Everything You Need To Learn Bengali
Bengali (also known as Bangla) is a prominent language of the Indian subcontinent. It’s an eastern Indo-Aryan language and is the official state language of Bangladesh, and it holds the status of being one of the most widely-spoken languages in the world.
It’s also recognized as one of the 22 official languages of India and plays a significant role in Indian cultural affairs. There are approximately 210 million Bengali speakers worldwide.
As Bengali is spoken by so many people, having knowledge of it, even to a basic conversational level, can help to open up a variety of opportunities.
With the majority of Bengali speakers based in South Asia, it’s not surprising that most resources for learning Bengali are also located there. For a language with this many speakers, there isn’t the plethora of learning materials available internationally that one might expect.
Don’t despair! This list, though not large, has more than enough resources to get you well on your way to Bengali fluency.
Bengali Language Learning Books
Learning Bengali from a course book is without a doubt the most organized and efficient way to go about it, if you want to learn everything from the basics right up to a level where you can speak, write, read and understand with reasonable competence.
A Bengali written course will focus on things like grammar, pronunciation and sentence structure, as well as vocabulary, which is great for improving your overall knowledge of the language.
As Bengali uses the বাংলা (Bangla) alphabet, you’ll also want a book that teaches you how to read and write it, because you won’t get very far in Bangladesh without this knowledge.
In addition to the above, an English-Bengali dictionary that also includes romanized text will be an invaluable resource in developing your Bengali skills. As you progress through your studies, you’ll constantly be looking up new words you encounter, and having a good Bengali dictionary to hand will make the process much easier.
Bengali Children’s Books
There’s nothing like a good Bengali children’s book to make learning the language more fun. Bengali books written for children are less difficult than those for adults, and as such they’re a great way to ease yourself into the language.
Many of the kids’ books on this list are also bilingual English-Bengali, which provides you with an easy way of checking your comprehension of the language.
Once you’re ready to move on to more advanced reading material, getting a Bengali book that’s written for adult readers should be on your list of priorities.
Whether you choose works that have been translated into Bengali, or native Bengali fiction, you’ll get a lot out of reading more complex material. Not only will your reading comprehension improve, your Bengali vocabulary and knowledge of the language will also be enhanced.
Bengali Movies & TV Shows
Listening to stories or watching movies in Bengali is an excellent way of developing not only your pronunciation, but your vocabulary. This is one of the more long-lasting ways of getting vocabulary to stick, as you learn words in context and have visual cues to help you remember them.
Movies and TV shows are also a great way of picking up colloquialisms and phrases that you might not otherwise hear in basic conversation or in books.
The small selection of Bengali-language movies below have interesting storylines and plenty of drama, which makes them a joy to watch, and thus an invaluable resource for your language journey.
Bengali Digital Courses
If you’re someone who learns best via audio, then a digital Bengali course will work wonders for you. These types of courses usually focus more on getting you speaking quickly, and are great for people who plan to visit a country where Bengali is spoken.
The selection of Bengali courses is surprisingly limited, and despite the large number of native speakers, there aren’t many offering Bengali language instruction internationally, either in person or in digital format.
Luckily, Udemy does offer at least one Bengali course. Not only is it very affordable, you can access it from anywhere in the world, across any device, and you get lifetime access to all future updates.
Digital courses, Udemy ones in particular, are ideal for those who like to work at their own pace whilst still benefiting from the structure of the course.