- Indo-Aryan language spoken principally in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal.Bengali has more speakerssome 190 millionthan all but a handful of other languages of the world. Like other Modern Indo-Aryan languages, Bengali has drastically reduced the complex inflectional system of Old Indo-Aryan (see Sanskrit language). It has virtually dropped grammatical gender and fixed stress on the initial syllable of a word or phrase. Bengali was the first of the Indian languages to adopt Western secular literary styles, such as fiction and drama.
* * *Bengali Bānglāeastern Indo-Aryan language spoken in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. Two Bengali dialects are significant: Sādhu-Bhāsā, the literary language, which has a vocabulary with many Sanskrit words and is unintelligible to the uneducated; and Calit-Bhāsā, the colloquial speech, which has many contracted forms. Calit-Bhāsā is spoken by the educated Bengalis as well as by the common people; it is based on the dialect of Calcutta and surrounding districts.Bengali has preserved case inflection for nouns and pronouns, although western Indo-Aryan languages such as Hindī have tended to lose them. Bengali distinguishes four to six cases, depending on whether the word inflected represents a rational or a nonrational being or thing. Associated with this usage, the singular verb form is used only when familiarity or contempt is intended by the speaker or, in the third-person form, when a nonrational being or object is spoken of.Bengali, the language of the world-renowned writer Rabindranath Tagore (Tagore, Rabindranath), was the first of the Indian languages to develop Western secular literary styles, such as fiction, drama, and odes.
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