Teach Yourself Bengali - 2 Audio CDs and Book
Brand New (still shrink wrapped) 2 CDs and Book
*learn how to speak, understand and write Bengali
TEACH YOURSELF BENGALI is a complete course in spoken and written Bengali. If you have never learnt Bengali before, or if your Bengali needs brushing up, this is the course you need.
*progress quickly beyond the basics
*explore the language in depth
William Radice has created a practical course that is both fun and easy to work through. He explains everything along the way and gives you plenty of opportunities to practise what you have learnt. The course structure means that you can work at your own pace, arranging your learning to suit your needs.
The course contains:
- A range of graded units of dialogues, culture notes, grammar and exercises
- A step-by-step guide to pronunciation
- Bengali-English and English-Bengali vocabularies
- An introduction to Bengali script
By the end of the course you'll be able to cope with a whole range of situations and use the language confidently.
The sounds and script are introduced step by step in the first part of the book there are plenty of exercises in every unit contains a section on Bengali literature the second part of the book contains realistic dialogues and grammar explanations to enable you to communicate in everyday situations allows you to progress quickly beyond the basics and gain a thorough understanding of the Bengali language
Table of Contents:
Part One: Sounds and script
Review of part one
Part Two: Conversation and grammar
Finding out about someone
Talking to a rickshawallah
Buying fruit and vegetables
Finding out about schools
Arranging a visit
Health and diet
Meeting an artist
Talking to a child
Conversation on a train
Meeting a writer
Review of Part Two
Part Three: Literature
The tailor-bird and the cat
Tagore in England
The Bangladesh War
The coming of the monsoon
Review of Part Three
Key to the exercises
About the Author(s):
William Radice is Senior Lecturer in Bengali at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has pursued a double career as a poet and as a scholar and translator of Bengali, and has written or edited more than twenty-five books. He has given numerous lectures and poetry readings in Britain and overseas, and has been awarded literary prizes in India and Bangladesh. For the last three years he has written a fortnightly column for the Statesman newspaper in India, and has been a regular contributor to BBC Radio 2’s early morning 'Pause for Thought'.
About the Language
Bengali or Bangla is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages.
Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal and Assam mostly in the districts of Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi, Dhubri, Goalpara and Naogaon. With nearly 230 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most spoken languages (ranking fifth or sixth in the world). Bengali is the primary language spoken in Bangladesh and is the second most spoken language in India. Along with Assamese, it is geographically the most eastern of the Indo-Iranian languages.
With its long and rich literary tradition, Bengali serves to bind together a culturally diverse region. In 1952, when Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan, this strong sense of identity led to the Bengali Language Movement, in which several people braved bullets and died on February 21. This day has now been declared as the International Mother Language Day.
Like other Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, Bengali arose from the eastern Middle Indic languages of the Indian subcontinent. Magadhi Prakrit and Maithili, the earliest recorded spoken language in the region and the language of the Buddha, had evolved into Ardhamagadhi ("Half Magadhi") in the early part of the first millennium CE. Ardhamagadhi, as with all of the Prakrits of North India, began to give way to what are called Apabhramsa languages just before the turn of the first millennium. The local Apabhramsa language of the eastern subcontinent, Purvi Apabhramsa or Apabhramsa Abahatta, eventually evolved into regional dialects, which in turn formed three groups: the Bihari languages, the Oriya languages, and the Bengali-Assamese languages. Some argue for much earlier points of divergence—going back to even 500 but the language was not static; different varieties coexisted and authors often wrote in multiple dialects. For example, Magadhi Prakrit is believed to have evolved into Apabhramsa Abahatta around the 6th century which competed with Bengali for a period of time.]
Usually three periods are identified in the history of Bengali:
1. Old Bengali (900/1000–1400)—texts include Charyapada, devotional songs; emergence of pronouns Ami, tumi, etc; verb inflections -ila, -iba, etc. Oriya and Assamese branch out in this period.
2. Middle Bengali (1400–1800)—major texts of the period include Chandidas's Srikrishnakirtan; elision of word-final o sound; spread of compound verbs; Persian influence. Some scholars further divide this period into early and late middle periods.
3. New Bengali (since 1800)—shortening of verbs and pronouns, among other changes.
Historically closer to Pali, Bengali saw an increase in Sanskrit influence during the Middle Bengali (Chaitanya era), and also during the Bengal Renaissance. Of the modern Indo-European languages in South Asia, Bengali and Marathi maintain a largely Sanskrit vocabulary base while Hindi and others such as Punjabi are more influenced by Arabic and Persian.
Until the 18th century, there was no attempt to document the grammar for Bengali. The first written Bengali dictionary/grammar, Vocabolario em idioma Bengalla, e Portuguez dividido em duas partes, was written by the Portuguese missionary Manoel da Assumpcam between 1734 and 1742 while he was serving in Bhawal. Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, a British grammarian, wrote a modern Bengali grammar (A Grammar of the Bengal Language (1778)) that used Bengali types in print for the first time. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the great Bengali reformer, also wrote a "Grammar of the Bengali Language" (1832).
During this period, the Choltibhasha form, using simplified inflections and other changes, was emerging from Shadhubhasha (older form) as the form of choice for written Bengali.
Bengali was the focus, in 1951–52, of the Bengali Language Movement (Bhasha Andolon) in what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Although Bengali language was spoken by majority of Pakistan's population, Urdu was legislated as the sole national language. On February 21, 1952, protesting students and activists were fired upon by military and police in Dhaka University and three young students and several other people were killed. Later in 1999, UNESCO decided to celebrate every 21 February as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the deaths of the three students. In a separate event in May 1961, police in Silchar, India, killed eleven people who were protesting legislation that mandated the use of the Assamese language.
Bengali is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal and many parts of Assam. Around 98% of the total population of Bangladesh speak Bengali as a native language. There are also significant Bengali-speaking communities in the Middle East, Europe, North America and South-East Asia.