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Bengali is an adjective and noun that may refer to the following:

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Pronunciation guide

The phoneme inventory of Bengali consists of 29 consonants and 14 vowels, including the seven nasalized vowels. Vowel sounds can either be independent or hooked on to the consonant in the form of diacritics.

Vowels

The independent vowel is on the left, the diacritic (which is hooked on to the consonant) is on the right.

আ া 
Like "a" in "cat" (a).
এ ে 
Like "e" in "bed" (e).
আ া 
Like "a" in "rather" (ā).
ঐ ৈ 
Like "i" in "nile" (æ).
এই 
Like "ay" in "may" (ay).
এ ে 
Like "e" in "red" (e).
ঈ ী 
Like "ee" in "reed" (í).
ই ি 
Like "i" in "rid" (i).
ও ো 
Like "o" in "hot" (o).
ও ো 
Like "oa" in "boat" (ó).
ঘ় 
Like "oy" in "boy" (oy).
উ ু 
Like "u" in "put" (u).
ই ি 
Like "ui" in "quick" (wi).
ব 
Like "b" in "boy" (b).
চ 
Like "ch" in "cheat" (ç).
দ 
Like "d" in "doubt" (d).
ফ 
Like "f" in "frog" (f).
গ 
Like "g" in "go" (g).
হ 
Like "h" in "hit" (h).
জ 
Like "j" in "juggle" (j).
ক 
Like "k" in "skin" (k).
ল 
Like "l" in "loud" (l).
ম 
Like "m" in "man" (m).
ণ 
Like "n" in "no" (n).
ঙ 
Like "ng" in "king" (ng).
প 
Like "p" in "spit" (p).
র 
Like "r" in "run", but slightly trilled (r).
স 
Like "s" in "so" (s).
ত 
Like "t" in "talk" (t).
য 
Like "y" in "yes" (y).

Aspirated consonants

Aspirated consonants are pronounced with a puff of air.

ভ 
Like "b" in "blight" (b').
ছ 
Like "ch" in "cheese" (ç').
ধ 
Like "d" in "din" (d').
ঘ 
Like "g" in "language" (g').
ঝ 
Like "j" in "jam" (j').
খ 
Like "k" in "kick" (k').
ফ 
Like "p" in "pit" (p').
ঠ 
Like "t" in "tin" (t').

Retroflex consonants

Retroflex consonants are pronounced with the tip of the tongue flapping against the roof of the mouth.

ড 
Like "d" in "doubt" but retroflex (đ).
ড় 
Like "r" in "run" but slightly trilled retroflex (ŗ).
ত 
Like "t" in "talk" but retroflex (ţ).

Aspirated retroflex consonants

Aspirated retroflex consonants are pronounced with the tip of the tongue flapping against the roof of the mouth and a puff of air.

ঢ 
Like "d" in "din" but retroflex (đ').
থ 
Like "t" in "tin" but retroflex (ţ').

Common signs

OPEN 
েখালা
CLOSED 
বঋ
ENTRANCE 
দরজা
EXIT 
নিষ্ক্রম
PUSH 
নাড়ানো
PULL 
টন
TOILET 
টয়লট
MEN 
পুরুষ েলাকর
WOMEN 
মিহলর
FORBIDDEN 
Hello. (Hindu)
Nômoshkar.
Hello. (Muslim)
Assalamualaikum (or) Slamlikum
How are you? 
(Apni) kêmon achhen? (formal)
(Tumi) kêmon achho?
(I'm) fine. 
(Ami) bhalo (achhi).
What is your name? 
Apnar nam ki? (formal)
Tomar nam ki?
My name is ______ . 
Amar nam ______ .
Nice to meet you. 
Apnar shathe porichôe hoe amar khub-i bhalo laglo. (formal)
Tomar shathe porichôe hoe amar khub-i bhalo laglo.
Please. 
Dôeakore. (formal)
Ektu.
Thank you. 
Dhonnobad. (formal)
You're welcome. 
Kichhu mone korben na. (formal)
Kichhu mone koro na.
Yes. 
Ji. (formal)
Hê.
No. 
Jina. (formal)
Na.
Excuse me. (getting attention
Ei-je!

Dada (when addressing a man) Didi (when addressing a lady)

Excuse me. (to pass by someone
Dekhi?
I'm sorry. 
Ami khub-i dukkhito.
Forgive me. 
Maf korun.
Maf kôro.
Goodbye 
Khodahafez. (Muslim)
I can't speak name of language [that well]. 
(Ami) ____ [ôto bhalo] bolte pari na.
Do you speak English? 
Apni-ki Ingreji bolte paren?
Tumi-ki Ingreji bolte paro?
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
Ekhane keu achhe, je Ingreji bolte paren?
Help! 
Bachao!
Look out! 
Shabdhan!
Good morning. 
Suprobhat. (highly formal)
Good evening. 
Subho shôndha. (highly formal)
Good night. 
Subho ratri. (highly formal)
I don't understand. 
(Ami) bujhi na.
Where is the toilet? 
Tôeletta kothae?

Problems

shomosha

Numbers

0 Shunno
1 Êk
2 Dui
3 Tin
4 Char
5 Pãch
6 Chhôe
7 Shat
8 At
9 Nôe
10 Dôsh
11 Êgaro
12 Baro
13 Têro
14 Chouddo
15 Pônero
16 Sholo
17 Shôtero
18 Atharo
19 Unnish

20 Bish / Kuri
30 Trish
40 Chollish
50 Pônchash
60 Shat
70 Shottur
80 Ashi
90 Nobboi

100 Êk sho
1,000 Êk hajar
10,000 Dôsh hajar
100,000 Êk lakh
1,000,000 Dôsh lakh
10,000,000 Êk kuti

Time

Clock time

Duration

Days

Monday
Shombar
Tuesday
Monggolbar
Wednesday
Budhbar
Thursday
Brihoshpotibar
Friday
Shukrobar
Saturday
Shonibar
Sunday
Robibar

Months

Writing time and date

black
kalo
white
shada
red
lal
pink
golapi
orange
kômla
yellow
holud
green
shobuj
blue
nil
purple
beguni

Transportation

Bus and train

Directions

here
eikhane
there
oikhane
(on/to the) right
dan (dike)
(on/to the) left
bã (dike)
(on/to the) north
uttor (dike)
(on/to the) south
dokkhin (dike)
(on/to the) east
purbo (dike)
(on/to the) west
poshchim (dike)
straight
shoja
in front
shamne
behind
pichhe / pichhon dike
Go (___).
(___) jan. (formal)
(___) jao.
Turn around (___).
(___) Ghurun. (formal)
(___) Ghoro.
Keep going (___).
(___) Jete thakun. (formal)
(___) Jete thako.
Stop (___).
(___) Thamun. (formal)
(___) Thamo.

Taxi

Money

Poysha

Eating

Khabar

Shopping

Bajar

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BENGALI, with Oriya and Assamese, three of the four forms of speech which compose the Eastern Group of the Indo-Aryan Languages. This group includes all the Aryan languages spoken in India east of the longitude of Benares, and its members are the following: - Number of speakers in British India, 1901.1901. Bengali.

44,624,048 Oriya. 9,687,429 Assamese. 1,350,846 Bihari. 34,579,844 Total. .. 90,242,167 Of these Bihari is treated separately. In the present article we shall devote ourselves to the examination of Bengali together with the two other closely connected languages. The reader is throughout assumed to be in possession of the facts described under the heads Indo-Aryan Languages and Prakrit.

Bengali is spoken in the province of Bengal proper, i.e. in, and on both sides of, the delta of the Ganges, and also in the Eastern. Bengal portion of the province of Eastern Bengal and Language.

Assam. The name " Bengali " is an English word, derived from the English word " Bengal." Natives call the language Banga-Bhasa, or the language of Banga, i.e. " Bengal." " Oriya" is the native name for the language of Odra or Orissa. Assamese, again an English word, is spoken in the Assam Valley. Its native name is Asamiya, pronounced Ohamiya. All these languages have alphabets derived from early forms of the well-known Nagari character of northern India. That of Bengali dates from about the rrth century A.D. It is a cursive script which admits of considerable speed in writing. The Assamese alphabet is the same as that of Bengali, but has one additional character to represent the sound of w, which has to be expressed in the former language in a very awkward fashion. In Orissa, till lately, writing was done on a talipot palm-leaf, on which the letters were scratched with an iron stylus. In such circumstances straight lines would tend to split the leaf, and accordingly the alphabet received a peculiar curved appearance typical of it and of one or two other South Indian methods of writing.

The three languages are all the immediate descendants of Magadhi Prakrit (see Prakrit), the headquarters of which were in south Behar, near the modern city of Patna. From here it spread in three lines - southwards, where it developed into Oriya; south-eastwards into Bengal proper, where it became Bengali; and eastwards, through Northern Bengal, into Assam, where it became Assamese. It thus appears that the language of Northern Bengal, though usually and conveniently treated as a dialect of Bengali, is not so in reality, but is a connecting link between Assamese and Bihari, the language of Behar. It is noteworthy that Northern Bengali and Assamese often agree in their grammar with Oriya, as against standard Bengali.

Omitting border forms of speech, Bengali, as a vernacular, has two main dialects, a western and an eastern, the former being the standard. The boundary-line between the two may be roughly put at the 8 9 th degree of east longitude. The eastern dialect has many marked peculiarities, amongst which we may mention a tendency to disaspiration, the pronunciation of c as ts, of ch as s, and of j as z. In the northern part of the tract a medial r is often elided, and in the extreme east there is a broader pronunciation of the vowel a, like that in the English word " ball," k is sounded like the ch in " loch," and both c and ch are pronounced like s. The letter p is often sounded like w, and s like h, which again, when initial, is dropped. The distinction between cerebral and dental letters is lost, so that the words ath and sat are both pronounced 'at. In the south-east, near Chittagong, corruption has gone even further, and the local dialect, which is practically a new language, is unintelligible to a man from Western Bengal. Throughout the eastern districts there is a strong tendency to epenthesis, e.g. kali is pronounced hail. A more important dialectic difference in Bengali is that between the literary speech and the vernacular. The literary vocabulary is highly Sanskritized, so much so that it is not understood by any native of Bengal who has not received special instruction in it. Its grammar preserves numerous archaic or pseudo-archaic forms, which are invariably contracted in the colloquial speech of even the most highly educated. For instance, " I do " is expressed in the literary dialect by karitechi, but in the vernacular by kOrcci or kOcci. Oriya and Assamese may be said to have no dialects. There are a few local variations, but the standard form of speech, as a whole, is used everywhere in the respective tracts where the languages are spoken.

The three languages, being all children of a common parent, present many similar features. Oriya on the whole preserves the usual accentuation of the Indo-Aryan Languages, seldom having the stress syllable farther back than the antepenultimate. Bengali, on the other hand, throws the accent as far back as possible, and this produces the contracted forms which we observe in the colloquial language, the first syllable of a word being strongly accented, and the rest being hurried over. Literary Bengali preserves the full form of the word, and in reading aloud this full form is adhered to. Assamese follows Bengali in its accentuation, but the language has never been the toy of euphuism. In its literature colloquial words are employed, and are written as they are pronounced colloquially.

In the following account of the three languages, Bengali, literary and colloquial, will be primarily dealt with, and then the points of difference between it and the other two will be described. Abbreviations used: A. = Assamese, Bg. = Bengali, O. = Oriya, Pr. = Prakrit, Mg. Pr. =Magadhi Prakrit, Skr. =Sanskrit.

Table of contents

Vocabulary

As already said, Literary Bengali abounds in tatsamas, or words borrowed in modern times from Sanskrit (see Indo-Aryan Languages), and these have also intruded themselves into the speech of the educated. So much has the false taste for these learned words obtained the mastery that, in the literary language, when a genuine Bengali or tadbhava word is used in literature it is frequently not put into writing, but the corresponding learned tatsama is written in its place, although the tadbhava is read. It is as though a French writer wrote sicca when he wished the word seche to be pronounced. Similarly, the Bengali word for the goddess of Fortune is Lakkhi, but in books this is always written in the Skr. form Laksmi, although no Bengali would dream of saying anything but Lakkhi, even when reciting a purple passage ore rotundo. In fact, the vocal organs of most Bengalis are incapable of uttering the sound connoted by the letters Laksmi. The result is that the spelling of a Bengali word rarely represents its pronunciation. Oriya also borrows freely from Sanskrit, but there is no confusion between tatsamas and tadbhavas, as in Bengali. Assamese, on the other hand, is remarkably free from these parasites, its vocabulary being mainly tadbhava. In Eastern Bengal, where Mussulmans predominate, there is a free use of words borrowed from Arabic and Persian.

Owing to geographical and historical circumstances, Oriya is to some extent infected by Telugu and Marathi idioms,while the TibetoBurman dialects and Ahom have left their marks upon Assamese.

Phonetics

The three forms of speech agree in sounding the vowel a like the o in " hot." When writing phonetically, this sound is represented in the present article by o. The pronunciation of this frequently recurring vowel gives a tone to the general sound of the languages which at once strikes a foreigner. In Bg. and A. a final vowel preceded by a single consonant is generally not pronounced. In Bg. this is only true for nouns, a final a being freely sounded in adjectives and verbs. In 0., on the other hand, a final a is always pronounced. The sound of such a final a is in all three languages the same as that of the seccond o in " promote"; thus, the Bg. bara is pronounced boro. In Bg. a medial a sometimes has the sound of the first o in " promote," as, for instance, in the word ban (bon), a forest. In A. and Eastern Bg. a medial a is often sounded like the a in " ball," and is then transliterated a. A has preserved as a rule its proper sound of a in "father." The distinction between i and i and between u and u is everywhere lost in pronunciation, although in tatsama words the Sanskrit spelling is followed in literature. Thus, in Bg., the Skr. vyatita is pronounced betito, with the accent on the first syllable. In A. the distinction between these long and short vowels is obliterated more than elsewhere, the reason being, as in Bg., the changes of pronunciation due to the shifting back of the accent. In 0., the Skr. vowel r is pronounced ru. Elsewhere it is ri. In O. the vowel e is always long, but in Bg. it may be long or short, and in A. it is always short. The syllable ya preceded by a consonant has in Bg. the sound of a short e, so that vyakti is pronounced bekti. Moreover, in the same language the letter e is often pronounced like the a in the German Mann, a sound here phonetically represented by a; thus, dekha is sometimes pronounced dekho, and sometimes dakho or even dako. The syllable yd, when following a consonant, also has this a-sound, so that the English word " bank " is written byank in Bengali characters. O in O. is always long. In Bg., when it has not got the accent it is shortened to the sound of the first o in " promote," a sound which, as we have seen, is also sometimes taken by a medial a. In A. o approaches the sound of u, and it actually becomes u when followed by i in the next syllable. The diphthongs di (in tatsamas, i.e. the Skr. di) and ai (in tadbhavas) are sounded like oi in " oil " in Bg. and 0., while in A. they have the sound of oi in " going." Similarly, in Bg. and O. the diphthongs au and au are sounded like the au in the German Haus, but in A. like au in the French jaune, or the second o in " promote." In colloquial Bg. the two syllables di often have the sound of e, as in khaite (khete), to eat.

In Eastern Bengal k has often the sound of ch in " loch." In A. the consonants c and ch are both pronounced like s, and j and jh become zh (i.e. the s in " pleasure ") or (when final) z. The same tendency is observable in Bg., though it is usually considered vulgar. In parts of Eastern Bengal c is pronounced like ts. O. as a rule has the proper sound of these letters, but towards the south c and ch become ts and tsh when not followed by a palatal letter. The letters c1 and dh, when medial, are pronounced as a strongly burred r, and are then transliterated r and rh respectively. In A. and Eastern Bg. there is a strong tendency to pronounce both dentals and cerebrals as semi-cerebrals, as is done by the neighbouring Tibeto-Burmans. In A. r and rh become r and rh respectively. In Bg. and A. n has universally become n, but is properly pronounced in O. Y is usually pronounced as j, unless it is a merely euphonic bridge to avoid a hiatus between two vowels, as in kariya for kari-c7. In A. the resultant j has the usual z-sound. When y is the final element of a conjunct consonant, in Bg. (except in the south-east) it is very faintly pronounced. In compensation the preceding member of the conjunct is doubled and the preceding vowel is shortened if possible, thus vakya becomes bdkk Y O. In A., while the y is usually preserved, an i is inserted before the conjunct, so that we have baikyo. M and v when similarly situated are altogether elided in Bg., and this is also the case with v in A., in which language m under these circumstances becomes w; thus, smarana becomes Bg. ssoron, A. sworon, and dvara becomes Bg. and A. ddara. R is generally pronounced correctly, except that when a member of a compound it is often not pronounced in colloquial Bg.; thus karma (kommo). In North-eastern Bengali and in A. a medial r is commonly dropped; thus, Bg. karilam (kailam), A. kari (kai). 1 The vulgar commonly confound n and 1. O. has retained the old cerebral l of Pr., which has disappeared in Bg. and A. The semi-vowel v(w)becomes b in Bg. and 0., but retains its proper sound when medial in A. When Bg. wishes to represent a w, it has to write oya; thus, for chawa it writes chaoya. Similarly bard, twelve, + yari, friendship, when compounded together to mean " a collection of twelve friends," is pronounced barwari. Bg. pronounces all uncompounded sibilants as if they were š, like the English sh in " shin." This was already the case in Mg. Pr. (see Prakrit). on the contrary, pronounces all three like the dental s in " sin," while A. sounds them like a rough h, almost like the ch in " loch." In Eastern Bg. s becomes frankly h, and is then often 1 In Mg. Pr. every r becomes 1. For an explanation of the apparent non-observance of this rule in languages of the Eastern Group, see Bihari.

dropped. The compound ks is everywhere treated as if it were khy. In colloquial Bg. there is a tendency to disaspiration; thus dekha is pronounced dako and the Pr. hattha-, a hand, becomes hat, not hath. In Eastern Bg. there is a cockney tendency to drop h, so that we have 'at, a hand, and kailam for kahilam, I said.

Oriya. Bengali. Assamese.
Nom.. . ghora ghora ghora
Acc.-Dat. . ghoraku ghorake ghorak
Instr.. . ghorare ghorate ghorare
Abl.. . ghoraru ghora-haite ghoraye
Gen.. . ghorara ghorar ghorar
Loc.. . ghorare ghorate or ghoray ghorat

The above remarks show that O. has, on the whole, preserved the original sounds of the various letters better than Bg. or A. Declension. - The distinction of gender has disappeared from all three languages. Sex is distinguished either by the use of qualifying terms, such as " male" or " female," or by the employment of different words, as in the case of our " bull " and " cow." The plural number is almost always denoted by the addition of some word meaning " many " or " collection " to the singular, although we sometimes find a true plural used in the case of nouns denoting human beings. Case was originally indicated by postpositions (see Indo-Aryan Languages), but in many instances these have been joined to the noun, so that they form one word with it. The following is the full declension of the singular of the word ghora, a horse, in the three languages: - In Bg. and A. a noun often takes e (e) in the nominative singular, when it is the subject of a transitive verb; thus Bg. bede (from bed) bale, the Veda says. In Bg. the nominative plural may, in the case of human beings, be formed by adding a to the genitive singular; thus, santan, a son; gen. sing., santaner; nom. plur., santanera. The same is the case with the pronouns; thus amar, of me; dmara, we; tahar, his; tahdra, they. In Bihari the pronouns follow the same rule, and, as is explained under that head, the nominative plural is really an oblique form of the genitive. With this exception, the plural in all our three languages is either the same as the singular, or (when the idea of plurality has to be emphasized) is formed by the addition of nouns of multitude, such as gall in Bg., mana in 0., or bilak in A.

We shall see that pronominal suffixes are freely used in all three languages in the conjugation of verbs. In the Outer languages of the north-west of India (for the list of these, see Indo-Aryan Languages) pronominal suffixes are also commonly added to nouns to signify possession. In most of the languages of the Eastern Group such pronominal suffixes added to nouns have fallen into disuse, but in A. they are still commonly employed with nouns of relationship; thus, bap, a father; bopai, my father; baper, your father; bapek, his father. Their retention in A. is no doubt due to the example of the neighbouring Tibeto-Burman languages, in which such pronominal prefixes are a common feature.

In all three languages the adjective does not change for gender, for number or for case.

The personal pronouns have at the present day lost their old nominatives, and have new nominatives formed from the oblique base. In the first and second persons the singulars have fallen into disuse in polite conversation, and the plurals are used honorifically for the singular, as in the case of the English " you " for " thou." For the plural, new plurals are formed from the new singular (old plural) bases. In A., however, the old singular of the first person is retained, and the old plural plays its proper function. The Bg. pronouns are, mui (old), I; ami (modern), I; tui (old), thou; tumi (modern), thou; se, tini, he; e, ini, this; o, uni, that; je, jini, who; ke, who?; ki, what?; kon, what (adjective) ?; keha, anyone; kichu, anything; kona, any. Most of the forms in the other languages closely follow these. The words in O. for " I " and " thou " are ambhe and tumbhe respectively. All these pronouns have plurals and oblique forms to which the case suffixes are added. These must be learnt from the grammars.

Conjugation

It is in the conjugation of the verb that colloquial Bg. differs most from the literary dialect. There is no distinction in any of the three languages between singular and plural. Most of the old singular forms have survived in a non-honorific sense, but they are rarely employed in polite language except in the third person. The old plural forms are generally employed for the singular also. The usual base for the verb substantive, when employed as an auxiliary, is ach, be, derived from the Skr. rcchati. 0., however, forms its past from the base tha (Skr. sthita-), and in South-western Bengal the base (ha, derived from the same original, is used for both present and past time. Only two of the old Skr.-Pr. tenses have survived in the finite verb, the simple present and the imperative. Thus, Bg. kari, I do; kar, do thou. The past is formed by adding pronominal suffixes to the old past participle in it (Skr. -illa-, a pleonastic suffix, see Prakrit), and the future by adding them to the old future participle in b (Skr. -tavya-, Pr. -avva-). Thus, Bg. karil-am, done +by-me, I did; karib-a, it-is-to-be-done +by-me, I shall do. In Bg. there are two modern participles, a present (kar-ite) and a past (kar-iya), and from these there are formed periphrastic tenses by suffixing auxiliary verbs. Thus, karite-chi (colloquial, korsi or kOcci), I am doing; karite-chilam (coll., korcilum or kOccilum), I was doing; kariya-chi (coll., korsi), I have done; kariya-chilam (coll., korcilum), I had done. A past conditional is formed by adding pronominal suffixes to the present participle; thus, karitam (coll., kortum or kottum), (if) I had done. Similar tenses are formed in O. and A., but the periphrastic tenses are formed with verbal nouns and not with participles. Thus, O. karu-achi, A. kari-cho, I am a-doing, I am doing. O. and A. have each a very complete series of gerunds or verbal nouns which are fully declined. In Bg. only one gerund, that of the genitive, is in common use.

In order to illustrate the conjugation of the verb, we here give that of the root kar, do, in its present, past and future tenses.

Oriya. LiteraryBengali. ColloquialBengali. Assam-ese.
I do.. . karn kari kOri karo
Thou doest . kara kara koro kara
He (non-honor-ific) does kare hare kore kare
He (honorific)does. . karanti karen kOren kare
I did.. . karilu karilam kollum, korlum kdrilo
Thou didst . karila karile /Mlle, korle kdrila
He (non-hon.)did. . karila karila kollo, korlo kdrile
He (hon.) did . karile karilen kollen, kOrlen kdrile
I shall do. . karibu kariba korbo kdrim
Thou wilt do . kariba karibe korbe kdriba
He (non-hon.)will do kariba karibe korbe kdriba
He (hon.) will do karibe kariben kOrben kdriba

All the three languages have negative forms of the verb substantive, and A. has a complete negative conjugation for all verbs, made by prefixing the negative syllable na under certain euphonic rules.

Bengali Literature

The oldest recognized writer in Bengali is the Vaishnava poet Caneli p as, who flourished about the Literature. end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th cen tury. His language does not differ much from the Bengali of to-day. He founded a school of poets who wrote hymns in honour of Krishna, many of whom, in later times, became connected with the religious revival instituted by Caitanya in the early part of the 16th century. In the 15th century Kasi Ram translated the Mahabharata and Krttibas Ojha the Ramayana into the vernacular. The principal figure of the 17th century was Mukunda Ram who has left us two really admirable poems entitled Candi and Srimanta Saudagar. Parts of the former have been translated by Professor Cowell into English verse, and both well deserve putting into an English dress. With Bharat Candra, whose much admired but artificial Bidya Sundar appeared in the 18th century, the list of old Bengali authors may be considered as closed. They wrote in genuine nervous Bengali, and the conspicuous success of many of them shows how baseless is the contention of some native writers of the present day that modern literary Bengali needs the help of its huge imported Sanskrit vocabulary to express anything but the simplest ideas. This modern literary Bengali arose early in the 10th century, as a child of the revival of Sanskrit learning in Calcutta, under the influence of the college Founded by the English in Fort William. Each decade it has become more and more the slave of Sanskrit. It has had some excellent writers, notably the late Bankim Candra, whose novels have received the honour of being translated into several languages, including English. Even he, however, sometimes laboured under the fetters imposed upon him by a strange vocabulary, and all competent European scholars are agreed that no work of first-class originality has much chance of arising in Bengal till some great genius purges the language of its pseudo-classical element.

Oriya Literature does not go back beyond the 16th century, though examples of the language are found in inscriptions of the 13th century. Nearly all the works are connected with the history of Krishna, and the translation of the Bhagavata Puraiia into Oriya in the first half of the 16th century still exercises great influence on the masses. Dina Kosna Das (17th century) was the author of another popular work entitled Rasa Kallola, or " The Waves of Sentiment," which deals with the early life of Krishna. Every verse in it begins with the letter k. It is not always decent, but is immensely popular. Upendra Bhanja, Raja of Gumsur, a petty hill state, is the most famous of Oriya poets, and was the most prolific. His work is insipid to a European taste, and when not unintelligible is often obscene. Oriya poetry, from first to last, has been an artificial production, the work of pandits, who clung to the rules of Sanskrit rhetoric, and loaded their verses with so many ideas and words borrowed from that language that it is rarely understood, except by the learned. The whole literature is, in fact, overshadowed by the great temple of Jagannath (a name of Krishna) at Puri in Orissa.

Assamese Literature

The Assamese are justly proud of their national literature. It has an independent growth, and its strength lies in history, a branch of letters in which other Indian languages are almost entirely wanting. They have chronicles going back for the past 600 years, and a knowledge of their contents is a necessary part of the education of the upper classes of the country. In poetry, the Vaishnava reformer, Sankar Deb, who flourished some 450 years ago, was a voluminous writer. His best known work is a translation of the Bhagavata Purana. About the same time Ananta Kandali translated the Mahabharata and the Ramayana into his native tongue. Medicine was a science much studied, and there are translations of all the principal Sanskrit works on the subject. Forty or fifty dramatic works in the vernacular are known and are still acted. Some of them date back to the time of Sankar Deb.

Authorities

- There is no work dealing with the three languages as a group. Both the Comparative Grammars of Beames and Hoernle (see Indo-Aryan Languages) are silent about Assamese. The fullest details concerning them all will be found in vol. v. of the Linguistic Survey of India, parts i. and ii. (Calcutta, 1903). In this each dialect and subdialect is treated with great minuteness and with copious examples.

The first Bengali grammar and dictionary in a European language was the Vocabulario em Idioma Bengalla e Portuguez of Manoel da Assumpgam (Lisbon, 1743). N. B. Halhed wrote the first Bengali grammar in the English language (Hooghly, 1778), but the real father of Bengali philology was the great missionary, William Carey (Grammar, Serampore, 1801; Dict i onary, ib., 1825). W. Yates's Grammar, as edited and improved by T. Wenger (Calcutta, 1847) and others, is still on sale. It is entirely confined to the literary Bengali of the pandits. Its great rival has been Syama Carat.' Sarkar's Grammar (Calcutta, 1850), of which there have been numerous reprints. In 1894 J. Beames published his Grammar (Oxford), now the standard work on the subject. It is largely based on Syama Caran's work, but with much new material, especially that dealing with the colloquial side of the language. G. F. Nicholl's Grammar (London, 1885) is an independent study of the language, in which the vernacular works of the best native grammarians have been freely utilized. There is no good Bengali dictionary. G. C. Haughton's Dictionary (London, 1833) is perhaps still the best, but J. Mendies' (Calcutta, about 1870) is also well known, and is the parent of countless others which have issued from the Calcutta presses. A Small Dictionary of Colloquial Bengali Words, by J. M. C. and G. A. C. (Calcutta, 1904), may also be studied with advantage. Cf. also Syama-caran Garjguli, Bengali Spoken and Written (Calcutta, 1906). For Bengali literature, see R. C. Dutt, The Literature of Bengal (Calcutta and London, 1895), and Hara Prasad Sastri, The Vernacular Literature of Bengal before the Introduction of English Education (Calcutta, n.d.). The most complete work is Bangabhasa o Sahitya by Dines Candra Sen (2nd ed., Calcutta, 1901) in the Bengali language.

For Oriya there are E. Hallam's (Calcutta, 1874), T. Maltby's (Calcutta, 1874) and J. Browne's (London, 1882) Grammars. The last two are in the Roman character. They are all mere sketches of the language. Sutton's (Cuttack, 1841) is still the only Dictionary which the present writer has found of any practical use. For Oriya literature, see App. IX. of Hunter's Orissa (London, 1872), and Monmohan Chakravarti's Notes on the Language and Literature of Orissa " in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. lxvi. (1897), part i. pp. 317 ff., and vol. lxvii. (1898), part i. pp. 332 ff.

The first Assamese Grammar was Nathan Brown's (Sibsagar, 1848, 3rd ed. 1893), and it is still the one usually studied. G. F. Nicholl gives an Assamese grammar as a supplement to his Bengali Grammar already quoted. Like that work, it is quite independent, and is not a revised edition of Brown. M. Bronson's Dictionary (Sibsagar, 1867) was for long the only vocabulary available, and a very useful and practical work it was. It is now superseded by Hem Candra Barua's Hema-kosa (Shillong, 1900). For Assamese literature, see Ananda Ram Dhekial Phukan's A Few Remarks on the Assamese Language (Sibsagar, 1855), partly reprinted in the Indian Antiquary, vol. xxv. (1896), pp. 57 ff. (G. A. GR.)


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bengali, and bengalí

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Bengali

Plural
-

Bengali

  1. Language spoken in Bangladesh and the states of Tripura and West Bengal, India.

Synonyms

Translations

See also

External links

Anagrams


Wikibooks

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikibooks, the open-content textbooks collection

Bengali, or locally, Bangla (বাংলা), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken predominantly in Bangladesh and in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura by approximately 200 million people. After Hindi, Bengali is the second most spoken language in the Indian subcontinent, and among the top 10 most spoken languages in the world. The language has a rich literary heritage and underwent a renaissance in late 19th century.

Contents

Preliminaries

The examples of Bengali words, phrases, clauses and sentences used in this book are generally presented simultaneously in three written forms: one using the Bengali script, a transliterated version using Roman letters, and an English translation.

The Bengali-to-Roman transliteration scheme is the one followed in the English wikipedia and can be seen here.

Learn how to pronounce the Bengali sounds

Learn how to write the Bengali script

Learn how to create Bengali sentences

Enrich your Bengali vocabulary

  • The nature of the Bengali lexicon
  • The sources of the Bengali lexicon
  • Bengali etymology
  • Common phrases

Vocabulary themes

  • Greetings
  • Talking about Oneself
  • Numbers
  • Time and Date
  • Asking Questions
  • Food and Drink
  • Eating out
  • Shopping
  • Staying at hotels
  • Renting temporary accommodation
  • Settling into accommodation
  • Using financial and postal services
  • Staying well
  • Traveling
  • Emergencies

History of the Language

  • The origins of Bengali
  • Old Bengali
  • Middle Bengali
  • Modern Bengali







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