Bengali language

The word "Bangla" in Bengali script
Pronunciation[ˈbaŋla] (listen)
Native toBangladesh and India
Native speakers
300 million (2011–2017)[1][2]
L2 speakers: 37 million[1]
Early forms
Bengali signed forms[3]
Official status
Official language in
 Bangladesh (national)


Regulated byBangla Academy (in Bangladesh)
Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi (in India)
Language codes
ISO 639-1bn
ISO 639-2ben
ISO 639-3ben
Geographic distribution of Bengali language.png
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.
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Constitutionally recognised languages of India
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Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India
Official Languages Commission
List of languages by number of native speakers in India

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Bengali (/bɛnˈɡɔːli/ ben-GAW-lee),[5][6] generally known by its endonym Bangla (বাংলা, Bengali pronunciation: [ˈbaŋla]), is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Bengal region of South Asia. It is the official, national, and most widely spoken language of Bangladesh and the second most widely spoken of the 22 scheduled languages of India. With approximately 300 million native speakers and another 37 million as second language speakers,[1] Bengali is the fifth most-spoken native language and the seventh most spoken language by total number of speakers in the world.[7][8] Bengali is the fifth most spoken Indo-European language.

Bengali is the official and national language of Bangladesh,[9][10][11] with 98% of Bangladeshis using Bengali as their first language.[12][13] Within India, Bengali is the official language of the states of West Bengal, Tripura and the Barak Valley region of the state of Assam. It is also a second official language of the Indian state of Jharkhand since September 2011.[4] It is the most widely spoken language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal,[14] and is spoken by significant populations in other states including Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha and Uttarakhand.[15] Bengali is also spoken by the Bengali diasporas (Bangladeshi diaspora and Indian Bengalis) in Europe, the United States, the Middle East and other countries.[16]

Bengali has developed over the course of more than 1,300 years. Bengali literature, with its millennium-old literary history, 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 Bengali to 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.[17][18]

  1. ^ a b c Bengali language at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  2. ^ "Scheduled Languages in descending order of speaker's strength - 2011" (PDF). Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 November 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Bangla Sign Language Dictionary". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Jharkhand gives second language status to Magahi, Angika, Bhojpuri and Maithili". The Avenue Mail. 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Bengal". The Chambers Dictionary (9th ed.). Chambers. 2003. ISBN 0-550-10105-5.
  6. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  7. ^ "The World Factbook". Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  8. ^ "Summary by language size". Ethnologue. 2019. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Bangla Bhasha Procholon Ain, 1987" বাংলা ভাষা প্রচলন আইন, ১৯৮৭ [Bengali Language Implementation Act, 1987] (PDF). Bangladesh Code বাংলাদেশ কোড (in Bengali). Vol. 27 (Online ed.). Dhaka: Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Bangladesh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 July 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  10. ^ "Bangla Language". Banglapedia. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Article 3. The state language". The Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Ministry of Law, The People's Republic of Bangladesh. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  12. ^ "National Languages Of Bangladesh". 11 June 2017. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  13. ^ "5 Surprising Reasons the Bengali Language Is Important". 17 August 2017. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  14. ^ "50th Report of the Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities in India (July 2012 to June 2013)" (PDF). National Commission for Linguistic Minorities. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2018. Retrieved 20 February 2018.
  15. ^ "50th REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER FOR LINGUISTIC MINORITIES IN INDIA" (PDF). Ministry of Minority Affairs. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Bengali Language". Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Amendment to the Draft Programme and Budget for 2000–2001 (30 C/5)" (PDF). General Conference, 30th Session, Draft Resolution. UNESCO. 1999. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2008.
  18. ^ "Resolution adopted by the 30th Session of UNESCO's General Conference (1999)". International Mother Language Day. UNESCO. Archived from the original on 1 June 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2008.

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