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The Bengali Portal

Bengali (/bɛnˈɡɔːli/), also known by its endonym Bangla (UK: /ˈbʌŋlɜːr/; বাংলা), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in South Asia. It is the official and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh and second most widely spoken of the 22 scheduled languages of India, behind Hindi.

The official and de facto national language of Bangladesh is Modern Standard Bengali (Literary Bengali). It serves as the lingua franca of the nation, with 98% of Bangladeshis being fluent in Bengali (including dialects) as their first language. Within India, Bengali is the official language of the states of West Bengal, Tripura and the Barak Valley in the state of Assam. It is also spoken in different parts of the Brahmaputra valley of Assam. It is also the most widely spoken language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and is spoken by significant minorities in other states including Jharkhand, Bihar, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Odisha. With approximately 250–300 million total speakers worldwide, Bengali is usually counted as the seventh most spoken native language in the world by population.

Dictionaries from the early 20th century attributed slightly more than half of the Bengali vocabulary to native words (i.e., naturally modified Sanskrit words, corrupted forms of Sanskrit words, and loanwords from non-Indo-European languages), about 30 percent to unmodified Sanskrit words, and the remainder to foreign words. Dominant in the last group was Persian, which was also the source of some grammatical forms. More recent studies suggest that the use of native and foreign words has been increasing, mainly because of the preference of Bengali speakers for the colloquial style.

Bengali literature, with its millennium-old history and folk heritage, has extensively developed since the Bengali renaissance and is one of the most prominent and diverse literary traditions in Asia. Both the national anthems of Bangladesh (Amar Sonar Bangla) and India (Jana Gana Mana) were composed in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore. The first two verses of a patriotic song written in Bengali by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Vande Mataram, was adopted as the "national song" of India in both the colonial period and later in 1950 in independent India. Furthermore, it is believed by many that the national anthem of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Matha) was inspired by a Bengali poem written by Rabindranath Tagore, while some even believe the anthem was originally written in Bengali and then translated into Sinhalese. In 1952, the Bengali Language Movement successfully pushed for the language's official status in the Dominion of Pakistan. In 1999, UNESCO recognized 21 February as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the language movement in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Language is an important element of Bengali identity and binds together a culturally diverse region.

Selected article

Bengali grammar (Bengali: বাংলা ব্যাকরণ Bangla Bækôrôn) is the study of the morphology and syntax of Bengali, an Indo-European language spoken in the Indian subcontinent. Although Bengali is typically written in the Bengali script, a Romanization scheme[which?] is used here to suggest the pronunciation.

Selected picture

Shaheed minar Roehl.jpg
Credit: Karl Ernst Roehl

Shaheed Minar, or language martyr's memorial, located at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Selected biography

Rabindranath Tagore unknown location.jpg
Rabindranath Tagore FRAS (/rəˈbɪndrənɑːt tæˈɡɔːr/ (About this sound listen); Bengali: [robind̪ronat̪ʰ ʈʰakur]), Bengali: রবীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর, Phonetic transcription: Robindronath Ţhakur, Latin transliteration: Ravīndranātha Ṭhākura (7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941), sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet and musician who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal".

Selected poem

Stream of Life is the poem(below) written by Rabindranath tagore.

Bengali English transliteration Word for Word translation

ভুলবো না আর সহজেতে

সেই প্রাণে মন উঠবে মেতে

মৃত্যু মাঝে ঢাকা আছে

যে অন্তহীন প্রাণ

বজ্রে তোমার বাজে বাঁশি

সেকি সহজ গান

সেই সুরেতে জাগবো আমি

সেই ঝড় যেন সই আনন্দে

চিত্তবীণার তারে

সপ্তসিন্ধু দশ দিগন্ত

নাচাও যে ঝঙ্কারে

বজ্রে তোমার বাজে বাঁশি

সেকি সহজ গান

সেই সুরেতে জাগবো আমি


Bhulbona ar shohojete

Shei praan e mon uthbe mete

Mrittu majhe dhaka ache

je ontohin praan

Bojre tomar baje bashi

She ki shohoj gaan

Shei shurete jagbo ami

Shei jhor jeno shoi anonde

Chittobinar taare

Shopto-Shindhu dosh digonto

Nachao je jhonkare!


I shall not ever easily forget,

My heart shall fill up with life,

Even in death, lies hidden

That endless life

On the ship, your flute plays,

But that is no ordinary tune,

I shall wake up to that tune. X2

On the ship, your flute plays,

But that is no ordinary tune,

Let me have, that very tune.

May I happily weather that storm,

Even on the verge of lifelessness,

Across 7 rivers, in 10 directions,

Make us dance with your tune.

Did you know...

DYK question mark

...that of all the persons Manuel da Assumpção (then spelled Manoel da Assumpçam) was the first person to write grammar of the Bengali language, in 1743, titled "Vocabulario em idioma bengalla e portugueza" (Vocabulary of Bengali language and Portuguese (archaic Portuguese: Vocabolario em idioma Bengalla, e Portuguez dividido em duas partes).[1]?

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The initial aim of this portal is to provide information about:

  1. History of the Bengali language
  2. Technical communication (includes grammar and dialect)

Because there is so much work to be done, and the general direction of this portal is not completely clear, it could be hard for others to get involved at this stage. However, at the moment, you can check out the list of Category:Language stubs, because those articles are related to at least some of what will be in this portal, and many of them need to be expanded.


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  1. ^ Banglapedia, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2003.
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