Another Indo-Aryan Language: Bengali

Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language, and it emerged in India, during the first millennium. Its alphabet comes from the Brahmi alphabet, which is used for the transliteration of Sanskrit. The Bengali writing system used today first appeared in 1778 with Charles Wilkins. The Bengali language has two literary styles: one is the Sadhubhasa, a refined language, and the other is Chaltibhasa, an everyday language. The style that is best preserved is the traditional one, which emerged in the 16th century, while the other one was created in the 20th century based on the speech of the educated population of Calcutta.

This Indo-Aryan language is spoken by more than 200 million people in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Australia, the UK and the US.

Some features of the Bengali language are:
• It has been influenced by many other languages and has borrowed a host of terms from them. Centuries of Persian and Middle Eastern invasion have added lots of words from Turkish, Arabic and Persian origin to Bengali. However, Portuguese, French, Dutch and English colonialism also left a mark in the Bengali language.
• It is written from left to right.

Hindi and Bengali, how closely related are they?
• They are very similar, because both of these languages come from the same linguistic group. They share a lot of vocabulary from Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian origin.
• However, the fact that they are similar does not mean that a speaker of Hindi will understand and know how to translate Bengali.

Some differences
• Hindi has two grammatical genders: masculine and feminine, while Bengali does not make such a difference.
• Hindi is based on a complex system of verbs and Bengali, in a simple one.

However, it is interesting to note that the national anthems of India and Bangladesh are both written in Bengali.

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