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স্বাগতম! - Welcome!

কথা - dialogueEdit

You are walking down Gulshan Avenue in Dhaka when you hear Habib and Anjan pass each other by.

১৫ এপ্রিল, গুলশান অ্যাভেন্যু
বক্তা - speaker বাংলা - Bengali উচ্চারণ - pronunciation ইংরেজি - English
হাবিব নমস্কার! nômôshkar! Hello!
অঞ্জন আসসালামু আলাইকুম! assalamu alaikum! Hello!
হাবিব আপনি কেমন আছেন? apni kemon achen? How are you?
অঞ্জন আমি ভালো আছি। কেমন আছেন? ami bhalo achi! apni kemon achen? I am well. How are you?
হাবিব আমিও ভালো আছি। amio bhalo achi. I am also well.

You decide to go over and introduce yourself.

বক্তা বাংলা উচ্চারণ ইংরেজি
আপনি শুভ সকাল! আপনারা কেমন আছেন? shubho shôkal! apnara kemon achen? Good morning! How are you all?
অঞ্জন আমরা খুব ভালো আছি আজকে। amra khub bhalo achi ajke. We are quite well today.
হাবিব আপনার নাম কি? apnar nam ki? What is your name?
আপনি আমার নাম নামবিহীন। amar nam nambihin. My name is Anonymous.
হাবিব আচ্ছা। পরে দেখা হবে? accha. pore dekha hôbe? Okay. Will we see each other later?
অঞ্জন জি, আবার দেখা হবে। ji, abar dekha hôbe. Yes, we will see each other again.
আপনি ঠিক আছে। পরে কথা হবে। ţhik achhe. pore kôtha hôbe. That's fine. We will speak later.
হাবিব আচ্ছা, আল্লাহ হাফেজ! accha, allah hafej! Okay, goodbye!
অঞ্জন নমস্কার, নামবিহীন! nômôshkar, nambihin! Goodbye, Anonymous!

মান - meaningEdit

First thing's first: if the Wikipedia links didn't tip you off, then you should know that the speakers in the last dialogue were Bengali musicians, one from . Gulshan Avenue is also the most affluent thoroughfare in Dhaka.

(Politeness is important too!)

শুভেচ্ছা - greetingsEdit

There aren't clear-cut equivalents for the simple words 'hello' and 'goodbye'.

  • When the listener is Hindu, you can use নমস্কার (lit. I bow to your likeness) in both greeting and parting.
  • When the listener is Muslim, you use আসসালামু আলাইকুম (lit. peace be upon you) in greeting and either আল্লাহ হাফেজ or খোদা হাফেজ (khoda hafej, lit. may God be your guardian) in parting.
  • When you are uncertain of the listener's religion, it is perfectly acceptable to use a simple হ্যালো (hello) and বাইবাই (bye-bye).

On the other hand, basing your greeting on the time of day is much easier:

  • শুভ সকাল: good morning
  • শুভ দুপুর (shubho dupur): good afternoon (when it's closer to noon)
  • শুভ বিকাল (shubho bikal): good afternoon (when it's farther from noon)
  • শুভ সন্ধ্যা (shubho shondha): good evening
  • শুভ রাত (shubho rat): good night

অবস্থা - statusEdit

The phrase আপনি কেমন আছেন, or আপনারা কেমন আছেন for multiple people, is the most formal version of a 'how are you' in Bengali.

In most informal situations, কি অবস্থা (ki ôbostha, lit. what's the status), কি খবর (ki khôbor, lit. what's the news), and কি হচ্ছে (ki hocche, lit. what's happening) serve as the equivalents to "what's up".

চেনা - recognitionEdit

আপনার নাম কি is a perfectly polite way to ask someone their name. আপনি কে (apni ke, lit. who are you), on the other hand, is generally avoided in conversation.

পরিপোষণ - affirmationEdit

জি and জি না (ji na) are the more polite versions of 'yes' and 'no'. In most informal situations–or in most situations altogether–হ্যাঁ (hã) and না are almost always used.

আচ্ছা is the ubiquitous word for 'okay' found in practically any Indian language.

বিদায় - farewellEdit

Aside from what was discussed under শুভেচ্ছা, phrases such as পরে দেখা হবে, পরে কথা হবে, and আবার দেখা হবে function well as equivalents of 'see you later'.

ব্যাকরন - grammarEdit

বিশেষ্যপদ - nounEdit

There are no articles in Bengali–there are no equivalents to If one needs to be definite about something, one can attach -টা (-ţa) to the end of the word.

For forming plurals, one tacks on -গুলো (-gulo) to objects and -রা (-ra) to people.

শিষ্টাচার - etiquetteEdit

Ideally this section should be named 'সর্বনাম - pronouns', but while politeness levels in pronouns aren't present in modern English (think 'you' vs. 'thou'), they're markedly important in Bengali–and what better way to introduce the concept than through a discussion of pronouns?

উত্তম পুরুষ - first personEdit

Unlike in, say, Japanese, there's no politeness distinction for 'I' (আমি) and 'we' (আমরা, amra).

মধ্যম পুরুষ - second personEdit

The word 'you' has three equivalents depending on the politeness level.

  • আপনি: This is the formal word used in the dialogue and almost always recommended when speaking to strangers or to those elder than you in some way. The plural is আপনারা.
  • তুমি (tumi): This is the familiar word; you'd use it when speaking to family and friends in more normal circumstances. The plural is তোমরা (tomra).
  • তুই (tui): This is the most informal word, used when speaking to those inferior to you in some way or to animals, objects, or your significant other. The plural is তোরা (tora).

Each version has its own form in verb conjugation, which we'll get into later.

প্রথম পুরুষ - third personEdit

(Caveat: the Bengali literally means 'first person'.)

Pronouns in the third person, contrary to what is found in many languages, are based on the location of the thing or person being referred to. (They also have formal forms.)

  • এ: This is used for those near the speaker.
    • ইনি (ini) is the formal version.
  • ও: This is used for those near the speaker.
    • উনি (uni) is the formal version.
  • সে (she): This is used for those that either were mentioned previously or are outside the view of the speaker or listener.
    • তিনি (tini) is the formal version.

এ and ও may be pluralized as described above (এরা, ওরা), but সে becomes তারা (tara) in the plural. The formal plurals are the same as the regular ones except that their first vowels are nasalized (i.e. এঁরা, ওঁরা, তাঁরা).

হওয়া - to beEdit

The simple present tense of 'to be' is not used in Bengali, which means direct descriptions of objects can be made by putting the nouns/adjectives right after them.