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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Shômosto manush shadhinbhabe shôman môrjada ebong odhikar niye jônmogrohon kôre. Tãder bibek ebong buddhi achhe. Shutorang shôkoleri eke ôporer proti bhratrittoshulôbh monobhab niye achôrono kôra uchit.
ʃɔmost̪o manuʃ ʃad̪ʱinbʱabe ʃɔman mɔɾd͡ʒad̪a eboŋ od̪ʱikaɾ nije d͡ʒɔnmogɾohon kɔɾe. t̪ãd̪eɾ bibek eboŋ bud̪ːʱi at͡ʃʰe, ʃut̪oɾaŋ ʃɔkoleɾi ɛke ɔpoɾeɾ pɾot̪i bʱɾat̪ɾit̪ːoʃulɔbʱ monobʱab nije at͡ʃɔɾon kɔɾa ut͡ʃit̪.
Transliteration and IPA transcription by Abu Saleh Mohammad Sultan
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
Online Bengali Dictionaries
Online radio in Bengali
Bengali and Sylheti Language Services
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
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