From a classificatory point of view, the Bengali writing system is an abugida, i.e. its vowel graphemes are mainly realised not as independent letters, but as diacritics modifying the vowel inherent in the base letter they are added to. The Bengali writing system is written from left to right and uses a single letter case, which makes it a unicameral script, as opposed to a bicameral one like the Latin script. It is recognisable, as are other Brahmic scripts, by a distinctive horizontal line known as a mātrā (মাত্রা) running along the tops of the letters that links them together. The Bengali writing system is less blocky, however, and presents a more sinuous shape than the Devanagari script.
The Bengali script can be divided into vowels and vowel diacritics, consonants and consonant conjuncts, diacritical and other symbols, digits and punctuation marks. Vowels and consonants are used as letters and also as diacritical marks.
The Bengali script has a total of 9 vowel graphemes, each of which is called a স্বরবর্ণswôrôbôrnô "vowel letter". The swôrôbôrnôs represent six of the seven main vowel sounds of Bengali, along with two vowel diphthongs. All of them are used in both Bengali and Assamese languages.
"অ" ô (স্বর অ shôrô ô, "vocalic ô") /ɔ/ sounds as the default inherent vowel for the entire Bengali script. Bengali, Assamese and Odia which are Eastern languages have this value for the inherent vowel, while other languages using Brahmic scripts have a for their inherent vowel.
Even though the near-open front unrounded vowel/æ/ is one of the seven main vowel sounds in the standard Bengali language, no distinct vowel symbol has been allotted for it in the script since there is no /æ/ sound in Sanskrit, the primary written language when the script was conceived. As a result, the sound is orthographically realised by multiple means in modern Bengali orthography, usually using some combination of "এ" e (স্বর এ shôrô e, "vocalic e") /e/, "অ", "আ" a (স্বর আ shôrô a) /a/ and the যফলাjôphôla (diacritic form of the consonant grapheme যjô).
There are two graphemes for the vowel sound [i] and two graphemes for the vowel sound [u]. The redundancy stems from the time when this script was used to write Sanskrit, a language that had short and long vowels: "ই" i (হ্রস্ব ই rôshshô i, "short i") /i/ and "ঈ" ī (দীর্ঘ ঈ dirghô ī, "long ī") /iː/, and "উ" u (হ্রস্ব উ rôshshô u) /u/ and "ঊ" ū (দীর্ঘ ঊ dirghô ū) /uː/. The letters are preserved in the Bengali script with their traditional names despite the fact that they are no longer pronounced differently in ordinary speech. These graphemes serve an etymological function, however, in preserving the original Sanskrit spelling in tôtsômô Bengali words (words borrowed from Sanskrit).
The grapheme called "ঋ" ṛ (or হ্রস্ব ঋ rôshshô ri, "short ri", as it used to be) does not really represent a vowel phoneme in Bengali but the consonant-vowel combination রি/ri/. Nevertheless, it is included in the vowel section of the inventory of the Bengali script. This inconsistency is also a remnant from Sanskrit, where the grapheme represents the vocalic equivalent of a retroflex approximant (possibly an r-colored vowel). Another grapheme called "ঌ" ḷ (or হ্রস্ব ঌ rôshshô li as it used to be) representing the vocalic equivalent of a dental approximant in Sanskrit but actually representing the consonant-vowel combination লি/li/ in Bengali instead of a vowel phoneme, was also included in the vowel section but unlike "ঋ", it was recently discarded from the inventory since its usage was extremely limited even in Sanskrit.
When a vowel sound occurs syllable-initially or when it follows another vowel, it is written using a distinct letter. When a vowel sound follows a consonant (or a consonant cluster), it is written with a diacritic which, depending on the vowel, can appear above, below, before or after the consonant. These vowel marks cannot appear without a consonant and are called কারkar.
An exception to the above system is the vowel /ɔ/, which has no vowel mark but is considered inherent in every consonant letter. To denote the absence of the inherent vowel [ɔ] following a consonant, a diacritic called the হসন্তhôsôntô (্) may be written underneath the consonant.
Although there are only two diphthongs in the inventory of the script: "ঐ" oi (স্বর ঐ shôrô oi, "vocalic oi") /oi/ and "ঔ" ou (স্বর ঔ shôrô ou) /ou/, the Bengali phonetic system has, in fact, many diphthongs.[nb 1] Most diphthongs are represented by juxtaposing the graphemes of their forming vowels, as in কেউkeu/keu/.
There also used to be two long vowels: "ৠ" ṝ (দীর্ঘ ৠ dirghô rri, "long rri") and "ৡ" ḹ (দীর্ঘ ৡ dirghô lli), which were removed from the inventory during the Vidyasagarian reform of the script due to peculiarity to Sanskrit.
The table below shows the vowels present in the modern (since the late nineteenth century) inventory of the Bengali alphabet:
^The natural pronunciation of the grapheme অ, whether in its independent (visible) form or in its "inherent" (invisible) form in a consonant grapheme, is /ɔ/. But its pronunciation changes to /o/ in the following contexts:
অ is in the first syllable and there is a ই /i/ or উ /u/ in the next syllable, as in অতি ôti "much" /ɔt̪i/, বলছি bôlchhi "(I am) speaking" /ˈboltʃʰi/
if the অ is the inherent vowel in a word-initial consonant cluster ending in rôphôla "rô ending" /r/, as in প্রথম prôthôm "first" /prɔt̪ʰɔm/
if the next consonant cluster contains a jôphôla "jô ending", as in অন্য ônyô "other" /onːo/, জন্য jônyô "for" /dʒɔnːɔ/
^/a/, represented by the letter আ, is phonetically realised as a near-open central vowel [ɐ] by most speakers.
^ abAlthough উ and ও represent the vowels /u/ and /o/ respectively, they may also represent the voiced labial–velar approximant /w/ which can occur as an allophone of /o/ and /u/ when preceding vowels word-initially, especially in loan words e.g. ওয়াদা[wada] 'promise', উইলিয়াম[wiliam] 'William'.
^Even though the near-open front unrounded vowel/æ/ is one of the seven main vowel sounds in the standard Bengali language, no distinct vowel symbol has been allotted for it in the script, though এ is used. /æ/ may also be transcribed in IPA and pronounced as an open-mid front unrounded vowel/ɛ/, which may also occur as an allophone of /e/, especially in English loan words.
^/ʊ/ is the original pronunciation of the vowel ও, though a secondary pronunciation /o/ entered the Bengali phonology by Sanskrit influence. In modern Bengali, both the ancient and adopted pronunciation of ও can be heard in spoken. Example: The word নোংরা (meaning "foul") is pronounced as /nʊŋra/ and /noŋra/ (Romanized as both nungra and nongra), both.
The consonant ক (kô) along with the diacritic form of the vowels আ, ই, ঈ, উ, ঊ, ঋ, এ, ঐ, ও and ঔ.
Consonant letters are called ব্যঞ্জনবর্ণbænjônbôrnô "consonant letter" in Bengali. The names of the letters are typically just the consonant sound plus the inherent vowel অô. Since the inherent vowel is assumed and not written, most letters' names look identical to the letter itself (the name of the letter ঘ is itself ghô, not gh).
Some letters that have lost their distinctive pronunciation in modern Bengali are called by more elaborate names. For example, since the consonant phoneme /n/ is written as both ন and ণ, the letters are not called simply nô; instead, they are called দন্ত্য নdôntyô nô ("dental nô") and মূর্ধন্য ণmurdhônyô nô ("retroflex nô"). What was once pronounced and written as a retroflex nasal ণ [ɳ] is now pronounced as an alveolar [n] (unless conjoined with another retroflex consonant such as ট, ঠ, ড and ঢ) although the spelling does not reflect the change.
Although still named murdhônyô when they are being taught, retroflex consonants do not exist in Bengali and are instead fronted to their postalveolar and alveolar equivalents.
The voiced palato-alveolar affricate phoneme /dʒ/ can be written in two ways, as য (অন্তঃস্থ য ôntôsthô jô) or জ (বর্গীয় জbôrgiyô jô). In many varieties of Bengali, [z, dz] are not distinct from this phoneme, but speakers who distinguish them may use the letters য and জ with contrast.
Post-reform, the letter য় was introduced to distinguish it from য [note]:
The semivowelয় yô /e̯ɔ/ cannot occur at the beginning of a word .[a] The name of য় is অন্তঃস্থ অôntôsthô ô ('semi-vowel y') [the y is silent in the pronunciation of its name]. The pronunciation of য় yô /e̯ɔ/ varies between ⟨w⟩ and ⟨j⟩ ['w' and 'y'].
The name of য is অন্তঃস্থ য ôntôsthô jô ('semi-vowel j'). It is found almost entirely at the beginning of words.
When present in the middle of words, in conjuncts, য is represented as a distinct letter: ্য (যফলা jôphôla) which is mostly silent or semi-silent (see below). Jôphôla may alter the pronunciation of the surrounding vowel or double the preceding consonant or be completely silent.
Since the nasalsঞñô/ẽɔ/ and ঙngô/ŋɔ/ cannot occur at the beginning of a word in Bengali, their names are not ñô and ngô respectively but উঙungô (pronounced by some as উমumô or উঁঅũô) and ইঞiñô (pronounced by some as নীয়niyô or ইঙingô) respectively.
There is a difference in the pronunciation of ড়ṛô (ড-এ শূন্য ড় ḍô-e shunyô ṛô, "ṛô (as) ḍô with a zero (the figure is used analogous to the ring below diacritic as the Bengali equivalent of the Devanagarinuqta, which is again analogous to the underdot)") and ঢ়ṛhô (ঢ-এ শূন্য ঢ় ḍhô-e shunyô ṛhô) with that of রrô (sometimes called ব-এ শূন্য র bô-e shunyô rô for distinguishing purpose) - similar to other Indic languages. This is especially true in the parlance of western and southern part of Bengal but lesser on the dialects of the eastern side of the Padma River. ড় and ঢ় were introduced to the inventory during the Vidyasagarian reform to indicate the retroflex flap in the pronunciation of ডḍô and ঢḍhô in the middle or end of a word. It is an allophonic development in some Indic languages not present in Sanskrit. Yet in ordinary speech these letters are pronounced the same as র in modern Bengali.
^Unlike Sanskrit and other Indic languages, Bengali words cannot begin with any semi-vocalic phoneme
^Though in modern Bengali the letters ক, খ, গ, ঘ, ঙ are actually velar consonants and the letter হ is actually a glottal consonant, texts still use the Sanskrit name "কন্ঠ্য" ("guttural").
^When used at the beginning or end of a word, হ is pronounced voiceless /hɔ/ but when used in the middle, it is sounded voiced as /ɦɔ/.
^Palatal letters phonetically represent palato-alveolar sounds but in Eastern dialects they mostly are depalatalised or depalatalised and deaffricated.
^Original sound for ঞ was /ɲɔ/ but in modern Bengali, it represents /ẽɔ/ and in consonant conjuncts is pronounced /nɔ/ same as ন.
^In Sanskrit, য represented voiced palatal approximant/j/. In Bengali, it developed two allophones: voiced palato-alveolar affricate /dʒɔ/ same as জ when used at the beginning of a word and the palatal approximant in other cases. When reforming the script, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar introduced য়, representing /e̯ɔ/, to indicate the palatal approximant in the pronunciation of য in the middle or end of a word. In modern Bengali, য represents /dʒɔ/ and the near-open front unrounded vowel /æ/ as the diacritic jôphôla. It falls into voiced alveolar sibilant affricate /dzɔ/ in Eastern dialects and is also used to represent voiced alveolar sibilant /zɔ/ for Perso-Arabic loanwords.
^ abcIn Bengali, there are three letters for sibilants: শ, ষ, স. Originally all three had distinctive sounds. In modern Bengali, the most common sibilant varies between /ʃ~ɕ/ – originally represented by শ, but today, স and ষ in words are often pronounced as /ɕ~ʃ/. The other sibilant in Bengali is /s/, originally represented by স, but today, শ and ষ, in words, can sometimes be pronounced as /s/. Another, now extinct, sibilant was /ʂ/, originally represented by ষ. ষ is mostly pronounced as /ɕ~ʃ/, but in conjunction with apical alveolar consonants, the /ʂ/ sound can sometimes be found.
^In modern text often the name দন্ত্যমূলীয় ("alveolar") or পশ্চাদ্দন্তমূলীয় ("postalveolar") is used to describe more precisely letters previously described as retroflex.
^The original sound for ণ was /ɳɔ/ but in modern Bengali it is almost always pronounced /nɔ/, the same as ন. An exception is in conjuncts with other retroflex letters, where the original sound for ণ can occasionally be found.
^The /r/ phoneme, represented by র, is pronounced either as a voiced alveolar flap [ɾ], voiced alveolar approximant [ɹ] or voiced alveolar trill [r]. Most speakers colloquially pronounce /r/ as a flap [ɾ], although the trill [r] may occur word-initially; with the flap [ɾ] occurring medially and finally. /r/ can also occur as an approximant [ɹ], especially in some Eastern dialects and sometimes in conjuncts before consonants.
The consonant ligature ndrô (ন্দ্র) : ন (nô) in green, দ (dô) in blue and র (rô) in maroon.
Clusters of up to four consonants can be orthographically represented as a typographic ligature called a consonant conjunct (Bengali: যুক্তাক্ষর/যুক্তবর্ণjuktakkhôr/juktôbôrnô or more specifically যুক্তব্যঞ্জন). Typically, the first consonant in the conjunct is shown above and/or to the left of the following consonants. Many consonants appear in an abbreviated or compressed form when serving as part of a conjunct. Others simply take exceptional forms in conjuncts, bearing little or no resemblance to the base character.
Often, consonant conjuncts are not actually pronounced as would be implied by the pronunciation of the individual components. For example, adding লlô underneath শshô in Bengali creates the conjunct শ্ল, which is not pronounced shlô but slô in Bengali. Many conjuncts represent Sanskrit sounds that were lost centuries before modern Bengali was ever spoken as in জ্ঞ. It is a combination of জ ǰô and ঞ ñô but it is not pronounced "ǰñô" or "jnô". Instead, it is pronounced ggô in modern Bengali. Thus, as conjuncts often represent (combinations of) sounds that cannot be easily understood from the components, the following descriptions are concerned only with the construction of the conjunct, and not the resulting pronunciation.
(Some graphemes may appear in a form other than the mentioned form due to the font used)
Some consonants are compressed (and often simplified) when appearing as the first member of a conjunct.
As the first member of a conjunct, the consonants ঙ ngô চ chô ড ḍô and ব bô are often compressed and placed at the top-left of the following consonant, with little or no change to the basic shape: ঙ্ক্ষ "ngkṣô" ঙ্খ ngkhô ঙ্ঘ ngghô ঙ্ম ngmô চ্চ chchô চ্ছ chchhô চ্ঞ "chnô" ড্ঢ ḍḍhô ব্ব bbô.
As the first member of a conjunct, ত tô is compressed and placed above the following consonant, with little or no change to the basic shape: ত্ন tnô ত্ম "tmô" ত্ব "tbô".
As the first member of a conjunct, ম mô is compressed and simplified to a curved shape. It is placed above or to the top-left of the following consonant: ম্ন mnô ম্প mpô ম্ফ mfô ম্ব mbô ম্ভ mbhô ম্ম mmô ম্ল mlô.
As the first member of a conjunct, ষ ṣô is compressed and simplified to an oval shape with a diagonal stroke through it. It is placed to the top-left of the following consonants: ষ্ক ṣkô ষ্ট ṣṭô ষ্ঠ ṣṭhô ষ্প ṣpô ষ্ফ ṣfô ষ্ম ṣmô.
As the first member of a conjunct, স sô is compressed and simplified to a ribbon shape. It is placed above or to the top-left of the following consonant: স্ক skô স্খ skhô স্ত stô স্থ sthô স্ন snô স্প spô স্ফ sfô স্ব "sbô" স্ম "smô" স্ল slô.
When serving as a vowel mark, উ u, ঊ u, and ঋ ri take on many exceptional forms.
When following গ gô or শ shô, it takes on a variant form resembling the final tail of ও o: গু gu শু shu.
When following a ত tô that is already part of a conjunct with প pô, ন nô or স sô, it is fused with the ত to resemble ও o: ন্তু ntu স্তু stu প্তু ptu.
When following র rô, and in many fonts also following the variant রফলা rôphôla, it appears as an upward curl to the right of the preceding consonant as opposed to a downward loop below: রু ru গ্রু gru ত্রু tru থ্রু thru দ্রু dru ধ্রু dhru ব্রু bru ভ্রু bhru শ্রু shru.
When following হ hô, it appears as an extra curl: হু hu.
When following র rô, and in many fonts also following the variant রফলা rôphôla, it appears as a downstroke to the right of the preceding consonant as opposed to a downward hook below: রূ rū গ্রূ grū থ্রূ thrū দ্রূ drū ধ্রূ dhrū ভ্রূ bhrū শ্রূ shrū.
When following হ hô, it takes the variant shape of ঊ u: হৃ hri.
Conjuncts of three consonants also exist, and follow the same rules as above: স sô + ত tô +র rô = স্ত্র strô, ম mô + প pô + র rô = ম্প্র mprô, জ ǰô + জ ǰô + ব bô = জ্জ্ব "ǰǰbô", ক্ষ "kṣô" + ম mô = ক্ষ্ম "kṣmô".
Theoretically, four-consonant conjuncts can also be created, as in র rô + স sô + ট ṭô + র rô = র্স্ট্র rsṭrô, but they are not found in native words.
Also theoretically, 5-letter conjucts can be created, as র rô + স sô + ট tô + র rô + ঁ = র্স্ট্রঁ (pronounced rsṭrô but nasalised: rsṭrôñ). Here ঁ is a diacritic which nasalises the previous vowel. A theoretical 6-letter conjunct would be র্স্ট্রাঁ (rsṭrañ/rsṭra), with the addition of a (আ) to র্স্ট্রঁ, and a theoretical 7-letter conjunct would be like র্স্ট্র্যাঁ (rsṭrya/rsṭryañ) with the addition of য to র্স্ট্রাঁ.
Diacritic. 1. Doubles the next consonant sound without the vowel (spelling feature) in দুঃখdukkhô, the k of খkhô was repeated before the whole খkhô 2. "h" sound at end, examples: এঃeh!, উঃuh! 3. Silent in spellings like অন্তঃনগরôntônôgôr meaning "Inter-city" 4. Also used as abbreviation, as in কিঃমিঃ (similar to "km" in English), for the word কিলোমিটার "kilometer", or ডাঃ (similar to "Dr" in English) for ডাক্তারdāktār "doctor"
Special character or sign. Used for prolonging vowel sounds Example1: শোনঽঽঽshônôôôô meaning "listennnn..." (listen), this is where the default inherited vowel sound ô in নnô is prolonged. Example2: কিঽঽঽ?kiiii? meaning "Whatttt...?" (What?), this is where the vowel sound i which is attached with the consonant কkô is prolonged.
Diacritic. Used with two types of pronunciation in modern Bengali depending on the location of the consonant it is used with within a syllable Example 1 - When the consonant it is used with is syllable-initial, it acts as the vowel /æ/: ত্যাগ is pronounced /t̪æg/ Example 2 - When the consonant it is used with is syllable-final, it doubles the consonant: মুখ্য is pronounced /mukʰːɔ/ Notably used in transliterating English words with /æ/ sounding vowels, e.g. ব্ল্যাক "black" and sometimes as a diacritic to indicate non-Bengali vowels of various kinds in transliterated foreign words, e.g. the schwa indicated by a jôphôla, the French u, and the German umlaut ü as উ্য uyô, the German umlaut ö as ও্য oyô or এ্য eyô
ê / yô
/æ/ or /ː/
Diacritic. [r] pronounced following a consonant phoneme.
Diacritic. [r] pronounced preceding a consonant phoneme.
Diacritic. Used in spellings only if they were adopted from Sanskrit and has two different pronunciations depending on the location of the consonant it is used with Example 1 - When the consonant it is used with is syllable-initial, it remains silent: স্বাধীন is pronounced as /ʃad̪ʱin/ rather than /ʃbad̪ʱin/ Example 2 - When the consonant it is used with is syllable-final, it doubles the consonant: বিদ্বান is pronounced /bid̪ːan/ and বিশ্ব is pronounced /biʃːɔ/ However, certain Sanskrit sandhis (phonetic fusions) such as 'ঋগ্বেদ', 'দিগ্বিজয়', 'উদ্বেগ', 'উদ্বৃত্ত' are pronounced /rigbed̪/, /d̪igbidʒɔe̯/, /ud̪beg/, /ud̪brittɔ/ respectively while usage with the consonant হ defies phonological rules: 'আহ্বান' and 'জিহ্বা' are properly pronounced /aobɦan/ and /dʒiobɦa/ rather than /aɦban/ and /dʒiɦba/, respectively. Also used in transliterating Islam-related Arabic words Note: Not all instances of ব bô used as the last member of a conjunct are bôphôla, for example, in the words অম্বরômbôr, লম্বাlômba, তিব্বতtibbôt, বাল্বbalb, etc.
Sign. Represents the name of a deity or also written before the name of a deceased person
আঞ্জী/সিদ্ধিরস্তু anji /siddhirôstu
Sign. Used at the beginning of texts as an invocation
^ৎ (khôndô tô "part-tô") is always used syllable-finally and always pronounced as /t̪/. It is predominantly found in loan words from Sanskrit such as ভবিষ্যৎ bhôbishyôt "future", সত্যজিৎ sôtyôjit (a proper name), etc. It is also found in some onomatopoeic words (such as থপাৎ thôpat "sound of something heavy that fell", মড়াৎ môrat "sound of something breaking", etc.), as the first member of some consonant conjuncts (such as ৎস tsô, ৎপ tpô, ৎক tkô, etc.), and in some foreign loanwords (e.g. নাৎসি natsi "Nazi", জুজুৎসু jujutsu "Jujutsu", ৎসুনামি tsunami "Tsunami", etc.) which contain the same conjuncts. It is an overproduction inconsistency, as the sound /t̪/ is realised by both ত and ৎ. This creates confusion among inexperienced writers of Bengali. There is no simple way of telling which symbol should be used. Usually, the contexts where ৎ is used need to be memorised, as they are less frequent. In the native Bengali words, syllable-final ত tô/t̪ɔ/ is pronounced /t̪/, as in নাতনি /nat̪ni/ "grand-daughter", করাত /kɔrat̪/ "saw", etc.
^ abঃ-h and ং-ng are also often used as abbreviation marks in Bengali, with ং-ng used when the next sound following the abbreviation would be a nasal sound, and ঃ-h otherwise. For example, ডঃ dôh stands for ডক্টর dôktôr "doctor" and নং nông stands for নম্বর nômbôr "number". Some abbreviations have no marking at all, as in ঢাবি dhabi for ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় Dhaka Bishbôbidyalôy "University of Dhaka". The full stop can also be used when writing out English letters as initials, such as ই.ইউ. i.iu "EU".
Numbers larger than 9 are written in Bengali using a positional base 10 numeral system (the decimal system). A period or dot is used to denote the decimal separator, which separates the integral and the fractional parts of a decimal number. When writing large numbers with many digits, commas are used as delimiters to group digits, indicating the thousand (হাজার hazar), the hundred thousand or lakh (লাখ lakh or লক্ষ lôkkhô), and the ten million or hundred lakh or crore (কোটি koti) units. In other words, leftwards from the decimal separator, the first grouping consists of three digits, and the subsequent groupings always consist of two digits.
For example, the English number 17,557,345 will be written in traditional Bengali as ১,৭৫,৫৭,৩৪৫.
Bengali punctuation marks, apart from the downstroke দাড়ি dari (।), the Bengali equivalent of a full stop, have been adopted from western scripts and their usage is similar: Commas, semicolons, colons, quotation marks, etc. are the same as in English. Capital letters are absent in the Bengali script so proper names are unmarked. An apostrophe, known in Bengali as ঊর্ধ্বকমা urdhbôkôma "upper comma", is sometimes used to distinguish between homographs, as in পাটা pata "plank" and পাʼটা pa'ta "the leg". Sometimes, a hyphen is used for the same purpose (as in পা-টা, an alternative of পাʼটা).
An example of handwritten Bengali script. Part of a poem written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1926 in Hungary.
Bengali text is written and read horizontally, from left to right. The consonant graphemes and the full form of vowel graphemes fit into an imaginary rectangle of uniform size (uniform width and height). The size of a consonant conjunct, regardless of its complexity, is deliberately maintained the same as that of a single consonant grapheme, so that diacritic vowel forms can be attached to it without any distortion. In a typical Bengali text, orthographic words, words as they are written, can be seen as being separated from each other by an even spacing. Graphemes within a word are also evenly spaced, but that spacing is much narrower than the spacing between words.
Unlike in western scripts (Latin, Cyrillic, etc.) for which the letter-forms stand on an invisible baseline, the Bengali letter-forms instead hang from a visible horizontal left-to-right headstroke called মাত্রা matra. The presence and absence of this matra can be important. For example, the letter ত tô and the numeral ৩ "3" are distinguishable only by the presence or absence of the matra, as is the case between the consonant cluster ত্র trô and the independent vowel এ e. The letter-forms also employ the concepts of letter-width and letter-height (the vertical space between the visible matra and an invisible baseline).
According to Bengali linguist Munier Chowdhury, there are about nine graphemes that are the most frequent in Bengali texts, shown with its percentage of appearance in the adjacent table.
Comparison of Bengali script with ancestral and related scripts
In the script, clusters of consonants are represented by different and sometimes quite irregular forms; thus, learning to read is complicated by the sheer size of the full set of letters and letter combinations, numbering about 350. While efforts at standardising the alphabet for the Bengali language continue in such notable centres as the Bangla Academy at Dhaka (Bangladesh) and the Pôshchimbônggô Bangla Akademi at Kolkata (West Bengal, India), it is still not quite uniform yet, as many people continue to use various archaic forms of letters, resulting in concurrent forms for the same sounds.
Romanization of Bengali is the representation of the Bengali language in the Latin script. There are various ways of Romanization systems of Bengali, created in recent years but failed to represent the true Bengali phonetic sound. While different standards for romanisation have been proposed for Bengali, they have not been adopted with the degree of uniformity seen in languages such as Japanese or Sanskrit.[nb 2] The Bengali alphabet has often been included with the group of Brahmic scripts for romanisation in which the true phonetic value of Bengali is never represented. Some of them are the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration or "IAST system" "Indian languages Transliteration" or ITRANS (uses upper case alphabets suited for ASCII keyboards), and the extension of IAST intended for non-Sanskrit languages of the Indian region called the National Library at Kolkata romanisation.
All human free-manner-in equal dignity and right taken birth-take do. Their reason and intelligence exist; therefore everyone-indeed one another's towards brotherhood-ly attitude taken conduct do should.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience. Therefore, they should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
^Different Bengali linguists give different numbers of Bengali diphthongs in their works depending on methodology, e.g. 25 (Chatterji 1939: 40), 31 (Hai 1964), 45 (Ashraf and Ashraf 1966: 49), 28 (Kostic and Das 1972:6–7) and 17 (Sarkar 1987).
^In Japanese, there is some debate as to whether to accent certain distinctions, such as Tōhoku vs Tohoku. Sanskrit is well-standardized because the speaking community is relatively small, and sound change is not a large concern.
^Daniels, Peter T. (2008). "Writing systems of major and minor languages". In Kachru, Braj B.; Kachru, Yamuna; Sridhar, S. N. (eds.). Languages in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 285–308. ISBN978-0-521-78141-1.
^Mazumdar, Bijaychandra (2000). The history of the Bengali language (Repr. [d. Ausg.] Calcutta, 1920. ed.). New Delhi: Asian Educational Services. p. 57. ISBN8120614526. yet it is to be noted as a fact, that the cerebral letters are not so much cerebral as they are dental in our speech. If we carefully notice our pronunciation of the letters of the 'ট' class we will see that we articulate 'ট' and 'ড,' for example, almost like English T and D without turning up the tip of the tongue much away from the region of the teeth.