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The dialects of the Bengali language are part of the Eastern Indo-Aryan language group of the Indo-European language family widely spoken in the Bengal region of South Asia. The spoken dialects of Bengali are mutually intelligible with neighbouring dialects.
Bengali dialects can be thus classified along at least two dimensions: spoken vs. literary variations, and prestige vs. regional variations.
Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Sukumar Sen classified Bengali dialects in five classes by their phonology and pronunciation. They are:[additional citation(s) needed]
1. Eastern Bangali dialect: Bangali dialect is the most widely spoken dialect of Bengali language. It is spoken across the Khulna, Barisal, Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Comilla Divisions of Bangladesh and the State of Tripura in India.
2. Rarhi dialect: Rarhi dialect is spoken across much of Southern West Bengal, India. It is spoken by almost 20 percent of Bengali people. The regions where it is spoken include the whole of Presidency division (including the city of Kolkata and the Nadia district), the Southern half of Burdwan division and the district of Murshidabad.
3. Varendri dialect: This variety is spoken in Rajshahi division of Bangladesh and Malda division of West Bengal, India (previously part of Varendra or Barind division). It is also spoken in some adjoining villages in Bihar bordering Malda.
4. Rangpuri dialect: This dialect is spoken in Rangpur Division of Bangladesh and Jalpaiguri division of West Bengal, India and its nearby Bengali speaking areas in the bordering areas of Assam and Bihar.
5. Manbhumi dialect: Manbhumi is spoken in westernmost Bengali speaking regions which includes the whole of Medinipur division and the northern half of Burdwan division in West Bengal and the Bengali speaking regions of Santhal Pargana division and Kolhan division in Jharkhand state.
More than other Indo-Aryan languages, Bengali exhibits strong diglossia between the formal, written language and the vernacular, spoken language. Two styles of writing, involving somewhat different vocabularies and syntax, have emerged :
Spoken Bengali exhibits far more variation than written Bengali. Formal spoken Bengali, including what is heard in news reports, speeches, announcements, and lectures, is modelled on Choltibhasha. This form of spoken Bengali stands alongside other spoken dialects, or Ancholik Bangla (আঞ্চলিক বাংলা) (i.e. 'regional Bengali'). The majority of Bengalis are able to communicate in more than one dialect – often, speakers are fluent in Choltibhasha, one or more Ancholik dialect, and one or more forms of Gramyo Bangla (গ্রাম্য বাংলা) (i.e. 'rural Bengali'), dialects specific to a village or town.
To a non-Bengali, these dialects may sound or look vastly different, but the differences are mostly in phonology and vocabulary, and not so much a grammatical one, one exception is the addition of grammatical gender in some eastern dialects. Many dialects share features with Sadhu bhasha, which was the written standard until the 19th century. Comparison of Bengali dialects gives us an idea about archaic forms of the language as well.
During standardisation of Bengali in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the cultural elite were mostly from the regions of Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, 24 Parganas and Nadia. What is accepted as the standard form today in both West Bengal and Bangladesh is based on the West-Central dialect. While the language has been standardised today through two centuries of education and media, variation is widespread, with many speakers familiar with or fluent in both their socio-geographical variety as well as the standard dialect used in the media.
Dialectal differences in Bengali manifest themselves in three forms: standardised dialect vs. regional dialect, literary language vs. colloquial language and lexical (vocabulary) variations. The name of the dialects generally originates from the district where the language is spoken.
While the standard form of the language does not show much variation across the Bengali-speaking areas of South Asia, regional variation in spoken Bengali constitutes a dialect continuum. Mostly speech varies across distances of just a few miles and takes distinct forms among the religious communities. Bengali Hindus tend to speak in Sanskritised Bengali (a remnant of the Sadhu bhasha), Bengali Muslims comparatively use more Perso-Arabic vocabulary and Bengali Christians converse in Christian Bengali when engaging in their own circles. Apart from the present dialects, there are a few more which have disappeared. For example, Sātagāiyã' (this is the name used in East Bengal for the dialect of South-western Rarh region). The present dialects of Bengali are listed below with an example sentence meaning:
Main article: Varendri dialect
This dialect is mainly spoken in the districts of North Bengal. . The dialects of the North do not have contrastive nasal vowels, tend to conserve h word medially, often go through l-n and n-l transitions, often in nouns, and are the only dialects where æ can be found word terminally.
These dialects are mostly spoken in and around the Bhagirathi River basin, in West Central Bengal. The standard form of the colloquial language (Choltibhasha) has developed out of the Nadia dialect.
Main article: Bangali dialect
Main article: Rangpuri Language
Main article: Manbhumi dialect
This dialect is spoken in the area which is known as Manbhum.
The latter two, along with Kharia Thar and Mal Paharia, are closely related to Western Bengali dialects, but are typically classified as separate languages. Similarly, Rajbangsi and Hajong are considered separate languages, although they are very similar to North Bengali dialects. There are many more minor dialects as well, including those spoken in the bordering districts of Purnea and Singhbhum and among the tribals of eastern Bangladesh like the Hajong and the Chakma.
This category is for dialects, mostly restricted to certain communities instead of a region, as well as closely related languages. Dobhashi was a highly Persianised dialect originating during the Bengal Sultanate period. The sadhu bhasha was a historical Sanskritised register of Bengali and Christian Bengali was a Europeanised dialect; both of which originated during the colonial period. Examples of heavily Sanskritised Bengali include the Jana Gana Mana.
There are marked dialectal differences between the speech of Bengalis living on the পশ্চিম Poshchim (western) side and পূর্ব Purbo (eastern) side of the Padma River.
Bengali dialects include Eastern and Southeastern Bengali dialects: The Eastern dialects serve as the primary colloquial language of the Dhaka district. In contrast to Western dialects where ট /ʈ/ and ড /ɖ/ are unvoiced and voiced retroflex stops respectively, most Eastern and Southeastern dialects pronounce them as apical alveolar /t̠/ and /d̠/, especially in less formal speech. These dialects also lack contrastive nasalised vowels or a distinction in র /r~ɾ/, ড়/ঢ় /ɽ/, pronouncing them mostly as /ɹ/, although some speakers may realise র /r~ɾ/ when occurring before a consonant or prosodic break. This is also true of the Sylheti dialect, which has a lot in common with the Kamrupi dialect of Assam in particular, and is sometimes considered a separate language. The Eastern dialects extend into Southeastern dialects, which include parts of Chittagong. The Chittagonian dialect has Tibeto-Burman influences.
In the dialects prevalent in much of eastern Bangladesh (Barisal, Chittagong, and Dhaka), many of the stops and affricates heard in Kolkata Bengali are pronounced as fricatives.
Poshchim Bengali (Western Bengali) Palato-alveolar or alveolo-palatal affricates চ [tɕɔ~tʃɔ], ছ [tɕʰɔ~tʃʰɔ], জ [dʑɔ~dʒɔ], and ঝ [dʑɔʱ~dʒɔʱ] correspond to Purbo Bengali (Eastern Bengali) চʻ [ts]~[tɕ], ছ় [s]~[tsʰ], জʻ [dz]~[z], and ঝ় [z]. A similar pronunciation is also found in Assamese, a related language across the border in India.
The aspirated velar stop খ [kʰ], the unvoiced aspirated labial stop ফ [pʰ] and the voiced aspirated labial stop ভ [bʰ] of Poshcim Bengali correspond to খ় [x~ʜ], ফ় [f~ɸ] and ভ [β~v] in many dialects of Purbo Bengali.
Many Purbo Bengali dialects share phonological features with Assamese, including the debuccalisation of শ [ʃ] to হ [h] or খ় [x].
The influence of Tibeto-Burman languages on the phonology of Purbo Bengali (Bangladesh) is seen through the lack of nasalised vowels, an alveolar articulation for the Retroflex stops ট [ʈ], ঠ [ʈʰ], ড [ɖ], and ঢ [ɖʱ], resembling the equivalent phonemes in languages such as Thai and Lao and the lack of distinction between র [ɹ] and ড়/ঢ় [ɽ]. Unlike most languages of the region, some Purbo Bengali dialects do not include the breathy voiced stops ঘ [ɡʱ], ঝ [dʑʱ], ঢ [ɖʱ], ধ [d̪ʱ], and ভ [bʱ]. Some variants of Bengali, particularly Chittagonian and Chakma Bengali, have contrastive tone; differences in the pitch of the speaker's voice can distinguish words. In dialects such as Hajong of northern Bangladesh, there is a distinction between উ and ঊ , the first corresponding exactly to its standard counterpart but the latter corresponding to the Japanese [ü͍] sound listen (help·info). There is also a distinction between ই and ঈ in many northern Bangladeshi dialects. ই representing the [ɪ] sound whereas ঈ represents an [i].
|English||Standard Bengali||Khulnaiya||Barishali||Old Dhakaiya||Faridpuri||Varendri||Mymensinghiya||Rarhi||Chittagonian||Sylheti||Rangpuri|
|will eat (first person)||khabo||khabani||khamuoni||khaimu/khamu||khaum||khaimõ/khamõ||khaimu/khami||khabo||haiyyum||xaimu/xamu||khaim/kham|
|will eat (first person)||kham||khaibi||khaimi||khai-yum|
We all know that there are 4 or 5 dialects of the Bengali language. These are, according to Professor Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Sukumar Sen - Rarhi, Barendra, Kamarupi, Banga and Jharkhandi as added by Dr. S. Sen.NB Barendra refers to Varendri