The vast majority of the people
of Bangladesh speak Bangla (Bengali). Bangla is an Indo-Aryan
language and evolved from Sanskrit.
The language plays an extremely important role in the hearts and minds of Bangladeshis.
The Independence struggle and the subsequent liberation from
Pakistani domination draw inspiration from the struggle by Bengalis to prevent Urdu being
declared the state language of Pakistan. The struggle for Bangla gave impetus to the
nascent Bangla nationalism which saw fruition in the advent of Bangladesh as a free
nation after a nine month long War of Independence.
You can check out a Bangla tutorial which
includes a transliteration schema, an on line English - Bangla dictionary
as well as sample phrases with sounds.
From: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 11th edition, May 21 1988, edited by
Barbara F. Grimes.
Bangla belongs to the easternmost branch, called Aryan or Indo-Iranian, of the
Indo-European family of languages. Its direct ancestor is a form of Prakrit or Middle
Indo-Aryan which descended from Sanskrit or Old Indo-Aryan. Sanskrit was the spoken as
well as the literary language of Aryandom until circa 500 B.C., after which it
remained for nearly two thousand years the dominant literary languages as well as the lingua
franca among the cultured and the erudite throughout the subcontinent.
Like Sanskrit, Apabhramsa-Avahattha was a literary language, and in the available
records it shows remarkably little local variation; practically the same form of the
language appears in the poems written in Gujrat and in Bengal. But the spoken language
conditioned by the regional linguistic and ethnic environments took up the different
regional New Indo-Aryan languages. The emergence of these New Indo-Aryan speeches was not
all synchronized. But some of them, including Bangla, certainly originated by the middle
of the tenth century at the latest.
For old Bangla the only records are mystic carya songs discovered in a MS from
Nepal by Haraprasad Shastri.The language of the carya songs is basically
vernacular, but at the same time it is also something of a literary language.
Bangla at the present day has two literary styles. One is called "Sadhubhasa"
(elegant language) and the other "Chaltibhasa" (current language) . The
former is the traditional literary style based on Middle Bangla of the sixteenth century.
The later is practically a creation of the present century, and is based on the cultivated
form of the dialect spoken in Calcutta by the educated people originally coming from
districts bordering on the lower reaches of the Hoogly. The difference between the two
literary styles is not very sharp. The vocabulary is practically the same. The difference
lies mainly in the forms of the pronoun and the verb. The Sadhubhasa has the old and
heavier forms while the Chalitbhasa uses the modern and lighter forms. The former shows a
partiality for lexical words and for compound words of the Sanskrit type, and the latter
prefers colloquial words, phrases and idioms. The Chalitbhasa was first seriously taken up
by Pramatha Chaudhuri at the instance of Rabindranath Tagore during the early years of the
first World War. Soon after Tagore practically discarded Sadhubhasa, and Chalitbhasa is
now generally favored by writers who have no particular fascination for the traditional
literary style. The Sadhubhasa is always easy to write but it is somewhat faded in
signification and jaded in rhythm.
The Bangla script, like all other Indian scripts, originated from Brahmi alphabet of
the Asokan inscriptions.The Bangla alphabet in its present printed form took shape in
1778 when printing types were first cast by Charles Wilkins. There still remained a few
archaic forms and these were finally replaced in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The bengali script is a cursive script with 12 vowels and 52 consonants. A sample of
Bangla script is shown below.
That says I love you in Bangla. Ami tomakey bhalobashey.
You can also hear it being spoken. The full set of scripts is also available for your