July 13th, 2013

Bengali language / Bangla

Being Indian, I've always been so fascinated by the richness of linguistic variety throughout the south Asian countries. I'd like to know if it is a fallacy to assume that most Indian languages from the top part up, like Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, um...Marathi...all these are very similar to Hindi so, to know one, can the others be learnt very easily? Or is this a misconception? Do each of these languages have distinct grammar variances I ought to know or consider before thinking to learn one?

I have two very good Bengali friends, and I used to live / visit Pondicherry every summer in India where there is a thriving Bengali community. Not to mention - isn't it the world's 6th most spoken language? Something like this...anyhow, that's probably due more to just Bangladesh and West Bengal. But in any case, are there any native Bengali speakers here, who could tell me more about the grammar and language? Is it very difficult, and very different from Hindi? Grammatically I think the only hard thing for non-native speakers is the post-positions in Hindi and having to change nouns for this. but otherwise Hindi is pretty simple if anyone's looking for a less intimidating language! I had heard Bengali was a lot harder though ;_;

I'm considering next summer, to do a program for helping women at the Asian Women's University in Bangladesh, and I'd love that immersion experience of being surrounded by Bengali. it's probably the one other Indian language aside from the sweetness of Hindi that's really captivated me. Of course my family members are biased (let's not even get into those politics! the south indians vs. the north, ayii!) and think Bengali's are too cliquish. I think at the end of the day everyone's cliquish, you prefer to be with those you can share your thoughts with in that native language. Isn't that simply human nature?