Photo courtesy of Kathryn Mitiguy

Quick Facts


Total Worldwide Speakers: 181,272,900


Language Family: Indo-European


Spoken in:
Bangladesh, Canada, India, Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States



 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 sixteenth century, while the later is a 20th century creation and is based on the speech of educated people in Calcutta. The differences between the two styles are not huge and involve mainly forms of pronouns and verb conjugations.



Sources: The Ethnologue & Omniglot



Talk Now! - Bengali

An interactive language learning program, Talk Now! is an excellent program for beginners to a new language. Features include speech recording to compare your voice to those of native speakers, quizzes, a printable dictionary, and more. Compatible on both PCs and Macs.


Teach Yourself - Bengali

Need to learn Bengali but don't have the time? Teach Yourself - Bengali is an audio tool to help you quickly learn the basics of the language. With this program you'll be ready for your next trip in no time!

Web-Based Links

Avro Keyboard

Downloadable software that allows you to type Bengali anywhere - emails, word documents, blogs, etc. Please note that this is application is not supported by Saint Michael's College.

Basic Language Course in Bengali

A single-page introduction to the Bengali language. It has pronunciation, commonly used words/phrases, sentence construction, and a lot of "fill-in-the-blank" self quizzing.

The Bengali Alphabet

Provides background information on the Bengali alphabet and how to draw the characters. Also has an extensive list of other Bengali resources, such as magazines, radio, dictionaries, and more.


Step-by-step diagrams of how to write using Bengali characters. Useful for anyone learning the alphabet.

Global Road Warrior

Use this database to get acclimated to a country's business culture and etiquette (greetings & courtesies, ethics, meetings, attire), society and culture (gift giving, food, media, time & punctuality) and travel tips (money & banking, transportation, and more) for 175 countries.

Learn Bengali

Learn Bengali, part of MyLanguages.org, offers categorized Bengali vocabulary, as well as audio to hear how native speakers pronounce the words.