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By Thompson, Hanne-Ruth

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Sample text

Also around that time the Bengali script started to develop its own characteristic features, separating it from Devanagari. Both Devanagari and the Bangla script were designed and used primarily for writing Sanskrit. Following the 13th century invasion of Bengal (and other parts of India) by ­Muslim Turks whose court language was Persian, many Arabic and Persian words were absorbed into the speech of the people of Bengal, and Bengal as a region d ­ eveloped further in commercial importance. The Middle Bengali period is dated between the fifteenth and the eighteenth ­century.

From this mainly written and scholarly language, spoken or vernacular forms developed between 500 BC and 500 AD. While Sanskrit s�ṁ krtô ̇ put together, composed was described by Panini as correctly and perfectly formed in all its elements, roots and suffixes, these off-shoots are called Prakrits (prôkrti̇ = nature), indicating that they were closer to actual language. They are divided into three major branches Sauraseni, Magadhi and Maharashtri. Bangla, alongside Assamese, Oriya and Bhojpuri (Bihari) developed out of the Magadhi branch, also known as Eastern Indo-Aryan.

The inherent vowel, steps in. The Bangla script has eleven vowels, 39 consonants and a great number of conjunct letters. The symbols used in the chart below represent the transliteration used in this book. Alphabetical order of letters The arrangement of letters in the Bangla alphabet is remarkably systematic. The vowels come before the consonants. The consonants are arranged as follows: (1) plosives (stops) in the order (i) voiceless, unaspirated (ii) voiceless, aspirated (iii) voiced, unaspirated (iv) voiced, aspirated.

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