Bengali is an eastern Indo-Aryan language with around 300 million speakers mainly in Bangladesh, and in the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and South Assam. Bengali is the national and official language of Bangladesh, and one of the official languages in India. It is also spoken in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
There are some differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between the Bengali of Bangladesh and the Bengali spoken in India.
The Bengali alphabet (বাংলা লিপি - Bangla lipi) 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 Sadhubhasha (সাধুভাষা - "elegant language") and the other Chôlitôbhasha (চলিতভাষা "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
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Shomosto manush shadhinbhabe shoman morjada ebong odhikar niye jonmogrohon kore. Tader bibek ebong buddhi achhe; shutorang shokoleri ekey oporer proti bhratrittoshulobh monobhab niye achoron kora uchit.
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
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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, Fiji Hindi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Kotia, Kutchi, Maithili, Marathi, Marwari, Modi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Romani, Saraiki, Sarnámi Hindustani, 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.