Bengali ( বাংলা)

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-12, 14:22

Oh man, I wish I knew. I think the way I learned it was honestly just by first watching lots of Bengali movies and trying to learn to read the credits (Devanagari helped :lol:). I think I might also have learned it through Learn Bengali in 30 Days. :D (One thing that actually is good about that series is they always teach you how to write the (basic) letters in the target language, with a diagram of the strokes right at the very beginning). After that, I started using TY, but I think I'd already pretty much learned the script by then. :P

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Luís » 2016-01-12, 17:49

Are there many similarities with Devanagari?
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-12, 19:15

Yes. The order of the alphabet is the same (as it is for most Indian writing systems). There's a line over each letter like in Devanagari, and a lot of the vowel diacritics look pretty much like Devanagari. The symbols for the vowels themselves don't look quite as much like Devanagari, although they do show some of the same patterns, like the first two vowels a ā are अ आ in Devanagari and অ আ in Bengali; in both scripts, the second vowel is formed by taking the first one and adding া. Many of the consonants also look similar, like क in Devanagari and ক in Bengali script for ka.

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2016-01-12, 19:44

Luís wrote:What would you guys recommend for learning the script?

There's a (relatively) large Bangladeshi community in the neighborhood where I'm currently working, so it would be nice to learn some stuff about it :D


The TY Bengali does the best job at teaching the script. The first 13 chapters of the book is dedicated to it. If you want to learn more "colloquial" Bengali. The Colloquial Bengali book is quite good too.
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-13, 18:59

Thanks, Meera! I honestly had no idea what to recommend. :lol:

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2016-01-13, 19:10

Unfortunately there aren't many resources for it. I was trying to think of online stuff for the script but there is hardly anything lol
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Luís » 2016-01-14, 8:20

Which is strange, considering how many people actually speak Bengali!
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-01-15, 6:26

The way I see it, on the one hand, it's rare to find non-South Asians who are willing to try learning Hindi and even more so for any other South Asian language. On the other hand, there's lots and lots of pressure on a lot of us South Asians to learn English. As a result, when a foreigner does express interest in any of our languages, we're not just surprised; we often fail to understand what the motivation for such an endeavor could be, however obvious it may seem (or be!) in reality. That's also why we're very unlikely to create resources for learning our languages: because who is going to buy them and what's the point when plenty of foreigners have managed to get by and even live in South Asia speaking only English anyway? I have tried at least three times to make useful resources of some sort for learning Malayalam, and my dad in particular loves his language and reads lots of novels in it, talks to me in it, and so on, yet even he is highly skeptical of the idea that a foreigner would be able to share an interest in it and never saw how me trying to make resources for learning it was anything more than a waste of time.

OK, rant over. :lol: I wouldn't go so far as to say there's nothing out there for learning the scripts of these languages online, though. For Bengali, at least there's Omniglot and Wikipedia.

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Luís » 2016-01-15, 8:08

Well, there's a ton of resources for Hindi, at least when compared to other languages of India.

This website seems to have quite a few interesting books, from "Telugu in a Month" to "Basic Konkani" or "An Intensive Course in Kannada". But they all seem to be Indian editions and there's no preview, so I'm not sure how good they are.

This book seems interesting too.
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2016-01-21, 18:39

Luís wrote:Which is strange, considering how many people actually speak Bengali!


Yeah, Bengali is one of the least studied languages of all the major languages. And Bengali has more speakers than German, Italian or French. Bengali also has a very rich and extensive literature. And Calcutta was once the "cultural" capital of India. It is really sad there isn't a lot of resources for Bengali. But if you really want to learn Bengali, the Colloquial and the Teach Yourself are both really good. The Teach Yourself is challenging though, just make sure you use audio with it.
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2016-01-21, 18:41

Luís wrote:Well, there's a ton of resources for Hindi, at least when compared to other languages of India.

This website seems to have quite a few interesting books, from "Telugu in a Month" to "Basic Konkani" or "An Intensive Course in Kannada". But they all seem to be Indian editions and there's no preview, so I'm not sure how good they are.

This book seems interesting too.


Stay away from the "in a month" or "30 Days" books for the Indian languages they are all horrible.
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2016-01-21, 18:52

vijayjohn wrote:The way I see it, on the one hand, it's rare to find non-South Asians who are willing to try learning Hindi and even more so for any other South Asian language. On the other hand, there's lots and lots of pressure on a lot of us South Asians to learn English. As a result, when a foreigner does express interest in any of our languages, we're not just surprised; we often fail to understand what the motivation for such an endeavor could be, however obvious it may seem (or be!) in reality. That's also why we're very unlikely to create resources for learning our languages: because who is going to buy them and what's the point when plenty of foreigners have managed to get by and even live in South Asia speaking only English anyway? I have tried at least three times to make useful resources of some sort for learning Malayalam, and my dad in particular loves his language and reads lots of novels in it, talks to me in it, and so on, yet even he is highly skeptical of the idea that a foreigner would be able to share an interest in it and never saw how me trying to make resources for learning it was anything more than a waste of time.

OK, rant over. :lol: I wouldn't go so far as to say there's nothing out there for learning the scripts of these languages online, though. For Bengali, at least there's Omniglot and Wikipedia.


This is true for the regional languages or south Indian languages. But there are quite a bit of resources for Hindi/Urdu and the governments of India/Pakistan seem to really push Hindi/Urdu. Surprisingly Punjabi for some reason has a lot of resources by native speakers aimed at heritage learners. There seems to be more resources for Punjabi than for Bengali or Tamil. Another one that really surprises me is Nepali, for such a small language there are a lot of resources for it. There are more resources for Nepali than for Tamil, when Tamil has way more speakers. It is really surprising. My guess is that Nepal has Mount Everest, but Tamil Nadu has some awesome tourist places too so it really doesn't make sense. Another big shock is Telugu, there is nothing for it. An Indian Telugu friend told me once it was because most Telugu's speak Hindi/English already. I feel like saying a lot of Germans and Scandinavians speak English too and you don't see a lack of resources for them. :?
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-02-05, 3:54

Yeah, there's a lot of resources for Hindi compared to other Indian languages, and probably for Nepali it's because it's the only official language of Nepal. In general, I think people don't make resources for Indian languages because of the inferiority complex that's a consequence of British rule, and in South India, it's even worse because there's the South Indian inferiority complex on top of that. North Indians frequently discriminate against us South Indians and often expect us to speak Hindi. Like my brother lives in the Bay Area and speaks a little bit of Hindi, but all the Indians he meets there are like "how come your wife speaks Hindi so well and you don't?" Well, because she's North Indian and he's not, duh! :P

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Luís » 2016-02-12, 13:07

So, after three weeks I finally received "Learn Bengali in 30 Days" in the mail (I ordered it from India). And yeah, I get what you guys were saying... this feels more like a phrasebook and not a good one at times. But it does explain the alphabet and considering how cheap it was, it'll be a nice addition to my collection. 8-)
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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Sundor Bhasa » 2017-04-26, 20:30

I really liked the TY Bengali, but it's mostly suited for people who want to explore the language in depth and who are willing to spend some real time studying it. It can be hard to make your way through, but it was worth it. For me it was perfect. Pronunciation and grammar are very well explained, and the dialogues are really realistic.

I didn't like the Colloquial Course. It is more accessible than the TY, but the dialogues don't seem really natural, the exercises sometimes felt pointless and the grammar isn't explained as good as in TY. And the transcript really bugged me. In order not to include diacritical marks it uses capital letters. So for example, a dental t is written t, and a retroflex t is T. This results in words like pORaTen.

In addition, I'd like to give a little praise to Hanne-Ruth Thompson's wonderful dictionary and phrasebook. It's very useful.

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Re: Bengali ( বাংলা)

Postby Meera » 2017-04-30, 18:54

Luís wrote:So, after three weeks I finally received "Learn Bengali in 30 Days" in the mail (I ordered it from India). And yeah, I get what you guys were saying... this feels more like a phrasebook and not a good one at times. But it does explain the alphabet and considering how cheap it was, it'll be a nice addition to my collection. 8-)



Hey Luis, I know it may be too late now but I recently just bought Beginner's Bengali from Hippocrene. I can't judge it completely because I am not finished yet but so far it is amazing!!
https://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Bengal ... ds=bengali


It has audio, a section all on the script, dialogues, and grammar notes, plus exercises and games. I really love it so far, it was a bit expensive but I am super glad I got it. :)
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