Bengali Languages - A Reflection of Geographical, Religious & Ethnic Origins
Many people are surprised to find out that there are a great many languages in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s official language is known as Bangla or Bengali and is spoken by the vast majority of the population. Bangla is also spoken in several other countries such as India, Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the UK and the USA where a number of Bangladesh expatriates may have taken up residence.
There are a number of different Bangla dialects that are generally grouped according to the various regions in Bangladesh. Due to the British colonization of the country, English is also a widely spoken and commonly understood language in Bangladesh.
Besides this, there are 38 languages that are in use in Bangladesh. If you travel around the country you might encounter languages such as Arakanese, Assamese, Bishnupriya, Burmese, Chak and Chakma. Other spoken languages include: Asho Chin, Bawm Chin, Falam Chin, Haka Chin, Khumi Chin, Chittagonian, Darlong, Garo, Hajong, Ho, Khasi, Koch, Kok Borok, Kurux, Megam, Meitei, Mizo, Mru, Mundari, Pankhu, Pnar, Rajbanshi, Riang, Oraon Sadri, Santali, Shendu, Sylheti, Tangchangya, Tippera, Usui and War. These languages may have geographical, religious or ethnic origins and are kept very much alive in their particular geographical areas. In addition to this, there are roughly 14 deaf institutions where Indian Sign Language is taught to the deaf population.
Clearly there are many living and spoken languages in Bangladesh and this only adds to the wonderful variety of the country. If you are planning a trip to the country, you need not worry too much about the various local languages. If you are able to speak English, you will usually be able to get by quite well. A little knowledge of Bangla is admirable but not entirely necessary. Efforts to understand local languages or customs usually leads to friendly faces and open doors.