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A Precise Précis on the spoken forms of Bengali   


By now, we have come to know the ancestry of the language Bangla along with a few other brief details regarding its transformations and classifications; but to develop an overall idea, it’s necessary to know it’s most recent form. That directs to the spoken form; though spoken Bangla shares a common ground with the archaic structure up to a certain extent, it can be easily noticed that there also exists a certain dissimilarity that differentiates between the two. However, a little recap may prove beneficial before proceeding further on the given topic.



With its roots set deep within the Eastern Indo-Aryan language belonging to the Indo-European language family, Bangla was derived out of Magadhi Apabhransha along with two other languages, namely Oriya and Assamese. Prototyped as per the dialect of the Shantipur region in Nadia district, West Bengal and districts located along the Hooghly River, the spoken forms of Bangla vary according to the regions where they are spoken; thus came the term regional that’s often used as the prefix. The regional form shares a lot with the contemporary style of written Bengali i.e. Cholitobhasha; as a matter of fact, the standard pronunciation of Bangla words are almost the same in both the forms. According to Suniti Kumar Chatterjee, the spoken form of Bengali spans over four broad categories, namely, Radh, Banga, Kamarupa and Varendra; the classification Jhadkhandi was later added by Sukumar Sen and a brief description of each are provided below:


Radh/Radhi (pronounced raar-hi): The basis of standard or colloquial Bangla, it is widely spoken all over southwestern Bengal. 

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Banga/Bangali: A form spoken in both the east and southeastern areas of Bengal, it retains numerous features from the medieval Bangla that are extinct in Radhi. Noted for its use of epenthetic (semi-) vowels, absence of vowel height assimilation and nasal consonants. 


Varendra or remote Bangali, Jharkhandi and Kamrupi: With a lot of similarity with Assamese, southwestern Bihari and the language spoken in the Kanthi area with Oriya respectively, these three forms have deviated from the original Bangla though they share the primary framework. 


As of now, it is West Bengal and Bangladesh where the use of Bangla as the lingua franca is widespread; further analysis shall reveal a plethora of tribal languages   widely used in the districts of Rajshahi, Chittagong, Moymonsingha etc. that have their roots in Bangla. Among these, tribal languages like Chakma, Khasia, Manipuri, and Santali are the mostly spoken ones, whereas other tribal languages like Malpahadi and Hajang are the next in the line. However, the three forms that have widely incorporated the attributes of Bangla into them are as follows: 


Garo: A form used in Dhaka, Mymensingh and in some parts of Meghalaya in India, Garo or Achik Katha  is primarily a spoken form devoid of scripts. Based on proverbs, idioms, songs, rhymes, oral narratives and folk-tales, it can easily pass as the code of the religious beliefs and culture of the people inhabiting in the regions aforementioned. The vocabulary is a blend of words taken from many other different languages, whereas the syntax, semantics, verbs etc. follow a set pattern like many other developed languages. Garo, however, resembles Bangla and Assamese the most, though being a primary language.  



Santali: A vocabulary that borrows largely from Bangla, Santali has a lot common with the Bangla grammar as well There are other grammatical similarities too. As in the Munda language, vowels in Santali can be nasal. Though flexion is absent for Santali at the end of words, the pronouns are different for animate and inanimate objects. 

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Chakma: With similar vocabulary, philology, prosody, idioms and phonetics, the linguistic aspects of Chakma also borrows a lot from the early Bangla as well as the syntax. 


Apart from the derivatives, spoken form of Bangla in West Bengal also varies from district to district though the variations are centered on the phonetics and the pronunciation keeping the grammar and the syntax unadulterated; that way, with ears attuned to the different tongues, one can stop him/herself from being at sea while traveling from one border of the state to the other.  

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