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Bangla / Bengali Language & Script Resources

Text Books & Tapes

Teach Yourself Bengali: A Complete Course for Beginners (book only)

Teach Yourself  Bengali (book + tapes)

By the eminent Bengali linguist William Radice of the School of Oriental and African Studies, London.   

Essential Everyday Bengali

This is the title of a new Bengali language text by Hanne-Ruth Thompson, published by Bangla Academy, Dhaka (344pp, March 1999). The first few sentences of the introduction won me over immediately:

"This is a guide to everyday, spoken, colloquial Bengali. There are two separate levels of language in Bengali. One is high or standard Bengali, the other is what people actually say. 

"The vocabulary given in this book is that of the second kind only. To demonstrate this: If you ask a Bengali speaker what pregnant means in Bengali he will probably tell you gorbhohoti; but when he talks with his wife he will undoubtedly say pete bacca (a baby in the womb). He may think that he is doing you a favor by giving you the proper Bengali word. 

"The only problem is that though most Bengali native speakers understand the word gorbhoboti nobody actually uses it in spoken language. . . . Foreigners who come to Bangladesh . . . need to communicate, but many Bangladeshis seem to think that their own everyday language is somehow not worthy of being put down in writing."

To order, email

Bengali Script for Learners

Learning Bengali is not inherently difficult if you have the right reference materials.  It's can also be helpful to have a Bengali font on your computer, that to the extent possible places the  Bangla letters at the key of the phonetically closest Latin alphabet equivalent.  

To this end,'s Bengali script resources file was prepared.  It includes the following: 

  • Bengali alphabet & how to type using Progaty font
  • Hints on using a Bengali dictionary
  • Bengali letter names
  • Progaty font
  • Progaty keyboard layout graphic (see below)

[Many thanks to Faisal Khan for making Progaty font available as a freeware tool.] 


  1. Download the file.  It's a 114kb self-executing zip, consisting of information files in MS-Word 6.0/95  format, the Windows TTF file for Progaty font, and a .gif file showing the Progaty keyboard map.
  2. Run the file, whereupon it automatically uncompresses itself into the directory you specify.  
  3. Install the Progaty font from Windows (Start/Settings/Control Panel/Fonts/File/Install New Fonts/).  
  4. View the help files in MS-Word.  Problems email

Bangla / Bengali on the Web