Bengali is an eastern Indo-Aryan language with around 265 million speakers, mainly in Bangladesh and northern Indian. In 2017 there were about 159 million Bengali speakers in Bangladesh, and in 2011 there were about 104 million speakers of Bengali in India, particularly in the states of Assam, Bihar, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal, and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. There are also Bengali speakers in the UAE (337,000), Pakistan (290,000), Myanmar (286,000), the USA (258,000), UK (221,000), and a number of other countries.
Bengali is the sole official language of Bangladesh, and is used in all courts, government offices and other institutions. It is also the de-facto national language.
Bengali is the official language of the India states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam, and the second official language of Jharkhand state. It is recognized as a secondary language in Karachi in Pakistan.
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 Shadhubhôsha (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
How to write Bengali vowels:
How to write Bengali consonants:
Shômôstô manush shadhinbhabe shôman môrjada ebông ôdhikar niye jônmôgrôhôn kôre. Tãder bibek ebông buddhi achhe; shutôrang shôkôleri êke ôpôrer prôti bhratrittôsulôbh mônobhab niye achôrôn 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 Amuk F.
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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Page last modified: 27.09.22
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