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Bengali (বাংলা) বাংলা Bangla (Bengali)

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.

Bengali at a glance

  • Native name: বাংলা (Bangla) [ˈbaŋla]
  • Linguistic affliation: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Eastern Zone (Magadhan), Bengali–Assamese
  • Number of speakers: c. 300 million
  • Spoken in: Bangladesh and India
  • First written: 11th century
  • Writing system: Brahmi and Bengali alphabets
  • Status: official language in Bengali, and one of the official languages of India

There are some differences in pronunciation and vocabulary between the Bengali of Bangladesh and the Bengali spoken in India.

Written Bengali

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

Notable features

Bengali alphabet

Vowels and vowel diacritics

Bengali vowels

Hear another recording of the Bengali vowels by Abu Saleh Mohammad Sultan

More consonant-vowel combinations


Bengali consonants

Hear another recording of the Bengali consonants by Abu Saleh Mohammad Sultan

A selection of conjunct consonants

A selection of Bengali conjunct consonants

All conjunct consonants

Modifier symbols

Additional Bengali symbols


Bengali numerals

Hear another recording of the Bengali numerals by Abu Saleh Mohammad Sultan

Download a spreadsheet with these charts (Excel format, 80K)

Sample text in Bengali

Sample text in Bengali (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Transliteration (by Arif Ahmed)

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.

Hear a recording of this text

Hear another recording of this text 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)

Information about Bengali | Phrases | Numbers | Kinship words | Telling the time | Tower of Babel | Learning materials


Information about Bengali

Online Bengali lessons

Numbers in Bengali

Bengali phrases

Online Bengali Dictionaries

Bengali fonts

Online radio in Bengali,,615,00.html

Online Bengali news

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:

Indo-Aryan languages

Awadhi, Assamese, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Chakma, Dhivehi, Fiji Hindi, Gujarati, Hajong, Hindi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Kotia, Kutchi, Magahi, Maithili, Marathi, Marwari, Modi, Nepali, Odia, Palula, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Rohingya, Romani, Saraiki, Sarnámi Hindustani, Sindhi, Sinhala, Shina, Sourashtra, Sugali, Sylheti, Urdu

Languages written with the Bengali alphabet

Also used to write: Bishnupriya, Bodo, Chakma, Chiru, Koda, Nisi, Deori, Dimasa, 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.

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

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