নোয়াখাইল্লা বাংলা
Noakhali Bengali[1]
Native toBangladesh & India
RegionGreater Noakhali, southern Tripura
DialectsChatkhil Variation[2]
Bengali alphabet
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Noakhailla (নোয়াখাইল্লা), Noakhali Bengali (নোয়াখালী বাংলা)[3][4] also known by the demonym Noakhalian,[5] is a dialect of Bengali, [6][7][8][9][10] spoken by an estimated 7 million people, primarily in the Greater Noakhali region of Bangladesh as well as southern parts of Tripura in India. Outside of these regions, there are substantial numbers of Noakhailla speakers in other parts of Bangladesh; as well as diaspora communities in the Middle East, Italy, Europe and the United States.

Noakhailla dialect has no presence in formal settings, neither in Bangladesh nor India, though its standardisation has been prospected.[11] There is a post-modernist demand of the Noakhali Division due to the old history, tradition and culture of Noakhali (currently a district of Chittagong Division) Bangladesh by Noakhailla activists.[12][13] The movement has gained disrepute and commonly been the subject of meme culture and trolling in Bangladesh.[14][15]


Noakhailla is eponymously named after Noakhali, referring to the dialect spoken of that area. It is in the transformed Vangiya form of the archaic Noakhaliya (নোয়াখালীয়া), where "-iya" is a suffix, commonly used in Bengali as a demonym, having gone through a linguistic process called Apinihiti (অপিনিহিতি), a form of epithesis, to become Noakhailla (নোয়াখাইল্লা). It may also be known in English as Noakhalian, a relatively recent term which has gained prominence as a locative demonym since at the least the Pakistan period.[5] "-an" is a suffix, commonly used in English to denote an action or an adjective that suggests pertaining to, thereby forming an agent noun.[16]


Main article: History of Noakhali

Noakhailla dialect belongs to the Eastern dialects of the Bengali language that evolved from the fusion of other dialects of that region.[17] Noakhali, the area which it is named after, emerged in the 13th century as a center of regional territorialism by the name of Bhulua. The kings of Bhulua patronised the Sanskrit language. The arrival of Muslims in Bhulua affected the local dialect to such a level that several Hindu rulers of Bhulua even took the Turkic title of Khan.[18] Muslim migration was extended following the Mughal conquest of Bhulua in which the local dialect became influenced by languages such as Arabic and Persian. The great lexical influence of Arabic among the Muslim people can still be found in Noakhailla today.[19]

Its strong folk tradition dates back several centuries. During colonial rule, Irish linguist George Abraham Grierson collected two Noakhailla folk poems; one from the island of Hatia, which is off the coast of the Noakhali mainland, and another from Ramganj, presently in Lakshmipur District.[20] The pure Portuguese merchants and Roman Catholic missionaries which settled in Noakhali also adopted the local language as late as the 1920s.[21]

In December 2019, a mass demonstration was organised by Noakhailla activists of all strata in Maijdee in response to a private television channel airing the Noakhali Bibhag Chai (We Want Noakhali Division) comical drama. They considered the drama to be an insult to the Noakhailla dialect, history and tradition of Noakhali district.[22]

Status and usage

Noakhailla has no formal recognition or use of the Noakhailla dialect in public, in courts, or in the legislature like the existent standard Bangla. The educated, elite, political and influential groups of Bangladesh bearing Noakhali homogeneity, or being intrinsically exposed to the socio-cultural phenomenon of Noakhali, usually prefer the standard form of Bangla for their wider communication. They keep this dialect as their private means of communication only with members of the homogenous community of Greater Noakhali.[11]

The usage of Noakhailla is now in decline as more and more Noakhailla families are opting to raise their children to speak in Standard Bengali due to it being the official medium in the country and the negative stereotypes relating to Noakhali held by other parts of Bengal.[23] It is often becoming the case that Generation Z urban Noakhaillas cannot speak in Noakhailla though it is commonly spoken by their grandparents in their homes.[24] In contrast to speakers of Chittagonian and Sylheti, it is reported that some speakers of Noakhailla sometimes feel a linguistic inferiority complex.[25] Sultana, Dovchin and Pennycook have also highlighted the stigmatisation of Noakhailla within Bangladeshi society.[26]


Grierson (1903) grouped the dialect of Noakhali under Southeastern Bengali dialects, alongside the dialects of Chittagong and Akyab. Chatterji (1926) places Noakhailla in the eastern Vanga group of dialects of Bengali and notes that all Bengali dialects were independent of each other and did not emanate from the historical literary register of Bengali called "sadhu bhasha".[27] Along with some Eastern dialects of Bengali, Noakhailla dialect has developed some phonetic and morphological characteristics that are not present in other western dialects of Bengali.[28] Linguist Dr. Muhammad Shahidullah placed this dialect under the Prachya branch as opposed to the Pashchatya branch of Bengali dialects. By referring to this classification, linguist Paresh Chandra Majumder(1992) placed Noakhailla dialect under the purbodeshi sub-category of Prachya (Vangiya) branch, the other branch being Pashchatya(Gourhi).[7] According to Dr.Muhammad Shahidullah, the Noakhali dialect is a result of the fusion of other Bengali dialects of that region. The fusion gave rise to this unique and distinct Bengali dialect.[29]

Geographical distribution

Noakhailla is the primary dialect of Greater Noakhali which today comprises the Bangladeshi districts of Noakhali, Feni and Lakshmipur, and some parts of the sub-district of Hajiganj. It is also spoken in the southern part of India's Tripura state, specifically in some parts of the Sipahijala, South Tripura and Gomati districts. In these three districts along with Standard Bengali, it serves as a lingua franca among the multiethnic communities of inhabitants residing there such as the Tripuri/Reang, the Chakma, the Mog/Marma in addition to the Noakhailla-Bengalis. Noakhailla is very much mutually intelligible with neighbouring Sandwipi dialect, which is spoken in Sandwip, an island in the Bay of Bengal.[11] Some have stated that in the dialect Continuum of Bengali, Noakhailla dialect is mutually unintelligible with the Dinajpur dialect (Northern dialect) due to the geographical distance between the two dialects.[30]

Before and after the Partition of India, Noakhailla speakers had migrated to West Bengal, Assam and Tripura also.[31][32] Outside of the subcontinent, the largest Noakhailla diaspora communities reside in Europe (most notably Italy) and North America. Significant Noakhailla-speaking communities reside in the Middle East of which most are migrant workers, and in many other countries throughout the world.[33][34]

Writing system

In Bengali language, regional nonstandard dialects are not used in official purposes. With Standard Bengali written in the Bengali script as the medium of instruction in Bangladesh,[35] some may therefore write in Noakhailla dialect using the Bengali script, however it is viewed as more formal to write in standard Bengali. The Sylheti Nagri script was historically used in Noakhali district and as well as other parts of today's Bangladesh and West Bengal until the latter part of the 20th century and that script was only used in puthis, written in the Sadhu and Dobhashi literary registers of Standard Bengali.[36][37]

Features and lexical comparison

Noakhailla is an Eastern Bengali dialect with a large amount of Persian and Hindustani vocabulary. The most notable feature differentiating it from Standard Bengali and other Indo-Aryan languages is that words using the p sound in the latter languages are pronounced as h in Noakhailla. An example is the Bengali word for water (pani) which is hãni in Noakhailla. Another notable characteristic is the presence of the /x/ sound (akin to خ in Arabic), which is not found in Standard Bengali.[28]

English Standard Bengali Noakhailla Notes
Boy/Son Chhele (ছেলে) hola/hut (হোলা/হুত)
Water Panī (পানি) hãni (হাঁনি)
Listen Shon (শোন)~Shun (শুন) hon (হোন)~hun (হুন)
What Ki (কী) kiya (কীয়া)
All Shôkôl (সকল), Bebak (বেবাক) beggun (বেগগুন) From bebak-gulin (বেবাক-গুলিন)
Chicken Murgi (মুরগি), kũkr̥a (কুঁকড়া) kur̥a (কুড়া) debuccalised from the earlier kũkr̥a (কুঁকড়া)
Papaya Pepe (পেঁপে) hãbia (হাঁবিয়া)
Calcutta Kolkata (কলকাতা) koilkatta (কইলকাত্তা)[38]
Big Bôṛo (বড়), Bôḍḍo (বড্ড) bôḍḍa (বড্ডা)[38]
Egg Ḍim (ডিম), bôyda (বয়দা) Bôyza (বয়জা) From Arabic: بيضة, romanizedbayḍah
Mischief shôytani (শয়তানী) Khônnashi (খন্নাশি)[39] From Arabic: خناس, romanizedkhannās
to Lie down Shuye poṛa (শুয়ে পড়া) hota (হোতা)
Friend Bôndhu (বন্ধু), dost(o) (দোস্ত), iyar (ইয়ার) bondu (বন্ধু), dost(o) (দোস্ত), eyar (এয়ার)
He phoned me She amake phon kôrechilô (সে আমাকে ফোন করেছিল) hẽte ãre hon kôirchilô (হেতে আঁরে হোন কইর্ছিলো)
Shall not allow to do Kôrte debô na (করতে দেব না) Kôirtam ditam nô (কইর্তাম দিতাম ন)[28]
I think it is 5 o'clock Amar mône hôy pãchṭa baje (আমার মনে হয় পাঁচটা বাজে) ãr mônôy hãsta baijje (আঁর মনয় হাঁচটা বাইজ্জে), ãtlai hãsṭaijjai (আঁতলাই হাঁচটাইজ্জাই)[25]


There are some differences of Noakhailla dialect in accent, spoken in different parts of the Greater Noakhali region. In the Linguistic Survey of India, conducted in the early 20th century, the Irish linguist George Abraham Grierson used the phrase a man had two sons to show dialectic diversity of Bengali language in Bengal region.[30]


Noakhailla grammar is the study of the morphology and syntax of Noakhailla dialect of South Eastern Bengali sub group of Bengali.[38]


Personal pronouns

Noakhailla personal pronouns are somewhat similar to English pronouns, having different words for first, second, and third person, and also for singular and plural (unlike for verbs, below). Noakhailla pronouns, like their English counterparts, do differentiate for gender. In addition, each of the second- and third-person pronouns have different forms for the familiar and polite forms; the second person also has a "very familiar" form (sometimes called "despective"). It may be noted that the "very familiar" form is used when addressing particularly close friends or family as well as for addressing subordinates, or in abusive language. In the following tables, the abbreviations used are as follows: VF=very familiar, F=familiar, and P=polite (honor); H=here, T=there, E=elsewhere (proximity), and I=inanimate.

The nominative case is used for pronouns that are the subject of the sentence, such as "I already did that" or "Will you please stop making that noise?"

Personal pronouns (nominative case)
Subject Honor Singular Plural
1 আঁই (Ãi, I) আমরা (amra, we)
2 VF তুই (tui, you) তোরা (tura, you)
F তুঁই (tũi, you) তোমরা (tomra, you)
P আম্নে/আন্নে (amne/anne, you) আম্নেরা/আন্নেরা (amnera/annera, you)
3 F হেতে (hete, he), হেতি (heti, she) হেতেরা (hetera, they m.), হেতিরা (hetira, they f.)
P হেতেন (heten, he), হেতিন (hetin, she) হেতেনরা (hetenra, they m.), হেতিনরা (hetinra, they f.)
I হেই/হিয়েন (hei/hiyen, it) হিগুন/হিগিন/হিগুলি/হিগাইন (higun/higin/higuli/higain, these)

The possessive case is used to show possession, such as "Where is your coat?" or "Let's go to our house". In addition, sentences such as "I have a book" (আঁর কিতাব আছে) or "I need money" (আঁর টিয়া দরকার) also use the possessive (the literal translation of the Standard Bengali versions of these sentences would be "There is my book" and "There is my need for money" respectively).

Personal pronouns (possessive case)
Subject Honor Singular Plural
1 আঁর (Ãr, my) আঙ্গো (ango, our)
2 VF তোর (tor, your) তোগো (togo, your)
F তোঁয়ার (tõar, your) তোঁগো (tõgo, your)
P আম্নের/আন্নের (amner/anner, your) আম্নেগো/আন্নেগো (amnego/annego, your)
3 F হেতের (heter, his), হেতির (hetir, her) হেতেগো (hetego, their m.), হেতিগো (hetigo, their f.)
P হেতেনের (hetener, his), হেতিনের (hetiner, her) হেতেনগো (hetengo, their m.), হেতিনগো (hetingo, their f.)
I হিয়ার/হিয়েনের (hiyar/hiyener, its) হিগুনের (higuner, of those)

Further reading



  1. ^ "Metrical Pattern of Noakhali Bangla" (PDF).
  2. ^ Rashel, Md. Mostafa (September 2011). "Phonological Analysis of Chatkhil Dialect in Noakhali District, Bangladesh". Theory and Practice in Language Studies. 1 (9): 1051–1061.
  3. ^ "Metrical Pattern of Noakhali Bangla" (PDF).
  4. ^ "The emergence of unmarked syllables in noakhali bangla".
  5. ^ a b Jilani, Shahzada Ghulam (1979). Fifteen Governors I Served with: Untold Story of East Pakistan. Bookmark. p. 31. OCLC 10119272.
  6. ^ Chakraborty, Uttam (2014). A prosodic study of the Noakhali dialect of Bangla and its implication for teaching and learning of English as a second language by the native speakers of the dialect. Shodhganga (Thesis). Tripura: Tripura University. hdl:10603/190533.
  7. ^ a b "Thoansh: A book on Noakhailla dialect". The Financial Express.
  8. ^ "Metrical Pattern of Noakhali Bangla" (PDF).
  9. ^ Shyamal Das. "Consonant Deletion Rules in the Noakhali dialect of Bangla: their lexical status and mode of application" Phases and Interfaces of Morphology CIEFL (EFL-U), Hyderabad, 1998.
  10. ^ "Bengali language and dialects in ethnologue".
  11. ^ a b c Sarwar, Fatina, Noakhali Dialect: Its Prospect of Standardization
  12. ^ "কুমিল্লা নয়, নোয়াখালী বিভাগ চাই" [Not Comilla, we want Noakhali Division]. (in Bengali). 1 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Noakhali Bibhag Bastobaon Committee on Monday holds a rally". Daily Sun. 10 November 2015.
  14. ^ "'নোয়াখালী বিভাগ চাই' নাটকের পরিচালকের বিরুদ্ধে ডিজিটাল আইনে মামলা" [Case under cyber-law against the director of the Noakhali Bibhag Chai drama]. Kaler Kantho (in Bengali). 31 December 2019.
  15. ^ "নোংরামিতে ভরা বইমেলার হে স্বাধীনতা বোর্ড" [Book fair's Oh Independence board vandalised with profanities]. Sarabangla (in Bengali). 30 March 2021.
  16. ^ Connors, Kathleen (May 1971). "Studies in feminine agentives in selected European languages". Romance Philology. 24 (4): 573–598. JSTOR 44941289.
  17. ^ Shahidullah (1979) Bengali language movement, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  18. ^ Webster, John Edward (1911). Eastern Bengal and Assam District Gazetteers: Noakhali. Allahabad: The Pioneer Press.
  19. ^ Muslehuddin, ATM (2012). "Arabic". In Sirajul Islam; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. OL 30677644M. Retrieved 3 April 2024.
  20. ^ Grierson (1903)
  21. ^ Bose, Buddhadeva. আমার ছেলেবেলা [My childhood] (in Bengali).
  22. ^ 'নোয়াখালী বিভাগ চাই' নাটকের পরিচালকের বিরুদ্ধে মামলা, বিক্ষোভ প্রদর্শন [Lawsuits and demonstration against the film director of "Noakhali Division Chai" drama]. Jugantor (in Bengali). 1 January 2020.
  23. ^ Rezwana, Zarin (28 September 2017). "The truth about Noakhaillas". The Daily Star.
  24. ^ Khan, Sameer ud Dowla (21 February 2021). "The diverse and continuing evolution of Bangla: Bangla's future". The Daily Star.
  25. ^ a b Ahmed, Fakhruddin (21 March 2014). "Who is a Bangladeshi?". The Daily Star.
  26. ^ Dovchin, Sender; Pennycook, Alastair; Sultana, Shaila (2017). Popular Culture, Voice and Linguistic Diversity: Young Adults On- and Offline. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 182. ISBN 978-3-319-61954-5.
  27. ^ "Dialects are independent of literary speech: as such East Bengali dialects, North Bengali dialects and West Bengali dialects are not only independent of one another, but also they are not, as it is popularly believed in Bengal, derived from literary Bengali, the "sadhu-bhasha", which is a composite speech on an early West Bengali basis."(Chatterji 1926:108)
  28. ^ a b c Chatterji 1926, p. 138.
  29. ^ Shahidullah (1979) Bengali language movement, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  30. ^ a b Khan, Sameer ud Dowla (21 February 2018). "Amago Bhasha". The Daily Star.
  31. ^ "In search of a new 'home'". The Daily Star. 27 May 2019.
  32. ^ Roy, Raikamal; Korwar, Sucheta (6 December 2014), Oral history with Anshu Sur
  33. ^ Knights, Melanie (1996). "Bangladeshi Immigrants in Italy: From Geopolitics to Micropolitics". Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 21 (1): 105–123. doi:10.2307/622928. JSTOR 622928. PMID 12157827. S2CID 46326438.
  34. ^ Kuri, Ranajit (2 December 2020). "3 Bangladeshis electrocuted in Oman". Dhaka Tribune. Noakhali.
  35. ^ Hamid, M. Obaidul; Erling, Elizabeth J. (2015). "English-in-Education Policy and Planning in Bangladesh: A Critical Examination". In Kirkpatrick, Robert (ed.). English Language Education Policy in Asia. Springer. p. 30. ISBN 978-3-319-22463-3. The dominant stream ... follows the national curriculum in which Bangla is the language of instruction. The second one is madrasa education ... Bangla is the medium of instruction in this stream ... The third is English-medium education
  36. ^ Sadiq, Mohammad (2008). Sileṭi nāgarī : phakiri dhārāra phasala সিলেটি নাগরী:ফকিরি ধারার ফসল (in Bengali). Asiatic Society of Bengal. OCLC 495614347.
  37. ^ Debsharma, Shree Padmanath (c. 1908) [original date 1315 B.S.]. সিলেট নাগরী [Sylhet Nagri]. Sahitya-Parishad-Patrika (4): 236.
  38. ^ a b c Haldar, Gopal (1929), A Brief Phonetic Sketch of the Noakhali Dialect of South Eastern Bengali, Kolkata: Calcutta University Press
  39. ^ Russel, Muhammad H (7 April 2014), আমরা যারা নোয়াখাইল্লা [We who are Noakhailla] (in Bengali)