Languages of Bangladesh

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Languages of Bangladesh
Languages of Bangladesh map.svg
Official languages Bengali
National languages Bengali
Regional languages

Chittagonian, Chakma

rangpuri language
Minority languages

38 Minority languages

Arakanese, Assamese, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Chakma, Hajong, Tangchangya, Oraon Sadri, Khasi, Koda, Mundari, Pnar, Santali, War-Jaintia, Kurukh, Sauria Paharia, A'Tong, Chak, Chin, Asho, Bawm, Falam, Haka, Khumi, Koch, Garo, Megam, Meitei Manipuri, Mizo, Mru, Pangkhua, Kok Borok, Riang, Tippera and Usoi
Main immigrant languages Bihari • Burmese • Rohingya
Main foreign languages English • Arabic
Sign languages Bengali Sign language
Common keyboard layouts
Bengali National Keyboard
Bangladesh National Keyboard Layout

The official and de facto national language of Bangladesh is Bangla. It serves as the lingua franca of the nation, with 98% of Bangladeshis fluent in Standard Bangla or Bangla dialects as their native language.

English in Bangladesh, though having no official status, is prevalent across government, law, business, media and education.[1][2] Arabic is also used widely as an integral part of religious instruction in daily life. The indigenous people of northern and southeastern Bangladesh speak a variety of native languages.

Aryan languages[edit]

Bangla is spoken by more than 98% of the country's inhabitants. There are also some Eastern Indic language varieties, which are variously classified either as dialects of Bangla or separate but closely related languages. They can be thought of forming a dialect continuum.

Bengali-Assamese languages[edit]

Non Bengali-Assamese languages[edit]

  • Pali: used by Buddhist organizations and Buddhist studies in collages and universities.
  • Oraon Sadri: spoken by minorities in the western part of Rajshahi Division.
  • Bihari: spoken primarily by Bihari refugees from Bihar.

Non-Aryan languages[edit]

The indigenous languages of the region are members of the Austroasiatic, Dravidian and Tibeto-Burman families. Most of these languages are spoken in mountainous areas.

Afro-Asiatic languages[edit]

  • Arabic: is used widely as an integral part of religious instruction in daily life. This trend ended in the late 1970s, however, after Bangladesh strengthened its ties with Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich, Arabicspeaking countries. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1983 to introduce Arabic as a required language in primary and secondary levels. In the late 1980s, Arabic was studied in many homes in Bangladesh as an integral part of religious instruction. Aside from courses in religious schools, however, Arabic was not a popular subject at the college and university level.[3]

Austroasiatic languages[edit]

While the more widely spoken and better-known Austroasiatic languages are spoken in Southeast Asia (e.g. Khmer and Vietnamese), smaller languages of that family are spoken by indigenous communities of northern and eastern Bangladesh.

Dravidian languages[edit]

Two Dravidian languages are spoken by indigenous communities of western Bangladesh.

Germanic languages[edit]

  • English: has a prevalent unofficial usage across business, media and education alongside with Bangla.

Tibeto-Burman languages[edit]

The mountainous areas along the northern and eastern edges of the country are inhabited primarily by speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages. Indigenous Tibeto-Burman-speaking communities are found through the northern, eastern, and especially the southeastern parts of Bangladesh.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]