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Bengali: from the city of Joy

Brief Description

The Bengali alphabet is written using a Brahmic script similar to the Devanagari script used for Hindi and Sanskrit. The alphabet is a syllabic cursive alphabet with 12 vowels and 52 consonants. All consonants have an inherent embedded vowel sound. Vowels can be expressed using a variety of options. They can be written as independent letters, or they can be expressed by using a variety of diacritical marks written above, below, before or after the consonant they are associated with. Additional diacritic marks are also used to change (or suppress) the embedded vowel sound of consonant. Consonant clusters are sometimes indicated by legating two or more symbols. The Bengali script is also used for writing Assamese with a few minor modifications.

Regions where spoken

Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. With nearly 230 million native speakers, Bengali etymologically belongs to the Eastern Magadh branch of the Indo-Aryan language family, along with Assamese, Oriya and Maithili. The mutual illegibility of these four languages is suggestive of common roots and demonstrates display a marked similarity in terms of structure, ordering and sound.

Development & Spread

One of the earliest historical references on Bengal found is the mention of a land named Gangaridai by the Greeks around 100 BC. The word "Bengal" is speculated to have come from "Gangahrd" (Land with the Ganges in its heart), thus identifying the region and the people inhabiting the region.


The Bengali script is a variant of the Eastern Nagari script also used for Assamese and Bishnupriya Manipuri.

Important Writers or Works

The best-known examples of Indian literati hail from the land of Bengal. Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize-winning "Gitanjali", Kazi Nazrul Islam's fiery poetic prowess, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's complex texturing of the many-layered fabric of rural life and Michael Madhusudhan Dutt's sonnets based on the "Mahabharatha" were written in this language of the Ganga. Bengal still carries the brand of literary prowess and still produces among India's finest writers.

Other details

There are variety of popular fonts used in Bengali typing; Unicode, Vrinda Bengali fonts, True Type fonts etc.

Source: www.bhashaindia.com , www.wikipedia.com , www.ethnologue.com

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