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How to write correct Bangla: A synopsis



To start a more in-depth discussion on the written forms of Bengali, it is essential to obtain a little lowdown on the Bengali alphabet. Derived from the Brahmi alphabet, the Bengali letters also have a close relation with the Devanagari script; it was in the 11th Century AD when the actual diversion started taking place. The modern alphabetical system originated in 1778 and the modernization of a few archaic letters occurred a century later. In spite of all the changes, Bangla alphabet still remained rooted in the scheme of the Sanskrit alphabet; consisting of 12 vowels and 30 consonants and specific symbols (though they often do not represent the spoken sound of the language), there are also historical mentions regarding Bangla been written in Perso-Arabic script and Sylheti Nagri. Regarding the punctuation marks, apart from the dnari (|, the equivalent of fullstop), other punctuation marks are the same as in the European script.



Divided predominantly into two distinct forms, written Bangla centers on the Sadhu (chaste) and the Cholita (colloquial) patterns that primarily differs in its usage of verbs and pronouns; the verbs and pronouns of the Sadhu form get shortened in the colloquial or Cholita form and stands out as the primary difference between the two; the real difference being in the temperament. As an added piece of information, it pays to know that it is the Sadhu form that came into being prior to the other that originated in the beginning of the 20th century.

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Though the advent reduced the usage of the Sadhu form up to quite a bit; however, the Cholito form couldn’t completely abolish the use of chaste Bangla that continued as the language of the contemporary newspapers, businesses and the law and for governmental affairs. The Calcutta aristocracy, on the other hand, adopted colloquial Bangla; the language also became the choice of those into literary works.


The Bengali vocabulary is a diverse one with around 75,000 separate words, of which 50,000 are considered tatsam or directly borrowed from Sanskrit; 21,100 are tadbhav or from the native Bengali vocabulary while the rest came from other foreign languages. But fact also remains that a large proportion of these words are archaic and are barred from their actual usage.

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Among the notable features of the written forms of Bengali, the following are the points that sets the language apart from many:


  • Bengali lettering are syllabic by nature i.e. consonants comprise an inherent vowel with two different pronunciations. This makes determining a tough phenomenon.


  • Vowels can either be written as independent letters or along with a variety of diacritical marks that can be placed above, below, before or after the adjoining consonant.


  • Consonants often cluster, bringing into use special conjunct letters. The letters for the consonants (leaving the final one) are often united (juktakkhor or joint-letters) whereas the inherent vowel can be noted only in the final consonant sound.



However, the story doesn’t end here; those who would like to go deeper, for them, it’s strongly recommended to go through Panini’s grammar for a better understanding of the mother language Sanskrit that would make comprehending the syntax of written Bangla a lot more easier.For Bengali translation by native translator contact

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