti, Urdu
Also used to write: Bishnupriya, Bodo, Chakma, Chiru, Koda, Nisi, Deori, Dimasa, Hajong, Koch, Khasi, Kudmali, Tiwa, Sauria Paharia, Miri, Chothe Naga, Thangal Naga, Moyon Naga, Maring Naga, Rabha, Rangpuri, Santali, Sadri, Oraon Sadri, Sulung, Panchpargania, Tippera, Kok Borok, Toto and Usui.
Ahom, Badaga, Balinese, Batak, Baybayin (Tagalog), Bengali, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Chakma, Cham, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Dhives Akuru, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Gondi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Hanuno'o, Javanese, Jenticha, Kaithi, Kannada, Kharosthi, Khmer, Khojki, Kulitan, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Malayalam, Manpuri, Modi, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, New Tai Lue, Oriya, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Ranjana, Redjang, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sindhi, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Tulu, Varang Kshiti
Hosted by Kualo