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|Native to||Bangladesh and India|
|Region||Bangladesh (East Bengal) |
|L1: 234 million (2011–2021)|
L2: 39 million (2011–2017)
Total: 270 million
|Bengali signed forms|
Official language in
|Regulated by||Bangla Academy (in Bangladesh)|
Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi (in India)
Map of Bengali language in Bangladesh and India (district-wise). Darker shades imply a greater percentage of native speakers of Bengali in each district.
Bengali-speaking diaspora Worldwide.
|Part of a series on|
|Constitutionally recognised languages of India|
|22 Official Languages of the Indian Republic|
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Bengali (// ben-GAW-lee), generally known by its endonym Bangla (বাংলা, Bengali pronunciation: [ˈbaŋla]), is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Bengal region of South Asia. With approximately 234 million native speakers and another 39 million as second language speakers as of 2017, Bengali is the sixth most spoken native language and the seventh most spoken language by the total number of speakers in the world. Bengali is the fifth most spoken Indo-European language.
Bengali is the fourth fastest growing language in India, following Hindi in the first place, Kashmiri in the second place, and Meitei (Manipuri), along with Gujarati, in the third place, according to the 2011 census of India.
Bengali is the official, national, and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh, with 98% of Bangladeshis using Bengali as their first language. It is the second-most widely spoken of the 22 scheduled languages of India, and is the official language of the states of West Bengal and Tripura and the Barak Valley region of the state of Assam. It is also the second official language of the Indian state of Jharkhand since September 2011. It is the most widely spoken language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and is spoken by significant populations in other states including Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha and Uttarakhand. Bengali is also spoken by the Bengali diasporas (Bangladeshi diaspora and Indian Bengalis) in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and other countries.
Bengali has developed over more than 1,300 years. Bengali literature, with its millennium-old literary history, was extensively developed during the Bengali Renaissance and is one of the most prolific and diverse literary traditions in Asia. The Bengali language movement from 1948 to 1956 demanding that Bengali be an official language of Pakistan fostered Bengali nationalism in East Bengal leading to the emergence of Bangladesh in 1971. In 1999, UNESCO recognised 21 February as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the language movement.