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Bengali - Interesting Facts

 

Bengali belongs to the Indo-European family of languages and is the official language of Bangladesh and one of the 22 languages recognized by the Constitution of India.

Bengali has a rich history and strong literary traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. It is also spoken by some 265 million people worldwide, making it the seventh most spoken language globally.

For Polish speakers, learning Bengali can open up many professional and cultural opportunities - and Bengali translations can be surprisingly useful. In the following paragraphs, we present selected facts, interesting aspects and surprising curiosities about the Bengali language.

A large dialectal diversity characterizes the Bengali language. The colloquial standard variety is based on southwestern dialects (Rarh and Nadia). Native speakers of the language do not always understand variants of Bengali. A good example is the dialect chaţgãia, considered by some as a separate language, which is used in the south-eastern regions of Bangladesh. The unification and regulation of Bengali is handled by two separate Academies of Bengali (one based in Bangladesh, the other in India – in West Bengal).

The Bengali alphabet, a syllabic script consisting of 52 basic characters and 5 additional characters, is used to write this language.

Bangla is one of the working languages of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

Origin of the Bengali language

The Bengali language derives from the Pre-Indoar language, spoken in the Indian subcontinent about 1500 BC. Its development was strongly associated with the influence of the Sanskrit language, which left permanent traces in grammar and Bengali vocabulary. Over time, Bengali has evolved to take in influences from other languages such as Persian, Arabic and Portuguese. Today, Bengali is a language with a rich history and varied vocabulary.

Bengali alphabet

The Bengali alphabet, also called Bengali script, is one of the most important aspects of this language. It is a syllabic writing comprising 50 letters, 11 vowels and 39 consonants. Bengali script is derived from Brahmi, an ancient Indian script, and is closely related to other scriptures used in Indian languages, such as Devanagari or Gurmukhi. For English speakers, learning Bengali can be a unique challenge and a fascinating experience.

 

Bengali vocabulary 

In Bengali, you can find many words from Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and from European languages such as English or Portuguese. For this reason, Bengali vocabulary is varied and can be a bit difficult for learners to master. Some Bengali words may seem long, but this is due to the language's characteristic long inflexion forms.

Dialects of the Bengali language

Bengali has many dialects that vary from region to region. Major dialects include Rajpuri, Manbhum, Barendra, and Chittagong. These dialects differ mainly in pronunciation and vocabulary, although there are also differences in grammar. For people who speak Polish, learning dialects can be an additional source of knowledge about the culture and communities that speak Bengali.

Bengali Literature

Bengali literature is one of the most fascinating aspects of this language. It has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages when the first texts were written in Bengali. In the 19th century, during the Bengali Renaissance, Bengali literature experienced its golden years, and writers such as Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam gained worldwide recognition. For those who speak Polish, understanding Bengali literature can be an opportunity to discover the richness of the region's culture.

Bengali language in music

Bengali music plays an important role in Bengali culture and is sung in Bengali. The main genre of Bengali music is Rabindra Sangeet, which contains works by Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Prize laureate and great Bengali poet. Other popular genres include Nazrul Geeti (songs by Kazi Nazrul Islam), Baul (folk music sung by mystic wanderers), and modern popular music. For English speakers, discovering Bengali music can be an interesting way to understand the culture and emotions.

Bengali in Cinema

Bengali cinema, also called Dhallywood, has a rich tradition, and Bengali is the main language of films produced in Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal. Bengali films often touch on important social and political topics and issues related to culture and tradition. Bengali directors include Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen. For people who speak Polish, watching Bengali films can be a great opportunity to deepen their knowledge of the language and culture.

Bengali in Business

Knowledge of the Bengali language can be very useful in business, especially for people conducting business activities related to India or Bangladesh. Bengali can be a key to gaining local partners' trust and a better understanding of the region's market and business culture.

Bengali language in technology

In the age of globalization and technological development, knowledge of the Bengali language can also be useful in IT. In Bangladesh and India, the number of technology-related businesses is growing, and knowledge of the Bengali language can be an asset for those involved in the sector.

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Bengali language and science

In India and Bangladesh, many universities and scientific institutions conduct research and publish scientific papers, also in Bengali. For people who speak Polish, knowledge of the Bengali language can be an opportunity to learn about scientific achievements related to this region.

Bengali language in the media

Bengali media includes many newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations. The most important newspapers in Bengal include “Prothom Alo”, “Kaler Kantho” and “The Daily Ittefaq”. For Bengali learners, following the Bengali media can be a great opportunity to practice reading, listening, and understanding the language and learn about the region's news and Bengali culture.

Influence of Bengali on other languages

Bengali has influenced other languages, especially those spoken by communities in the Bengal region. Examples of such languages are Assamese, Orya and Tripuri. It is worth noting the common features of Bengali languages and those that have felt its influence, such as similarities in vocabulary or grammar.

Bengali on the Internet

The Bengali language is increasingly present on the Internet. Many websites, blogs, forums, and social networking sites run in Bengali. For learners of this language, online resources can be a valuable source of knowledge, practice and contacts with native speakers.

Traditions and customs related to the Bengali language

In Bengali culture, many traditions and customs are associated with the language. An example is Pohela Boishakh, the Bengali New Year, celebrated on April 14. Numerous events and festivals are held during this holiday, where the Bengali language plays a major role. Getting to know these traditions can be an interesting experience for Bengali language learners and a way to understand the culture and history of the region.

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Basic Bengali Expressions

 

English

Bengali

yes  জি‎(ji)/হ্যাঁ‎ (hêñ) 
no না (nā)
please প্লিজ‎ (pliz)/দয়াকরে‎(dôyakôre) 
thank you ধন্যবাদ (dhan'yabāda) 
I'm sorry আমিদুঃখিত (āmiduḥkhita)
good morning সুপ্রভাত‎ (shuprobhat)
good evening শুভসন্ধ্যা (śubhasandhyā)
goodbye বিদায় (bidāẏa)
good night শুভরাত্রি (śubharātri)
hi হাই (hā'i)
how are you?  আপনিকেমনআছেন (Āpanikēmanaāchēna?)
well ভালো (good)
My name is... আমারনাম (Āmāranāma…)
I don't understand আমিবুঝতেপারছিনা (Idon’tunderstand)

 

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