Sylheti language

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Sylheti
ছিলটী Silôṭi
Native to Bangladesh (Sylhet region) and India (South Assam and Tripura)
Native speakers
11 million  (2007)[1]
Bengali script (present)
Sylheti Nagari (obsolete)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 syl
Linguasphere 59-AAF-ui
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Sylheti or Syloti (ছিলটী silôti/সিলেটী Sileti) is an often regarded Bengali dialect primarily spoken in the Sylhet region of north east Bangladesh and Barak Valley region of south Assam. It has commonly been regarded as a Bengali dialect or similar language to Standard Bengali, with which it shares a high proportion of vocabulary (Spratt and Spratt (1987) report 70% shared vocabulary, while Chalmers (1996) reports at least 80%).

Name of the language[edit]

Sylheti is now the commonest English spelling of the language name after the accepted British spelling of the Sylhet District, while the usual transliteration of the Standard Bengali spelling of the name is Sileti.

History[edit]

In the 19th century, the British tea-planters in the area referred to the Sylheti language as Sylhettia.[2] In Assam, the language is still referred to as Srihattiya, the name used in ancient literature.[3] The Sylheti language was written in the Syloti Nagri script, which is not widely known.[4][5] Sylhet has a rich heritage of literature in the Syloti Nagri Script, going back at least 200 years.[6] The script includes 5 independent vowels, 5 dependent vowels attached to a consonant letter and 27 consonants. The Syloti Nagri alphasyllabary differs from the Bengali alphabets as it is a form of Kaithi, a script (or family of scripts) which belongs to the main group of North Indian scripts of Bihar.[6] The writing system's main use was to record religious poetry, described as a rich language and easy to learn.[7] In the 1860s, a Sylheti by the name of Moulvi Abdul Karim spent several years in Europe and learnt the printing trade. After returning home, he designed a woodblock type for the Syloti Nagri alphabet and founded the Islamia Press in Sylhet Town in about 1870. Other Sylheti presses were established in Sunamganj, Shillong and Calcutta. These presses fell out of use during the early 1970s. Since then the Syloti-Nagri alphabet has been used mainly by linguists and academics.[8] During the 1971 Liberation War, when all Syloti Nagri printing presses were destroyed, the writing system came to a halt. After Bangladesh gained independence, the government of the newly formed Bangladesh mandated Bangla studies and the use of the Bengali alphabets as a curriculum to be taught at all levels of education. Efforts to establish Sylheti as a modern language were vigorously opposed by political and cultural forces allied to successive Bangladeshi governments.[9]

Campaigns started to rise in London during the mid-1970s to mid-1980s to recognise Sylheti as a language on its own right. During the mid-1970s, when the first mother-tongue classes were established for Bangladeshis by a non-Sylheti, Nurul Islam, the classes were given in Bengali rather than the Sylheti dialect which triggered the campaign. During the 1980s, a recognition campaign for Sylheti took place in the area of Spitalfields, East End of London. One of the main organisation was the Bangladeshis' Educational Needs in Tower Hamlets (BENTH). However this organisation collapesed in 1985 and ended the pro-Sylheti campaign in the borough. Nonetheless Sylheti remained dominant and the domestic language within the hamlet. This fact is being recognised by Tower Hamlets Council in the provision of local services in the community.[10]

Variation from Standard Bengali[edit]

Phrase look[edit]

A phrase in Syloti: এক দেশর গালি আরক দেশর বুলি ex dēxôr gāli ārôx dēxôr būli and in Standard Bengali: এক দেশের গালি আরেক দেশের বুলি ek dēshēr gāli ārēk dēshēr būli, means "a phrase in one language mislead a phrase to another language". For example:

মেঘ megh in Standard Bengali means cloud

  • মেঘ megh in Syloti means rain
  • In Pali মেঘ megh means both rain and cloud.
  • In Syloti cloud is called বাদল bādôl or আছমানী সাজ āsmānī xāz (decor of the sky).
  • In Standard Bengali বাদল badôl and বৃষ্টি brishti means Rain.

নাড়া naṛa in Standard Bengali means to stir or to move

  • নারা nara in Syloti means to cheer slogan

Sentence look[edit]

Below, are the grammar similarities and differences between Syloti and Standard Bengali:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Translated in Bengali.
সমস্ত মানুষ স্বাধীনভাবে সমান মর্যাদা এবং অধিকার নিয়ে জন্মগ্রহণ করে। তাঁদের বিবেক এবং বুদ্ধি আছে; সুতরাং সকলেরই একে অপরের প্রতি ভ্রাতৃত্বসুলভ মনোভাব নিয়ে আচরণ করা উচিত।
  • Bengali romanization:
    Sômôstô manush sbadhinbhabe sôman môrjada ebông ôdhikar niye jônmôgrôhôn kôre. Tãder bibek ebông buddhi achhe; sutôrang sôkôleri êke ôpôrer prôti bhratritbôsulôbh mônobhab niye achôrôn kôra uchit.
  • Bengali word-to-word gloss:
    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.
Translated in Sylheti
সকল মান্ষর জন্ম হয় আজাদ আর ইজ্জত ও অধিকার লইয়া। তারার হুশ আর জ্ঞাণ-বুদ্ধি তাকায় যানু এক-জন আরক-জনর লগে রুহানি ভাইট্টা ব্যবহার তাকে।
  • Sylheti romanization:
    Xôxôl mainshôr zônmô ħœ azad ar izzôt o ôdikhar lôiæa. Tarar hush ar ggan-buddhi taxæ zanu êx zôn arôx zônôr lôge ruhani bhaitta bêbôhar taxe.
  • Sylheti word-to-word gloss:
    All humans' born is free and dignity plus rights with. Their conscious and judgement-intelligence have ensure a person another person's with spiritual brotherhood conduct stay.

Phonology[edit]

Syloti is distinguished by a wide range of fricative sounds, which correspond to aspirated stops in closely related languages such as Bengali; a lack of the breathy voiced stops; word-final stress; and a relatively large set of loanwords from Arabic, Persian, Bengali and Assamese. Syloti has affected the course of standard Bengali in the rest of the state.

A notable characteristic of spoken Sylheti is the correspondence of the /x/, pronounced between [k] and [h] from [x] like the "ch" in Scottish "Loch" or the "j" in Latin American Spanish "Jalapeño", to the [ʃ], or "sh", of Bengali, e.g.

Standard Bengali Syloti Pronunciation Meaning in English
চরণ স্পর্শ
Coroṇ sporsho
কদম বচি
Xodom boci
Khodom bosi Touch the feet (A welcome/farewell ritual)
ঢাকা
Dhākā
ঢাকা
Dhāxā
Ḍākhā Dhaka City
এক লোক
Ek Lōk
এক মানুষ
Ex Mānūx
Ekh Mānūh/Ekh Mānūṣh A person
একজন কেহ
Ekjon Kēho
একজন কেহ
Exzon Xeh
Ekhzon Khē Someone
এক পুরুষ
Ek Pūrūṣh
এক বেটা
Ex Bēṭa
Ekh Bēṭā A man
কিসের
Kiser
কিসর
Xixor
Khior Whereof (implying in no respect)
কন্যা; মেয়ে
Konya; meye
কন্যা; ঝি, ঝিয়ারী
Xonyā; Zi, Ziyārī
Khonia; Zi, Ziarī Daughter
মানবজাতি
Mānobjāti
মানষর জাত
Mānxor Zat
Manṣhor Zat/Manhor Zat Humankind
অসম
Osom
আসাম; আসম
Āxām; Āxom
Asham/Ahom Assam
অঙ্গুলি; অঙ্গুল
Ōṅgūli; Ōṅgūl
আঙুল
Āṅgūil
Anguil Finger; Thumb, Toe
অঙ্গুরি
Ōṅgūri
আঙটি
Āṅgṭi
'Angti' Finger-ring
অগ্নিপক্ব
Õgnipokbo
আগুনপুড়া
Āgūnphūṛā
Agunfura Baked; grilled
অসিধারী
Ōsidharī
Āxaidharī Ahaidari Swordsman
Osur; Osuro Axur; Axura Ahura; Ahuria People of Assyria (Assyrian)
পাখিরা
Pakira
Phaikia Faikia Birds; Bird Species
পাখি
Pakhi
পাখি
Phaxi
Faki A bird
প্রীতি
Prīti
পিরিত
Phiriti
Firiti Love
পর
Por
বাদে
Bade
Bade Then; After
Sokol; somosto Xoxol/Hokol/Hoxol Hokhol All
Sara (kon) Xara (buil) Hara (buil) Every (time)
Shāto Beel Hat Bila Hat Bila Seven wetlands
Shāt Kora Xat Xora Hat Khora Citrus macroptera fruit
Shāt bar Xat-bar Hat-bar Seven-times (Sylheti term for lots of time)
Sileṭī () Ciloṭia () Siloṭia People of Sylhet
Su bhagyo'
Allahr Hāola'
Allaar Haola Good luck (Sylheti: God's Authority)
Shu tripti; bhalo ruchi'
Taza bhux; Bhalaṭike xawka'
Taza bhukh; Bhalaṭike khawka Bon appétit
Strī'
Bow'
Bow Wife
Shamī'
Zamai; beṭa'
Zamai; beṭa Husband
Shoshur'
Xoxur'
Hohur Father-in-law
Shashuṛī'
Xoṛi'
Hoṛi Mother-in-law
Shala'
Xala'
Hala Brother-in-law
Shalī'
Xali'
Hali Sister-in-law
Shikśa kora'
Xixia newa'
Hikia newa Learn
Shoriṣha'
Xoirox'
Hoiroh Mustard
Shīẏal'
Xial'
Hial Jackal
Shuṭki'
Xuṭki; xukṭi'
Huṭki: hukṭi Sundried Fish
Apnar nam ki?'
Afnar nam kita?'
Afnar nam Kita? What's your name?
Daktar asar purbe rugi mara gelo'
Daxtor awar ageu bemari mori gese'
Dakhtor awar ageu bemari mori gese Before the doctor came, the patient had died
Bohu din dekhi ni'
Oto buile na dexlam'
Oto buile na dekhlam Long time no see
Bhalo Achhen?'
Bala acoen ni?'
Bala asoin ni? How are you?
Mangshor torokariṭa ami onek bhalopeyechi'
Ami ghustor salon bhalafaici'
Ami gustor salon balafaisi I loved the meat curry
Mangshor torokariṭa amar bhalō legeche'
Ghustor salonṭa amar bhala lagce'
Gustor salonṭa amar bala lagse I liked the meat curry
Shilchor kon dike pore?'
Xilcor xun baidi phorce?'
Hilsor khun baidi forse? Which way to Silchar?
Shōwchagar kōthay?'
Xocailoe (ba leftin) xun xano?'
Hosailoe ba liftin khun khano? Where is the toilet?
Eiṭa ki?'
Oxṭa xita?'
Okṭa kita? What is this?
Oṭa ki?'
Outa xita?'
Outa kita? What are they?
"Sheshe"'
hēshē'
xēshe At the end

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ Grierson, G.A. 1903. Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. 5, Part I. Calcutta.
  3. ^ James Lloyd-Williams & Sue Lloyd-Williams (Sylheti Translation and Research/STAR); Peter Constable (SIL International) Date: 2002-11-01
  4. ^ Syloti Nagri alphabet
  5. ^ Sylheti unicode chart
  6. ^ a b Sylheti Literature
  7. ^ Sylheti Literature
  8. ^ Sylheti Alphabets
  9. ^ Anne J. Kershen (2005). Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields, 1660–2000. Routledge. page. 147
  10. ^ Anne J. Kershen (2005). Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields, 1660–2000. Routledge. pages. 148–150

External links[edit]

Sylheti phrasebook travel guide from Wikivoyage