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 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PDF version for the language Bengali
PDF Version

Bengali

Source: United Nations Department of Public Information, NY




Profile


Native Name
None

Total Speakers
196,000,000 (1995)

Usage By Country
Official Language: Bangladesh, West Bengal/India

Background
It belongs to the Indo-European family, Indic group, and is spoken by over 120 million people in Bangladesh and over 68 million in India, in the province known as West Bengal. The number of speakers exceeds 190 million including second language users. Only five other languages in the world can claim as many as 190 million speakers. Modern Bengali has two literary styles. One is called "Sadhubhasa" (elegant language) and the other "Chaltibhasa" (current language). The former is the traditional literary style based on Middle Bengali of the 16th century, the latter is a creation of this century, based on the cultivated form of the dialect spoken in Calcutta by educated people. The difference between the two is not very sharp, however. The Bengali script, in its present printed form, took shape in 1778. The script originated form a variety of the Sanskrit Devanagari alphabet, assuming its own characteristics in the 11th century.

Received 5/25/1998
Posted 11/12/1998
Checked 11/12/1998