Bengali vocabulary

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Bengali (বাংলা Bangla) is one of the Magadhan languages, evolved from Magadhi Prakrit and Pali languages native to the Indian subcontinent.[1] The core of Bengali vocabulary is thus etymologically of Magadhi Prakrit and Pali languages. However, centuries of major borrowing and reborrowing from Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Sanskrit, Austroasiatic languages and other languages has led to the adoption of a wide range of words with foreign origins. Thus making the origins of borrowed and re-borrowed words in the Bengali vocabulary numerous and diverse, due to centuries of contact with various languages.[2]

Classifications of origin types[edit]

Sources of modern literary Bengali words
  তদ্ভব Tôdbhôbô (native)
  তৎসম Tôtsômô (Sanskrit reborrowings)
  দেশী Deshi (indigenous loans) and বিদেশী Bideshi (foreign loans)

The typical Bengali dictionary lists 75,000 separate words, of which 50,000 (67%) are considered তদ্ভব tôdbhôbô (native Bengali vocabulary with Sanskrit cognates), 21,100 (28%) are তৎসম tôtsômô (words directly re-borrowed from Sanskrit) , and the rest being borrowings from দেশী deshi "indigenous (Austroasiatic)" and বিদেশী bideshi "foreign" sources.[3]

However, these figures do not take into account the fact that a huge chunk of these words are archaic or highly technical, minimising their actual usage. The productive vocabulary used in modern literary works, in fact, is made up mostly 67% of native tôdbhôbô words, while tôtsômô re-borrowings only make up 25% of the total. Deshi and bideshi borrowings together make up the remaining 8% of the vocabulary used in modern Bengali literature.[4]

Differences in Vocabulary[edit]

This table below compares the differences of spoken and used vocabularies in Bangladesh and West Bengal.

word Bangladesh West Bengal
water পানি pāni জল jôl
salt লবণ lôbôn নুন nun
invitation দাওয়াত daoat নিমন্ত্রণ nimôntrôn
wind বাতাস batash হাওয়া haoa
chili মরিচ môric লঙ্কা lôngka
home বাসা basha বাড়ি bari

Examples of borrowed words[edit]

Due to centuries of contact with Europeans, Mughals, Arabs, Persians, and East Asians, the Bengali language has absorbed countless words from foreign languages, often totally integrating these borrowings into the core vocabulary. The most common borrowings from foreign languages come from three different kinds of contact. After centuries of contact from Persia and the Middle East, followed by the invasions of the Mughal Empire, numerous Turkish, Arabic, and Persian words were absorbed and fully integrated into the lexicon.[5][6] Later, East Asian travellers and European colonialism brought words from Portuguese, French, Dutch, and most significantly English. Some very common borrowings are shown below.

Arabic (আরবি Aarbi)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
আক্কেল akkel wisdom عقل ʿaql
আসল ashôl real أصل aṣl "root"
এলাকা elaka' area أﻻﻛﺔ ilākah
ওজন ojôn weight وزن wazn "scale"
কবর kôbôr grave قبر qabr
খবর khôbôr news خبر xabr
খালি khali empty خالي xālī
খেয়াল kheyal' consideration خيال xayāl
গরিব gôrib poor غريب gharīb "strange"
জবাব jôbab answer جواب jawāb
জমা jôma collect جمعة jamʿah
তারিখ tarikh date تاريخ tārīx "history, date"
দুনিয়া duniya world دﻧﯿـا dunya
নকল nôkôl fake نقل naql
ফকির fôkir poor person فقير faqīr
বদল bôdôl exchange بدل badl
বাকি baki remaining باقي bāqī
সাহেব shaheb sir صاحب ṣāḥib "friend"
হিসাব hishab calculation حساب ḥisāb
মুরব্বি murôbbi elder مربي murabbī
কুর্সি kursi seat كرسي kursī
মসনাদ môsônad imperial throne مسند masunad
রহম rôhôm mercy رحم raḥm
রুহু ruhu spirit روح rūḥ
কলম kolom pen قلم qalam

Persian (ফার্সি Farsi)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
আবহাওয়া abohawa weather aab-o-havaa

Turkish (তুর্কি Turki)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
কোরমা korma korma kavurma
দাদা dada grandfather dede
বাবা baba father baba
বাবুর্চি baburchi cook, chef baburçi
বেগম begôm lady begüm
কেচি "Kechi" Scissor Qãïnchi
লাশ "Lash" Corpse Lesh

Austroasiatic (Munda) languages (দেশী Deshi)[edit]

কুড়ি kuŗi twenty
খুকি khuki girl
খোকা khoka boy
খোঁচা khõcha poke
খোঁজ khõj notice
চাল chal
চাউল chaul
rice grains,
চিংড়ি chingṛi Prawn
চুলা chula oven, stove
ঝিনুক jhinuk shell
ঝোল jhol gravy
ঠ্যাং ṭhæng leg
ঢোল ḍhol dhol
পেট peṭ belly
বোবা boba mute
মাঠ maṭh field, open land
মুড়ি muṛi puffed rice

Sanskrit (সংস্কৃত Sôngskritô)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
চাহিদা chahida demand चाहिदा chāhidā
স্বাগতম্ shagôtôm welcome स्वागतम् Svāgatam
নির্বাণ nirban Nirvana निर्वाण Nirvāṇa
যোগ jog Yoga योग yóg
যোগী jogi practicer of Yoga योगिन् yogi
যৌন jouno sex, sexual act यौन Yauna
আর্য্য arjô Aryan आर्य ārya
আসন ashôn seat आसन āsana
আশ্রম ashrôm hermitage or monastery आश्रम āśrama
অবতার ôbôtar Avatar अवतार avatāra
আয়ুর্বেদ ayurbed Ayurveda आयुर्वेद āyurveda
বন্ধন bôndhôn bondage बन्धन bandhana
বাসমতী bashmôti Basmati rice वास vāsa
ভাং bhang (tadbhava) Bhang भङ्ग bhangga
খাট khat (tadbhava) cot खट्वा khatvā
ধুতি dhuti (tadbhava) Dhoti धुनोति dhunoti
লুঠ luth (tadbhava) Looting लुण्टा luṇtā
মায়া maya Maya माया māyā
স্বামী shami (ardha-tatsama) master स्वामी svāmī
লাখ lakh (tadbhava) Lakh लाक्षम् lākṣam
লক্ষ্মী lôkkhi Lakshmi लक्ष्मी lakṣmī
লক্ষ্মণ lôkkhôṇ Lakshmana लक्ष्मण lakṣmaṇa

Japanese (জাপানি / নিহোঙ্গো Japani / Nihonggo )[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
চা cha tea cha
মাঙ্গা mangga Manga マンガ manga
সুনামি sunami Tsunami つなみ tsunami
রিক্সা riksha Rickshaw 力車 (jin) rikisha

Dutch (ওলন্দাজ Olôndaj)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
ইস্কাবন iskabôn
ইশকাপন ishkapôn
spades schoppen
রুইতন ruitôn diamonds ruiten (lit. "rhombi")
হরতন hôrotôn hearts harten
চিড়িতন "chireton" clubs klaveren (lit. "clovers")
তুরুপ turup trump troef
ইস্ক্রুপ iskrup screw schroef

Portuguese (পর্তুগিজ Pôrtugij)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
আলমারি almari closet, cupboard armário
ইস্ত্রি istri
ইস্তিরি istiri
to iron estirar
ইস্পাত ispat steel espada "sword"
কামিজ kamij shirt camisa
গামলা gamla basket gamela "wooden trough"
চাবি chabi key chave
জানালা janala window janela
তামাক tamak tobacco tobacco
পেরেক perek nail prego
ফিতা fita lace, ribbon fita
বারান্দা baranda verandah varanda
বালতি balti Bucket balde
বেহালা behala viola viola
বোতাম botam button botão
মেজ mej table mesa
সাবান saban soap sabão
কেদারা kedara chair cadeira
আতা ata custard apple ata
আনারস anarôs pineapple ananás
কাজু kaju cashew caju
কপি kôpi cabbage, cauliflower couve
পাউ pau sliced bread pão "bread"
পেঁপে pẽpe papaya papaia
পেয়ারা peyara guava pera "pear"
সালাদ salad salad salada
ক্রুশ krush cross cruz
গির্জা girja church igreja
যিশু Jishu Jesus Jesu
পাদ্রি padri Catholic priest padre
ইংরেজ ingrej English inglês

French (ফরাসি Fôrasi)[edit]

Word Meaning Original form
আঁশ ãsh plant fiber asch
ওলন্দাজ olôndaj Dutch hollandaise
কার্তুজ kartuj cartridge cartouche
রেস্তোরাঁ restorã restaurant restaurant
শেমিজ shemij chemise chemise "shirt"
পাতি pati small petit

English (ইংরেজি Ingreji)[edit]

Word Original form
অফিস ofish office
জেল jel jail
ডাক্তার ḍaktar doctor
পুলিশ pulish police
ব্যাংক bank bank
ভোট bhoṭ vote
ইস্কুল iskul
স্কুল skul
school
হাস্পাতাল haspatal hospital
কাপ kap cup
গ্লাস glas glass
চেয়ার cheyar chair
টেবিল ṭebil table
বাক্স baksô box
লণ্ঠন lônṭhôn lantern
প্লাস্টিক plāsṭik plastic
কলেজ Kolēj college
আস্তাবল astabol stable
সাইকেল caikel bicycle

References[edit]

  1. ^ "India - Magadhan ascendancy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  2. ^ "learning Bengali | A Tangle Of Wires". Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^ "English & Bangla Online Dictionary & Grammar | ইংরেজি ও বাংলা Online অভিধান ও ব্যাকরণ". www.english-bangla.com. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Bengali | About World Languages". aboutworldlanguages.com. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Languages – Keys to Understanding the Middle East". ohiostate.pressbooks.pub. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC - Religions - Islam: Mughal Empire (1500s, 1600s)". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 18 February 2019.