The Bengali script is a North Indian script closely related to Devanagari. It is used to write the Bengali language primarily in West Bengal state (India) and in the nation of Bangladesh. It is also used to write Assamese in Assam (India) and a number of other minority languages such as Daphla, Garo, Hallam, Khasi, Manipuri, Munda, Naga, Rian and Santali in northeastern India.

The Bengali script makes use of two-part vowel signs. In these vowels, one-half of the vowel is placed on each side of a consonant letter or cluster -- for example, U+09CC    Bengali vowel sign au. The vowel signs are coded in the position in the charts isomorphic with the corresponding vowel in Devanagari; hence, U+09CC    Bengali vowel sign au   is isomorphic with U+094C    Devanagari vowel sign au. To provide compatibility with existing implementations of the scripts that use two-part vowel signs, Unicode explicitly encodes the right half of these vowel signs; for example U+09D7    Bengali au length mark   represents the right-half glyph component of U+09CC    Bengali vowel sign au.


Unicode's Bengali code block reserves the 128 code points from U+0980 to U+09FF, of which 91 are currently assigned.

Devanagari <-- Bengali --> Gurmukhi

Number of characters added in each version of the Unicode standard :
Unicode 1.1 : 89
Unicode 4.0 : 1
Unicode 4.1 : 1

Number of characters in each General Category :

Letter, Other            Lo : 53
Mark, Non-Spacing        Mn :  9
Mark, Spacing Combining  Mc : 10
Number, Decimal Digit    Nd : 10
Number, Other            No :  6
Symbol, Currency         Sc :  2
Symbol, Other            So :  1

Number of characters in each Bidirectional Category :

Left To Right                 L : 80
European Number Terminator   ET :  2
Non Spacing Mark            NSM :  9

The columns below should be interpreted as :

  1. The Unicode code for the character
  2. The character in question
  3. The Unicode name for the character
  4. The Unicode General Category for the character
  5. The Unicode Bidirectional Category for the character
  6. The Unicode version when this character was added

If the characters below show up poorly, or not at all, see Unicode Support for possible solutions.

 

Bengali

     Based on ISCII 1988

U+0981   ঁ   Bengali sign candrabindu Mn NSM 1.1
U+0982   ং   Bengali sign anusvara Mc L 1.1
U+0983   ঃ   Bengali sign visarga Mc L 1.1

     Independent vowels

U+0985   অ   Bengali letter A Lo L 1.1
U+0986   আ   Bengali letter aa Lo L 1.1
U+0987   ই   Bengali letter I Lo L 1.1
U+0988   ঈ   Bengali letter ii Lo L 1.1
U+0989   উ   Bengali letter U Lo L 1.1
U+098A   ঊ   Bengali letter uu Lo L 1.1
U+098B   ঋ   Bengali letter vocalic r Lo L 1.1
U+098C   ঌ   Bengali letter vocalic l Lo L 1.1
U+098F   এ   Bengali letter E Lo L 1.1
U+0990   ঐ   Bengali letter ai Lo L 1.1
U+0993   ও   Bengali letter O Lo L 1.1
U+0994   ঔ   Bengali letter au Lo L 1.1

     Consonants

U+0995   ক   Bengali letter ka Lo L 1.1
U+0996   খ   Bengali letter kha Lo L 1.1
U+0997   গ   Bengali letter ga Lo L 1.1
U+0998   ঘ   Bengali letter gha Lo L 1.1
U+0999   ঙ   Bengali letter nga Lo L 1.1
U+099A   চ   Bengali letter ca Lo L 1.1
U+099B   ছ   Bengali letter cha Lo L 1.1
U+099C   জ   Bengali letter ja Lo L 1.1
U+099D   ঝ   Bengali letter jha Lo L 1.1
U+099E   ঞ   Bengali letter nya Lo L 1.1
U+099F   ট   Bengali letter tta Lo L 1.1
U+09A0   ঠ   Bengali letter ttha Lo L 1.1
U+09A1   ড   Bengali letter dda Lo L 1.1
U+09A2   ঢ   Bengali letter ddha Lo L 1.1
U+09A3   ণ   Bengali letter nna Lo L 1.1
U+09A4   ত   Bengali letter ta Lo L 1.1
U+09A5   থ   Bengali letter tha Lo L 1.1
U+09A6   দ   Bengali letter da Lo L 1.1
U+09A7   ধ   Bengali letter dha Lo L 1.1
U+09A8   ন   Bengali letter na Lo L 1.1
U+09AA   প   Bengali letter pa Lo L 1.1
U+09AB   ফ   Bengali letter pha Lo L 1.1
U+09AC   ব   Bengali letter ba Lo L 1.1
aka Bengali va, wa
U+09AD   ভ   Bengali letter bha Lo L 1.1
U+09AE   ম   Bengali letter ma Lo L 1.1
U+09AF   য   Bengali letter ya Lo L 1.1
U+09B0   র   Bengali letter ra Lo L 1.1
U+09B2   ল   Bengali letter la Lo L 1.1
U+09B6   শ   Bengali letter sha Lo L 1.1
U+09B7   ষ   Bengali letter ssa Lo L 1.1
U+09B8   স   Bengali letter sa Lo L 1.1
U+09B9   হ   Bengali letter ha Lo L 1.1

     Various signs

U+09BC   ়   Bengali sign nukta Mn NSM 1.1
* for extending the alphabet to new letters
U+09BD   ঽ   Bengali sign avagraha Lo L 4.0

     Dependent vowel signs

U+09BE   া   Bengali vowel sign aa Mc L 1.1
U+09BF   ি   Bengali vowel sign i Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant
U+09C0   ী   Bengali vowel sign ii Mc L 1.1
U+09C1   ু   Bengali vowel sign u Mn NSM 1.1
U+09C2   ূ   Bengali vowel sign uu Mn NSM 1.1
U+09C3   ৃ   Bengali vowel sign vocalic r Mn NSM 1.1
U+09C4   ৄ   Bengali vowel sign vocalic rr Mn NSM 1.1
U+09C7   ে   Bengali vowel sign e Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant
U+09C8   ৈ   Bengali vowel sign ai Mc L 1.1
* stands to the left of the consonant

     Two-part dependent vowel signs
These vowel signs have glyph pieces which stand on both sides of the consonant; they follow the consonant in logical order, and should be handled as a unit for most processing.

U+09CB   ো   Bengali vowel sign o Mc L 1.1
U+09CC   ৌ   Bengali vowel sign au Mc L 1.1

     Sign

U+09CD   ্   Bengali sign virama Mn NSM 1.1
aka hasant (bengali term for halant)

     Additional consonant

U+09CE   ৎ   Bengali letter khanda ta Lo L 4.1

     Sign

U+09D7   ৗ   Bengali au length mark Mc L 1.1

     Additional consonants

U+09DC   ড়   Bengali letter rra Lo L 1.1
U+09DD   ঢ়   Bengali letter rha Lo L 1.1
U+09DF   য়   Bengali letter yya Lo L 1.1

     Additional vowels for Sanskrit

U+09E0   ৠ   Bengali letter vocalic rr Lo L 1.1
U+09E1   ৡ   Bengali letter vocalic ll Lo L 1.1
U+09E2   ৢ   Bengali vowel sign vocalic l Mn NSM 1.1
U+09E3   ৣ   Bengali vowel sign vocalic ll Mn NSM 1.1

     Digits

U+09E6   ০   Bengali digit zero Nd L 1.1
U+09E7   ১   Bengali digit one Nd L 1.1
U+09E8   ২   Bengali digit two Nd L 1.1
U+09E9   ৩   Bengali digit three Nd L 1.1
U+09EA   ৪   Bengali digit four Nd L 1.1
U+09EB   ৫   Bengali digit five Nd L 1.1
U+09EC   ৬   Bengali digit six Nd L 1.1
U+09ED   ৭   Bengali digit seven Nd L 1.1
U+09EE   ৮   Bengali digit eight Nd L 1.1
U+09EF   ৯   Bengali digit nine Nd L 1.1

     Bengali-specific additions

U+09F0   ৰ   Bengali letter ra with middle diagonal Lo L 1.1
* Assamese
U+09F1   ৱ   Bengali letter ra with lower diagonal Lo L 1.1
aka Bengali letter va with lower diagonal (1.0)
* Assamese
U+09F2   ৲   Bengali rupee mark Sc ET 1.1
* Rupee
U+09F3   ৳   Bengali rupee sign Sc ET 1.1
U+09F4   ৴   Bengali currency numerator one No L 1.1
* not in current usage
U+09F5   ৵   Bengali currency numerator two No L 1.1
* not in current usage
U+09F6   ৶   Bengali currency numerator three No L 1.1
* not in current usage
U+09F7   ৷   Bengali currency numerator four No L 1.1
U+09F8   ৸   Bengali currency numerator one less than the denominator No L 1.1
U+09F9   ৹   Bengali currency denominator sixteen No L 1.1
U+09FA   ৺   Bengali isshar So L 1.1

http://unicode.org
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Just a small correction to the rather interesting WU about the Bengali language. The Mizo language is in fact called Lushai and does not use the Bengali script. It uses the Roman script and which is possibly a result of missionary activity in the region. (Mizoram is a state in the extreme north east of India populated mainly by tribals).

Further, the Assamese language while being largely similar in script to the Bengali one is not identical and has minor differences. But most Bengalis would be able to read Assamese with a fair degree of fluency.

Bengali has a rich heritage and its most famous author is Rabindranath Tagore, a Nobel Laureate, poet and novelist. Many of his poems have been put to tune and are known as Rabindrasangeet. Other famous Bengali authors include Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Sukumar Ray. The latter wrote mainly for children including a delightful collection of nursery rhymes called Abol Tabol and a fantasy tale called Hojoborolo. It is believed, somewhat controversially, that Steven Spielberg based E.T. on a character in one of Sukumar Ray's poems. His son Satyajit Ray was a noted film maker and won an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

Bengali is the official language of Bangladesh, the state of West Bengal in India, and India itself (though it has others as well). There are also signifigant numbers of Bengali-speaking people in the bordering Indian state of Assam and in Bengali immigrant populations in the Middle East and West. There are a total of 190 million native Bengali speakers, making it the 5th most common language in the world. "Bengali" is an english word that means a Bengali speaker and the name of the language itself, which is called "Bangla" in its own language. (Handy tip: It's not pronounced Bang-la, but sounds closer to bahng-la)

Bengali is an Indo-European language. It is usually written in the Bengali script. This is a Brahmic script, very similar to Devanagari, which is used for Hindi and Sanskrit. Each base symbol represents a syllable, and other symbols can be added to change (or suppress) the vowel of that syllable. Consonant clusters are often indicated by joining two symbols. The spelling leaves out some vowel merges in the spoken language, so there is not a true one-to-one relationship between the written and spoken word.

There is a difference in dialects, there is a sort of colloquial form and a literary, often formal, form. While the colloqial form is overwhelmingly from Sanskrit, there are also plenty of words taken from English, Hindi, Arabic, and Persian sources. Bengali also has many regional variations, particualry between Bangladesh and West Bengal, and I hear Bengali spoken in the UK has more Arab-Persian words in it and is different from "regular" Bengali grammar. The main difference is the sound, though Muslim Bangladesh may use some different words than Hindu West Bengal, some of it from Urdu. Bengali has a history related to Urdu; when Pakistan and Bangladesh were united, the central government tried to establish Urdu as the official language, leading to large protests. Bangladesh and West Bengal even commemorates February 21 as Language Martyr's Day, to remember those killed while protesting to make Bengali the official language.

Some useful Phrases:

Hello: Assalaamu 'Alaykum (typical Islamic greeting)
Hello: No Mosh Kar (secular)
Nice to meet you: Apnake dekhe kushi holam
How are you?: Kemon Acho? (informal) Kemon Achen? (formal)
Yes: Han
No: Naa
My name is ...: Amar nam ...
What’s your name?: Apnar nam ki?
Are you crazy?: Tumi ki pagol? (informal)
Oh, how beautiful!: Ah, ki shundor
I don't know Bengali: Ami bangla jaani naa (remember, bahn-gla not bang-la)

Useful links and sources:
http://www.geocities.com/pictorialbd/learn_bengali.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengali

Ben*gal"ee, Ben*gal"i (?), n.

The language spoken in Bengal.

 

© Webster 1913.

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