|Please add Bengali script to this article, where needed.|
|Native to||Bangladesh (Sylhet region) and India (South Assam and Tripura)|
|11 million (2007)|
|Bengali script (present)
Sylheti Nagari (obsolete)
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
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.
In the 19th century, the British tea-planters in the area referred to the Sylheti language as Sylhettia. In Assam, the language is still referred to as Srihattiya, the name used in ancient literature. The Sylheti language was written in the Syloti Nagri script, which is not widely known. Sylhet has a rich heritage of literature in the Syloti Nagri Script, going back at least 200 years. 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. The writing system's main use was to record religious poetry, described as a rich language and easy to learn. 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. 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.
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.
Variation from Standard Bengali
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
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।
|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।
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|
|Khodom bosi||Touch the feet (A welcome/farewell ritual)|
|Ekh Mānūh/Ekh Mānūṣh||A person|
|Ekh Bēṭā||A man|
|Khior||Whereof (implying in no respect)|
|কন্যা; ঝি, ঝিয়ারী
Xonyā; Zi, Ziyārī
|Khonia; Zi, Ziarī||Daughter|
|Manṣhor Zat/Manhor Zat||Humankind|
|Anguil||Finger; Thumb, Toe|
|Osur; Osuro||Axur; Axura||Ahura; Ahuria||People of Assyria (Assyrian)|
|Phaikia||Faikia||Birds; Bird Species|
|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 (স)||Ciloṭia (ছ)||Siloṭia||People of Sylhet|
||Allaar Haola||Good luck (Sylheti: God's Authority)|
|Shu tripti; bhalo ruchi'
||Taza bhux; Bhalaṭike xawka'
||Taza bhukh; Bhalaṭike khawka||Bon appétit|
||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|
||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?|
||Xocailoe (ba leftin) xun xano?'
||Hosailoe ba liftin khun khano?||Where is the toilet?|
||Okṭa kita?||What is this?|
||Outa kita?||What are they?|
||xēshe||At the end|
- Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
- Grierson, G.A. 1903. Linguistic Survey of India, Vol. 5, Part I. Calcutta.
- James Lloyd-Williams & Sue Lloyd-Williams (Sylheti Translation and Research/STAR); Peter Constable (SIL International) Date: 2002-11-01
- Syloti Nagri alphabet
- Sylheti unicode chart
- Sylheti Literature
- Sylheti Literature
- Sylheti Alphabets
- Anne J. Kershen (2005). Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields, 1660–2000. Routledge. page. 147
- Anne J. Kershen (2005). Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields, 1660–2000. Routledge. pages. 148–150
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Sylheti phrasebook.|
Sylheti phrasebook travel guide from Wikivoyage