FOR REPOSTING TO THE “A LANGUAGE LEARNERS’ FORUM” (LLORG)
During the period from February 2020 through May 2020, I conducted a complete revision to the twenty-eight (28) lists of resources which I had posted on the LLORG during the previous three-year period. As revising these types of documents directly on the LLORG in the “Edit Mode” is fraught with difficulties, I removed their contents from the LLORG, stored them on my computer, and completed the revisions. During the revision process an event occurred which prevented me from reposting the contents to their original files and, as a contingency measure, I have posted them here on the HTLAL in the anticipation that either the Administrator or the Moderators of the LLORG will copy/paste them to the LLORG. - Speakeasy
Bengal is a geopolitical, cultural and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Geographically, it is made up by the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta system, the largest such formation in the world; along with mountains in its north bordering the Himalayan states of Nepal and Bhutan and east bordering Burma.
Politically, Bengal is currently divided between Bangladesh (which covers two-thirds of the region) and the Indian state of West Bengal. In 2011, the population of Bengal was estimated to be 250 million, making it one of the most densely populated regions in the world. Among them, an estimated 160 million people live in Bangladesh and 91.3 million people live in West Bengal. The predominant ethnolinguistic group is the Bengali people, who speak the Indo-Aryan Bengali language. Bengali Muslims are the majority in Bangladesh and Bengali Hindus are the majority in West Bengal and Tripura, while Barak Valley contains almost equal proportions of Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims. Outside Bengal proper, the Indian territories of Jharkhand, Bihar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also home to significant communities of Bengalis.
[color=#0000FF">Bengali [/color"> also known by its endonym Bangla, is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken by the Bengalis in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, presently divided between Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam's Barak Valley. 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. With approximately 228 million native speakers and another 37 million as second language speakers, Bengali is the fifth most-spoken native language and the seventh most spoken language by total number of speakers in the world. 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 as their first language. Within India, Bengali is the official language of the states of West Bengal, Tripura and the Barak Valley region of the state of Assam. It is the most widely spoken language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and is spoken by significant populations in other states including in Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Uttarakhand. Bengali is also spoken by the significant global Bengali diaspora (Bangladeshi diaspora and Indian Bengalis) communities in Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Middle East.
Spoken and Literary Varieties
Bengali exhibits diglossia, though some scholars have proposed triglossia or even n-glossia or heteroglossia between the written and spoken forms of the language. Two styles of writing have emerged, involving somewhat different vocabularies and syntax:
1. Shadhu-bhasha "uptight language") was the written language, with longer verb inflections and more of a Pali and Sanskrit-derived Tatsama vocabulary. Songs such as India's national anthem Jana Gana Mana (by Rabindranath Tagore) were composed in Shadhubhasha. However, use of Shadhubhasha in modern writing is uncommon, restricted to some official signs and documents in Bangladesh as well as for achieving particular literary effects.
2. Cholito-bhasha ("running language"), known by linguists as Standard Colloquial Bengali, is a written Bengali style exhibiting a preponderance of colloquial idiom and shortened verb forms, and is the standard for written Bengali now. This form came into vogue towards the turn of the 19th century, promoted by the writings of Peary Chand Mitra (Alaler Gharer Dulal, 1857), Pramatha Chaudhuri (Sabujpatra, 1914) and in the later writings of Rabindranath Tagore. It is modelled on the dialect spoken in the Shantipur region in Nadia district, West Bengal. This form of Bengali is often referred to as the "Nadia standard", "Nadia dialect", "Southwestern/West-Central dialect" or "Shantipuri Bangla".
Linguist Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar categorises the language as:
• Madhya Rādhi dialect
• Kanthi (Contai) dialect
• Kolkata dialect
• Shantipuri (Nadia) dialect
• Maldahiya (Jangipuri) dialect
• Barendri dialect
• Rangpuriya dialect
• Sylheti dialect
• Dhakaiya (Bikrampuri) dialect
• Jessor/Jessoriya dialect
• Barisal (Chandradwip) dialect
• Chattal (Chittagong) dialect
While most writing is in Standard Colloquial Bengali (SCB), spoken dialects exhibit a greater variety. People in southeastern West Bengal, including Kolkata, speak in SCB. Other dialects, with minor variations from Standard Colloquial, are used in other parts of West Bengal and western Bangladesh, such as the Midnapore dialect, characterised by some unique words and constructions. However, a majority in Bangladesh speak in dialects notably different from SCB. Some dialects, particularly those of the Chittagong region, bear only a superficial resemblance to SCB. The dialect in the Chittagong region is least widely understood by the general body of Bengalis. The majority of Bengalis are able to communicate in more than one variety – often, speakers are fluent in Cholitobhasha (SCB) and one or more regional dialects.
Selected Discussion Threads
Bengali - HTLAL - November 2007
Intermediate Resources: Indian Languages - HTLAL - June 2011
Some Bengali Resources – textbooks - HTLAL - February 2013
Bengali (Bangla) alphabet - LLORG - May 2016
Any Bengali language learner here? - LLORG - December 2018
2. BENGALI RESOURCES: LEGACY
It is quite understandable that prospective students should want the very latest, up-to-date materials for study purposes. Despite this natural inclination, I recommend that serious students of Bengali consult the “legacy” materials listed below and that they consider incorporating some of these into their studies.
Bengali Courses, Supplements, etc.
Advanced Course in Bengali (1978), 324 pages, by Ernest Bender, Theodore Riccardi, Jr. - Pennsylvania University
Conceived for a third year of study of Bengali at the university level. Out-of-print. It is possible that printed or electronic copies might be available via either the Pennsylvania University or the U.S. Government’s Institute of Education Sciences ERIC website.
Bengali Language Handbook (1966), 151 pages, by Punya Sloka Ray et al - Center for Applied Linguistics
Conceived to meet the needs of linguistics, area specialists, and intermediate or advanced students. A PDF version is available on the ERIC website and limited quantities of the can still be located on the internet.
FSI Bengali Short Course (1985), 664 pages, Minati Bau Roy – U.S. Statement Department
Rigorous introduction to basic spoken Bengali. Approx. 6 hours of AUDIO recordings. Print on Demand copies of the course manual are available on the internet.
Intensive Course in Bengali: Dialogues, Drills, Exercises, Vocabulary and Grammar (1981), 631 pages, by A.K. Basu and Krishna Bhattacharya - Central Institute of Indian Languages
Introduction to Bengali, Part I: A Basic Course in Spoken Bengali (1964, 1970, 2005), 384 pages, by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. et al - Manohar Publishers
Introduction to Bengali, Part I – AUDIO Recordings – Indiana University CeLT
Introduction to Bengali: Part II (reader to accompany Part I) (1988), 223 pages, by Somdev Bhattacharji – University of Chicago (downloadable PDF)
Course manuals freely available in PDF format at University of Chicago. Audio-lingual method.
|In 2015, Amazon Customer “R” wrote:
|(5 stars) Old method but rigorous and efficient: The format of the book is a bit old-fashioned but very tidy. The methodology is very robust. The first part dedicated to pronunciation is particular useful. The book will not use Bangla script until you reach lesson 8 in the middle of the book. However, the Bangla script used in the book is not really very clear, especially for beginners. I downloaded the audio from the University of Chicago Bangla materials. The PDF of part II is also available there as well a many other links. This course book is certainly recommended.
Intermediate Bangla (1985), 396 pages, by Clinton B. Seely – University of Chicago[
Introduction to the Dacca Dialect of Bengali (1964), 320 pages, by Punya Sloka Ray et al – Chicago University
Introductory course. Classroom use. Audio-lingual method. It is possible that the original audio recordings are still available at Chicago University.
Manual of the Bengali Language (1962), circa 300 pages, by J.D. Anderson - Frederick Ungar Publishing
Spoken Bengali. Dialects of East Bengal (1965) by Jack Autrey Dabbs – University of Texas
Spoken Bengali: Standard, East Bengal; Bengali alphabet (1966) by Jack Autrey Dabbs – University of Texas
Word frequency in newspaper Bengali (1966) by Jack Autrey Dabbs – University of Texas
A short Bengali-English, English-Bengali dictionary (1971) by Jack Autrey Dabbs – University of Texas
A small collection of materials by Jack Autrey Dabbs. Out-of-print, for Bengali enthusiasts only. Then again, perhaps the University of Texas still has the audio recordings in their archives?
3. BENGALI RESOURCES: CONTEMPORARY
Bengali Courses, Supplements, etc.
Beginner's Bengali (Bangla) (2017), 348 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson; Hippocrene Books
Basic self-instructional course. CEFR A1+. Includes two AUDIO CDs.
Colloquial Bengali (2015), 288 pages, by Mithun B. Nasrin et al.; Routledge
Colloquial Bengali – AUDIO Recordings
Complete Bengali (4th ed., 2011), 448 pages, by William Radice; Teach Yourself Books
Epar Bangla Opar Bangla: Bangla across Borders: An Elementary Language Course (2011), 574 pages, by Carol Salomon et al - University of Washington
U.S. Army Special Forces Bengali (circa 2000), 331 pages - iTunes
U.S. Army Special Forces Bengali (circa 2000), 331 pages – filmdocs on eBay.com
DLI Special Forces language courses are similar to many commercially-prepared “familiarization” language courses. CEFR A0.
Bengali Courses, Supplements, etc. (French Base)
There are no indications of audio recordings having been prepared for the two courses listed below.
Manuel de bengali (2012), 328 pages, by France Bhattacharya, Pushkar Dasgupta – L’Asiathèque
Parlons bengali: Langue et culture (1994), 352 pages, by Jean Clement - Éditions L'Harmattan
Parlons Bengali AUDIO CD - indisponible
Regrettably, the publisher of this excellent series seems to have ceased issuing the audio recordings which were often prepared to accompany these courses.
Dictionnaire français-bengali (2004), 282 pages, by France Bhattacharya, Lokenath Bhattacharya – L'Asiathèque
Bengali Phrasebooks, Language Guides, etc.
50Languages Bengali : online with audio recordings – 50 Languages LLC
50Languages English (USA) - Bengali for beginners: BOOK (2017), 204 pages – 50 Languages LLC
Bangla Online (2004) by Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore and Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata
Bengali (Bangla)-English/English-Bengali Dictionary & Phrasebook (2011), 211 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson - Hippocrene Books
Bengali Course. For English-Speaking Students (2018), 140 pages, by Aleur Rahman - Independently published
DLI Language Bengali Survival Kits
Freely-available phrasebook with downloadable PDF and MP3 files.
Essential Everyday Bengali (2nd ed., 2006), 350 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson - Bangla Academy
Kauderwelsch Bengali, by Rainer Krack et al.; Reise Know-How
Kauderwelsch-Sprachführer Bengali: Wort für Wort (3rd ed., 2000), 176 pages
Kauderwelsch AusspracheTrainer Bengali: AUDIO Recordings
Available in German only. Phrasebook and AUDIO recordings (extracts only). Sold separately.
Learn Bengali in 30 Days (7th ed., 1993), 160 pages, by N. S. R. Ganathe - Hippocrene Books
Learn Bengali Through English in 30 Days (2009), 160 pages , by Sameer Dey – Diamond D (Educ Books)
Learn Bengali in a Month: Easy Method of Learning Bengali Through English without a Teacher (1997), 200 pages, by N.K. Guha - Read Well Publications
Lonely Planet Bengali Phrasebook (1996), 160 pages, by Bimal Maity - Lonely Planet
Mango Languages: Start Learning Bengali – online with audio recordings
MyLanguages – Learn Bengali
U.S. Peace Corps: Introduction to Bangla Language, 19 pages, (with audio recordings)
A surprisingly modest offering from the U.S. Peace Corps.
Bengali Grammars and Related Materials
Bengali: A Comprehensive Grammar (2010), 800 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson - Routledge / Taylor and Francis
Hanne-Ruth Thompson is a specialist on Bengali language structures with many years of experience of teaching Bengali at SOAS in London. She is author of Bengali: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge), Bengali published by John Benjamins in Amsterdam, and Beginner's Bengali with Audio CD, Bengali Dictionary & Phrasebook, and Bengali Practical Dictionary, all published by Hippocrene Books.
Bengali for Foreigners: Basic Grammar, Basic Vocabulary (rev., 1995), 309 pages, by Brother James - University Press
Bengali (London Oriental and African Language Library) (2012), 412 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson - John Benjamins Publishing Company
Bengali Reference Grammar (1997), 197 pages, by W.L. Smith - Stockholm: Association of Oriental Studies
Descriptive Grammar of Bangla (2015), 354 pages, by Anne Boyle David et al. - De Gruyter Mouton
Bengali Dictionaries and Related Materials
Bengali (Bangla)-English/English-Bengali (Bangla) Practical Dictionary (2011), 248 pages, by Hanne-Ruth Thompson - Hippocrene Books
Bengali Edition: Word To Word Bilingual Dictionary (2009) by M.A. C. Sesma - Bilingual Dictionaries, Incorporated
Descriptive Study of Bengali Words (2015), 372 pages, by Niladri Sekhar Dash - Cambridge University Press
Milet Bilingual Visual Dictionary: English-Bengali (2001), 232 page, by Jean-Claude Corbeil et al. - Milet Publishing
Oxford English-English-Bengali Dictionary (2017), 1486 pages, by Moitreyee Mitra and Dipendranath Mitra – Oxford University Press
Oxford Essential English-English-Bengali Dictionary A compact bilingual dictionary for everyday use (2006), 500 pages, Various Contributors - Oxford University Press
Samsad Bengali-English Dictionary (2nd ed., 1995), 932 pages, by Sailendra Biswas - Shishu Sahitya Samsad Pvt Ltd
Samsad English-Bengali Pocket Dictionary (2006), 484 pages, by T.K. Mahapatra - Shishu Sahitya Samsad Pvt Ltd
Samsad Student's Bengali-English Dictionary (2002), 660 pages, by G. Ghosh, Satyajit Ray - Shishu Sahitya Samsad Pvt Ltd
Samsad Bengali-English Dictionary, compiled by Sailendra Biswas et al.
Bangla Academy Bengali-English Dictionary, compiled by Latifur Rahman et al.
Samsad Common Words Dictionary [English-Bengali"> edited by Anjali Bose
Samsad Bangala Abhidhan, compiled by Sailendra Biswas et al.
Note: The first three dictionaries listed above are recommended for the learner of the language and for everyday use thereafter. Samsad publishes a larger English-Bengali dictionary that is not recommended for English speakers. It tends to give somewhat longer definitions in Bangla rather than concise Bangla equivalents for the English word under consideration. For the more advanced student, there is the fourth entry above. Another Bangla-Bangla dictionary as well as a dictionary specifically for indicating pronunciation will in the future become available online at Digital Dictionaries of Southeast Asia – University of Chicago
Students' Favourite Dictionary (English-to-Bengali and English) (28th ed., 1995), 1271 pages , by Ashu Tosh Dev and Jyoti Bhusan Chaki - Dev Sahitya Kutir
Word frequency in newspaper Bengali (1966) by Jack Autrey Dabbs – University of Texas
Bengali Readers, Literature, and Related Materials
There are numerous readers available in Bengali, mostly for use by children, which I decided not to list. In addition, copies of the Bible and the Quran abound either in Bengali or as bilingual editions.
Advanced Course Reader in Bengali (1996), 158 pages, by Dr Bakul Chandra Chowdhury - Central Institute of Indian Languages
Bengali – eBook - Central Institute of Indian Languages
Bengali Prose Reader for Second-Year Students (1988, 7th rev., 2006), 183 pages, by Edward C. Dimock et al. – University of Chicago
Bengali Vaisnava Lyrics: a reader for advanced students (1963), 201 pages, by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. & Roushan Jahan – University of Chicago
Languages on the Web: Parallel Readers
Learn Bengali Alphabet Activity Workbook (2009), 108 pages, by Dinesh C. Verma
Learn Bengali Vocabulary Activity Workbook (2009), 100 pages, by Dinesh C. Verma
Learn Bengali (Bangla) Writing Activity Workbook (2010), 108 pages, by Dinesh C. Verma
A set of three, related workbooks, from CreateSpace Independent Publishing to assist the beginning Bengali student acquire basic writing and reading skills.
Learn to Read Bengali - Ukindia - online
Amader Noakhali - online news
bbart24.net - online news
BBC News in Bengali – online news
bdnews24.com – online news
Daily Janakantha - online news
Daily Jugantor - online news
MyBangla24.com - Deutsch Welle - online news
ekattorkantho - online news
ittefaq.com - online news
Daily Jaijaidin - online news
Lok Sangbad - online news
Prothom Alo - online news
VOA (Voice of America): Bengali
Wikipedia in Bengali
YouTube - Bengali Movies and Music
Bengali Culture, Society, History, etc.
Bengali Language and Culture (2014), 320 pages, by Afia Dil - Adorn Publication
Bengali Language Movement And Creation Of Bangladesh (2011), 774 pages, by Anwar Dil, Afia Dil - Adorn Publication
The Origin and Development of the Bengali Language: Vol. 1,2 (1970), 648 pages, by Suniti Kumar Chatterji - George Allen and Unwin
This might be a reprint of an earlier work.
Virtual Bangladesh - online
People, history, culture, geography, etc., of Bangladesh
Bangla UNICODE fonts – University of Chicago
Bangla (a.k.a. Bengali) Instructional Materials – University of Chicago
Most, but not all of, the items listed on this webpage of the University of Chicago have been inserted under the separate headings, above.
BBC Bengali (radio player)
Bengali New Testament in mp3
Boi Mela – online bookstore
Central Institute of Indian Languages
While the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL: Foreign Language Learning Series Reviews – Alexander Arguelles - YouTube ) has developed an enviable reputation for its support of numerous Indian languages, some members have reported that their sales outlet and/or customer service are slow to react to orders for materials and suggest that the orders submitted to the online bookseller Exotic India (see below) would receive faster response.
Exotic India – online bookseller
NFLC Bengali Practice Sets - University of Maryland
There are presently 100 graded practice sets for Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced students. Access is subject to registration and the payment of a monthly subscription in the amount of $ 5.00 US.
Rezina and Dibakar: Lessons and Exercises for GCSE Bengali (1992), 44 pages, by S. Sarkar, J. Ghosh - School of Oriental and African Studies
4. IMPROVING THIS FILE?
Please feel at liberty to post your own recommendations and/or comments and I’ll see what I can do about incorporating them into the lists above.
5. SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS
Visitors to this file are encouraged to review the subsequent comments, posted below, as they include members’ suggestions concerning materials and forms a running commentary on resources for the study of Bengali/Bengla.
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