Bengali language


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Bengali

Spoken in

Bangladesh , India
speaker 205 million
Linguistic
classification
Official status
Official language in Bangladesh , India (states of West Bengal and Tripura )
Language codes
ISO 639 -1

bn

ISO 639 -2

ben

ISO 639-3

ben

The Bengali language, also Bengali (own name বাংলা bāṃlā [ baŋla ]), belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian subgroup of the Indo-European languages . Bengali is spoken as a mother tongue by over 200 million people, mainly in Bangladesh and India (state of West Bengal ). This makes Bengali one of the most widely spoken languages ​​in the world.

Distribution and number of speakers

Approximate distribution area of ​​the Bengali language in South Asia

Bengali is spoken in the Bengal region in the east of the Indian subcontinent as well as in the worldwide diaspora. It is the main language of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal . According to the 2011 census, around 108 million people in Bangladesh speak Bengali as their mother tongue. This corresponds to almost 99 percent of the total population. In India, according to the 2011 census, 97 million people speak Bengali as their mother tongue. This makes Bengali the second most spoken language in India; only Hindi has more. In the states of West Bengal and Tripura , Bengali speakers make up the majority of the population. There are also larger Bengali-speaking minorities in the states of Assam , Jharkhand , Bihar and Odisha . Larger groups of Bengali speakers in the diaspora can be found in the United States (260,000), the United Kingdom (220,000 in England and Wales alone ) and in the Gulf States .

Bengali is the official language in Bangladesh and in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. At the national level, it is recognized as one of 22 constitutional languages in India .

font

“I love you” in Bengali script , transcribed : Ami tomake bhalobashi

Bengali is written in its own script. It is a Brahmi script that is related to the Devanagari , which is used to write Hindi and Sanskrit , among other things . The alphabet consists of eleven vowels and 36 consonants. In addition to ten vowel abbreviations, which identify the vowel following the consonant in syllabic combinations, there are three secondary phonetic symbols to identify the pronunciation of the vowel (nasalized, breathy). There are more than 200 other characters for consonant-vowel connections and consonant clusters made up of two or three consonants. However, the type and sequence of the individual letters can largely be deduced from their shape.

Bengali digits are written with their own numerals; however, the internationally common Indian numerals are increasingly being used.

grammar

Bengali follows the subject-object-verb position. It uses post positions . There is no grammatical gender .

Adjectives and nouns change little. Verbs often change according to person, time and politeness, but not according to the number .

history

The oldest literary evidence of the Bengali language is the Charyapada , a collection of 47 songs by various poets that was written before 1000 AD. These are mystical songs composed by various Buddhist seer-poets: Luipada, Kanhapada, Kukkuripada, Chatilpada, Bhusukupada, Kamlipada, Dhendhanpada, Shantipada, Shabarapada, etc. Between the years 1350 to 1800, many literary works with religious themes were composed. Due to the collection efforts of the Nepal Royal Court Library, later also the Asiatic Society , a rediscovery was possible.

The timeline of Bengali literature is divided into two periods - medieval (1360–1800) and modern (after 1800). Medieval Bengali literature consists of various poetic genres, including Hindu religious writings (e.g. Mangalkavya ), Islamic epics (e.g. works by Syed Sultan and Abdul Hakim (poet) ), translations of Sanskrit , Arabic and Persian texts, Vaishnava texts (e.g. the biographies of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ), and secular texts by Muslim poets (e.g. works by Alaol ). Novels were introduced to Bengali literature in the mid-19th century. Rabindranath Tagore , poet, playwright, writer, painter, essayist, musician and social reformer, is the world's most famous figure in Bengali literature. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913 . In the post-partition period, Bengali literature includes the literatures of Bangladesh and West Bengal . A linguistic study of the Bengali grammar, Vocabolario em idioma Bengalla, e Portuguez dividido em duas partes , was only written in the years 1734–1742 by the Portuguese Manuel da Assumpção , who was doing missionary work in Bhawal. In the 19th century the language was systematized mainly by Ram Mohan Roy , Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar , and Rabindranath Tagore . Vidyasagar wrote the Sadhu Bangla , from which the Barna-Parichaya was later developed, a text that still plays a major role in language teaching in Bengali schools. The first printed book in Bengali is a Bengeli grammar book. This book was written by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed in 1776 . William Carey von Serampore translated the Bible into Bengali and published it in 1793 and 1801. In the second half of the 19th century, Muslim religious scholars began to increasingly use the Bengali language. One of the pioneers in this regard was Muhammad Naimuddin (1832-1908), who in 1873 with his work Jobdātal masāyel ( Zubdat al-masā'il ; "essence of the dispute") published the first Islamic legal manual in Bengali and in 1892 with the publication of a Bengali translation of the Qur'an began which also included an extensive commentary.

The Bengali language contributed to the development of its own national identity in the former East Pakistan and ultimately to the creation of an independent state of Bangladesh. From 1947 to 1971, Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan , which was formed from the predominantly Islamic parts of British India . In the years 1947-52, the central government of Pakistan tried to impose Urdu as the only official language. On the other hand, the Bengali language movement agitated , which was mainly supported by intellectuals and students. The violent clashes between protesting Bengali students and the Pakistani police on February 21, 1952 in Dhaka were of particular importance .

There were also riots in the Indian state of Assam on May 19, 1961 and July 21, 1986, after the state government of Assam had tried to introduce Asamiya as the only official language for the Bengali population living in Assam.

literature

supporting documents

  1. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics: Population and Housing Census 2011, p. 149.
  2. ^ Census of India 2011: Data on Language and Mother Tongue. Part A: Distribution of the 22 scheduled languages-India / States / Union Territories - 2011 census.
  3. United States Census Bureau: Detailed Languages ​​Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over for United States: 2009-2013.
  4. 2011 Office for National Statistics: 2011 Census: Quick Statistics for England and Wales, March 2011.
  5. Sufia M. Uddin: Constructing Bangladesh. Religion, Ethnicity, and Language in an Islamic Nation. Pp. 78-81 and 96-116.