Bengali for Duolingo

Dear Duolinguists,

This thread is an appeal to the Duolingo Incubator team to begin development of a Bengali course. Bengali is the sixth most-spoken language in the world, with nearly a quarter of a billion speakers. Originating from ancient Sanskrit over a thousand years ago, it is now an official language in both India and Bangladesh. Bengali has a rich culture and literature, with Asia's only Nobel Literature Prize laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, scribing his poems in the language.

The UN declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day in honour of student protesters who died fighting for their right to speak their native Bengali tongue. On top of this, calls have been made for Bengali to become a working language of the UN, due to its similarities to numerous other Asian languages and large speaking base.

Currently, Bengali is listed as an option for prospective course contributors on the Incubator, which is usually a precursor for a new Incubator language. If you can read/write/speak Bengali and English, that's awesome, so please apply to contribute here:

If you'd also like to see a Bengali course, please support the cause by upvoting this thread to ensure the language remains on the agenda. Also feel free to join in the discussion below, commenting why you'd like to see Bengali on Duolingo! :)

Dhonnobad! ধন্যবাদ !

November 9, 2014


I've always been intrigued that it's in every list of the top languages spoken around the world, but I had never really heard much about it or heard from people who study it. It'd be great to have a course for it, I'm sure it will happen relatively soon! Good luck!

November 9, 2014

Thanks Ontalor! It does have a very significant population, which is becoming more and more dispersed in places like the Middle East, South-East Asia, Australia, the UK and the US with a large diaspora. Unfortunately, with very few teachers and teaching resources, I'm sure part of the reason it hasn't reached development yet is a lack of worthwhile contributor applicants.

November 10, 2014

I really hope it will come to Duolingo! My father is from Bangladesh but he's just an awful teacher: the only teaching technique he managed to invent was: "sit and watch TV in Bengali" :) I never learned much but I am really wish to do it someday.

January 26, 2016

wow I actually really wanted to contribute however I feel like my bengali would not be 100% perfect to teach since although I grew up speaking both bangla and english, I feel like english took over due to my surroundings (living in america) and since i only really had to speak it with my family and their friends. I would say sometimes I tend to speak more "banglish" because sometimes I forget smaller detailed words like 'if' and "that" so sometimes my sentence formations are strange lol but i'm totally fine with most of it. I just really want bengali to be represented more especially on a website like this where it can be a big resource for many who want to learn. I really hope it will be up for learning soon.

March 18, 2015

I have some ability in Bangali, but I'd love to be able to improve it using Duolingo.

January 2, 2015

Yes! A Bangla/Bengali addition would be a great idea - I have worked in Bangladesh over the past few years, and would love a chance to maintain and build skills while I'm at home.

September 16, 2015

Are there any chances that Bengali course will be started soon? I would Love to learn it because it's my husband's native language.

December 18, 2015

Very interesting to read about this! Thank you for your efforts!

November 9, 2014

Thanks for your comments! Yes, I don't think many people realise the significance of Bengali; hopefully the Duolingo team will! :)

November 9, 2014

Yes my Bangladeshi brother we will get our language implemented soonnnnn

June 13, 2016

I am new to DuoLingo and learning Spanish along with my daughter . We just have a good time ! I would love my daughter to be able to learn Bengali too as this is our mother tongue. I sincerely support this effort .

February 20, 2015

I also support the creation of this course. Bangla would be useful for people in sciences (particularly statistics) due to the intellectual culture of Kolkata, India, and the large number of scientists and mathematicians who speak Bangla as a first language.

June 24, 2016

True that, there are a large number of Bengali speaking scientists, particularly in the mathematical sciences. Also do you know that Calcutta University was the first modern institute of tertiary education in Asia?

February 5, 2017

Wow that's really interesting, I really want Bengali to be added! :)

February 5, 2017

I would love to see the creation of this course!! It is very difficult to find both reputable and easily accessible sources for Bengali language-learning. I would love to learn this language from Duolingo, a source that I trust. There are billions of Bengali speakers worldwide, let's help fellow English speakers learn this language to communicate and share the love!

July 4, 2016

I'm so frustrated by the fact that Bengali, despite being the sixth most spoken language in the world, is never taught by language courses such as these. It makes no sense to me. They (you) offer some of the most obscure languages in the world, but not Bengali.... Why? Why? Why? (Did I mention I was frustrated?).

To learn this gorgeous language, one has to either work through William Radice's Teach Yourself Bengali book (I tried), take a University course (none in America), or move to West Bengal or Bangladesh to immerse yourself in it. I even married a Bengali man so that I could learn the languange (only half-joking), but he stopped speaking Bengali around me, so what I learned from my book study eventually deteriorated.

Come on, Duolingo, please help!

January 11, 2017

I'm also connected to the language through marriage - and we do spend a good few weeks in Bangladesh every year. I have found the books helpful, but not as much as something like Duolingo would be. As far as obscure languages go, I have a huge appreciation for the Irish course - it helped me to regain everything that I'd lost since school and more. For a minority language that is under a degree of threat, this platform could make a huge difference.

January 19, 2017

I recently spent a year in Bangladesh, and before I left, it was so hard to find any place to learn some of the language! There were a few YouTube videos that didn't really help me at all.

Even after I have returned, I would very much love to learn the language. I found it so hard to live in Bangladesh without knowing the language beyond a few basic phrases I picked up. I think even people who speak very good English there will only be comfortable and friendly to you if are speaking Bangla.

I worry that DuoLingo has a European bias. Bangla is the sixth most-spoken language in the world! It should have been the sixth language lesson created on this site, right? That would seem fair. I hope to see Bangla on here soon.

ধন্যবাদ Thank you!

কারলা Karla

June 3, 2017

A course for the gender-neutral Indian language that was the medium of choice for the Bengal Renaissance? Sign me up!

Hell, I live pretty close to a street named after Rabindranath Tagore...

July 4, 2016

The only bust of a non-Irish person in Stephen's Green is of Tagore. Cá bhfuil an sráid?

July 6, 2016

I dTel-Aviv ;)

July 6, 2016

নমস্কার! I would love to learn Bengali too. It's a lovely language. I especially love the 'ɔ' sound typical to Bengali. As a fact, even the Indian national anthem 'Jana gana mana' is in Bengali, and is taken from one of Rabindranath Tagore's hymns. Another reason I'd want to learn Bengali is to fully understand this beautiful song 'একলা চলো রে' (Ekla cholo re) originally composed by Rabindranath Tagore again. So I do hope Duolingo gets Bengali one day. :)

November 9, 2014

It would be fantastic, and you're completely right. There is so much Bengali literature out there, but very little literature for English learners. It's interesting the Indian anthem is also in Bengali, and not Hindi. The Bangladeshi anthem is also a Tagore work, 'Amar Shonar Bangla'.

November 10, 2014

Yes please add Bangla! My fiance is from West Bengal and I have been trying to find a decent source to learn it from for years. His parents don't speak much English so it would really help our relationship if I could learn it.

August 6, 2016

I should add that I took up the Duolingo French course (a refresher) just so that I could leave the above plea for Bengali! I'll continue with it till Bengali appears because Duolingo is really fun. Love!

January 11, 2017

Being an Indian I hear it in all parts of the country and not just specific areas. Also it is one of the sweetest languages you'd ever come across!

November 9, 2014

Well, being a native bengali, thanks! I'm not from Bangladesh, but I certainly have relatives who had to flee to India during the war. I'm from West Bengal.

June 17, 2017

I support the fabrication of this course.

June 13, 2016

I would love to see Bengali on here. My partner's first language was Bengali, and her mother speaks only Bengali. As an English speaker this means that I cannot communicate with her! I would love to be able to speak with the whole family, and Duolingo can make this a reality!

August 13, 2016

Native English and Bengali speaker here. Just applied!

October 24, 2015

Please apply again! There is no news from a Bengali course in the incubator! :(

May 3, 2017

I am moving to West Bengal and will be learning Bengali - would love to do it through duolingo!

January 18, 2017

The books by William Radice and Hanne-Ruth Thompson are good, but not as good as being surrounded by it. I'm hoping to go at the reverse (Bangla->English) course when it's out in beta, I think it might be some time before the En->Bn course gets launched...

January 19, 2017

William Radice's book could be better organized and made easier to read, but otherwise it's solid. He actually uses an accurate phonetic transliteration.

October 18, 2018

When asked what language I wanted on duolingo I said Bengali and Greek. Learning Bengali would be amazing

November 9, 2014

A language I am interested in due to cricket. All for it!

May 19, 2016

আমি ইস্কুলে বাংলা শিখেছিলাম , কিন্তু আমি অনেক কিছু ভুলে গেছি . আমি আবার বাংলা শিখতে চাই . :)

I would very much appreciate a Bengali course.

June 13, 2016

the bengali literature loses it charm when translated to hindi or english. it would be fantastic if i can speak and read bengali

February 22, 2017

I would like to learn Bengali/Bangla because it is my father's mother tongue and I would like to be able to talk to my relatives in their native language instead of having to resort to English.

ami olpo olpo bangla boli (but I can't really read or write it, yet)

June 7, 2017

*boli. Bolo is the second person singular form. :) Hope the course comes soon and we can both learn more of this beautiful language! It's my parents' mother tongue.

June 7, 2017

Thanks, edited.

June 8, 2017

Of course.

June 9, 2017

There are no differences between the singular and plural forms (suppose আমি বলি and আমরা বলি are both correct)

June 10, 2017

I am native to a place where Bengali is used a lot but I do not know much of the language, so please create a course where people can learn to read, write and speak. Thanks!

July 4, 2017

How do you convince the Duolingo gods to start a course? There is definitely demand for something like this yet my prayers and those of others remain unanswered. I am sure that there are many who want to make the course and who want to test it, but only trace of the Bengali language is English for Bengali speakers, not the other way around. I hope that this still gets noticed.

April 26, 2018

We need Bengali for English and English for Bengali. It's a shame that one of the world's most spoken language has the least amount of good quality resources to learn. Is there no interest among others to learn this language? Certainly, not so as this thread suggests. It is partly our fault, we do not promote our language enough, neither do we have anything uniquely interesting to capture the minds of young people.

There are two main issues to learn Bengali from English.

  1. Bengali has no standard romanization like pinyin or hepburn. We need a romanization system with simple latin alphabets, not IPA.

  2. Some claim that there are two variants of the language in two parts of Bengal. This is patently false. Grammar, orthography, phonetics etc. are exactly same. The vocabulary has minor differences and that too can be circumvented.

[Also, as an aside, Bengali people need to learn English reasonably well before presenting themselves to the world. If others see that we butcher the lingua franca of the world, they may consider us lazy and may not be interested in cultivating a passion for our language. It may sound harsh, but we do not have any novelty factor going on for our language to garner interest e.g. Japanese for anime, Korean for k-pop etc. I am not insinuating anything, so please don't take it any other way.]

Also, the only book to hold water when it comes to teaching Bengali is by Hanne-Ruth Thompson. A few others are ok, but nothing comes close to this book. If you want to learn Bengali, this one is a must.

One technical point is that we do not have good IME for non-CJK languages. Maybe someone can develop something that is not extremely difficult to use. I would like to join as contributor, but this issue is holding me up. Maybe later.

July 19, 2018

Dada, Bhai, that romanization thing really has me puzzled. The phonology of the eastern Indo-Aryan languages is so much more different yet a lot of people still prefer to use the same system as Hindi and Sanskrit. The main problem I have with it is that the inherent vowel is written as "a", which is misleading, ontostho jo is written with a "y", and its generally not practical to try and write it, stuff like that. To be honest, I would prefer that we use a sort of transcription system instead should Bengali have any future on Duolingo(which it probably doesn't), but that might be too much to handle for Duolingo.

July 27, 2018

As a Bengali-American, I would more than love to have a Bengali course in Duolingo for I'd love to further improve my Bengali and my fluency in the language. Please support the cause

November 19, 2018

Yeah, I'm Bengali-American too. Based on the lack of enthusiasm from native Bengali speakers, I think it'll be up to us to get it up and running.

November 19, 2018

In my obsession with learning language I want to learn many languages. But Especially I want to the languages of India. Bengali is one of my favorite. It is very sweet to hear and sounds similar to Hindi. I will definitely learn it if a course is made.

November 14, 2014

I am a native bangla speaker. Just applied to be a contributor. Hope the incubation starts soon.

July 5, 2016

It looks like it might be a while, bhai

April 26, 2018

I would definitely do this course.

November 22, 2016

I'm a native Bengali speaker, but I never learned how to read Bengali script. I would love to learn how to do so!

December 28, 2016

I would like to learn Bengali. That is actually the reason I downloaded the Duolingo app! I was disappointed that they do not offer it. I hope they will offer it soon. ধন্যবাদ!

February 17, 2017

The English course for Bangla speakers will be finished first before they work on the reverse:

February 17, 2017

This would be perfect! As a Bengali speaker (can't read or write however), This would be an amazing opportunity! Edit: এখন আমি লিখতে পারি!

March 2, 2017

Please add this course! Trying to learn from my wife and extended family but progress is slow; I've started German on here and in a matter of only a few days it's catching up to my Bangla!

April 6, 2017

Duo needs Dome Indian languages, I hope they add Bengali soon.

April 11, 2017

A Bangla course would be fantastic! My husband's from Bangladesh and I'm having a hard time learning the language. I do have William Radice's book but there's nothing else out there, and an interactive element would be so helpful.

April 17, 2017

Please, ask them again !! Please, please, please.

May 3, 2017

I would love to see bengali because I knew someone in high school whose parents were from Bangladesh and the fact that he speaks the language makes it all the more interesting to me and it makes me want to learn more about it!

May 30, 2017

I know some Bengali, having lived in Bengal for about two years, and would love a Duolingo course.
I must correct you in that Rabindranath Tagore is not the only Nobel laureate in literature from Asia. Already in 1968 Yasunari Kawabata got it, as did Kenzaburō Ōe in 1994 and Mo Yan in 2012.

July 7, 2017

Well, we Bengalis just continued repeating what our parents and grandparents said without fact-checking. Thanks for mentioning this, we should stop spreading incorrect information.

January 28, 2018

আমি বাংলা শিখছি কিন্তু it woud be a lot easier if Duolingo offered it.

July 29, 2017

As a language enthusiast, I'd love to have Bengali on Duolingo. Considering how widely it is spoken and written, it is worth learning.

December 15, 2017

Hi, I am a native speaker of Bengali and I applied today. Please let me know if I can help.

January 28, 2018

I've been trying to learn Bengali for years, but the resources are few and not very good, mostly consisting of programmes aimed at memorizing a limited number of words. If Duolingo could develop a Bengali course, it would be so much better than any Bengali programme I've encountered so far.

March 3, 2018

I wish there was a sylheti version

July 13, 2018

Please develop a Bengali course for native English Speakers. Specifically, Bengali as it is spoken in the state of West Bengal, India.

July 17, 2018

It’s hard Dada, Duolingo will probably say no for a while. Also, the standard language doesn’t change much from WB to BD, so I don’t think that specificity matters. Furthermore, there are more Bengali speakers in Bangladesh than in West Bengal...

July 17, 2018

Hey everyone! Quick question: Does kinda being able to translate Bengali and not being able to speak it very well count as being fluent? Lolz. I should think not...

August 1, 2018

No. You should at least be able to hold a conversation to be called fluent.

August 1, 2018

I'm a native English speaker and speak Bengali fairly well so I'd be willing to help make it. First they have to complete the English for Bengali speakers course, for which they're still trying to gather a few more contributors...

August 6, 2018

I would love to learn Bengali!

August 18, 2018

Great! It seems like Duolingo is just kind of ignoring this though. I can still teach if you’d like, would you like to exchange contact info?

August 18, 2018

I would love to see Bengali on duolingo, its so hard to find apps that are as competent as duolingo! I would definitely pay for premium if Bengali was offered.

August 20, 2018

You can still learn it from Hanne-Ruth Thompson's book. Right now they are developing English for Bengali course.

August 22, 2018

Hey! I'd love to see a Bengali course for all the reasons you mentioned. I feel like for being one of the top 10 most spoken languages in the world and being remarkably a logical and easy language, it's super neglected. It's about time Bengali gets on Duolingo! I'd like to help.

October 18, 2018

I agree! Please do help out, I'd like to learn it too! :D

January 5, 2019

I am native Bangladesh speak, how can I be a incubator?

November 8, 2018

If you go here you can apply to contribute to the course.

November 9, 2018

আমি এখন বাংলা শিখছি, কিন্তু ডুওলিংগো আমাকে খুব সাহায্য করবে!

November 9, 2018

Hey, that's really good! I've signed up to be a contributor. I'm still waiting to hear updates from the incubator.

November 10, 2018

Yay! Hopefully they will start to make it soon...

November 11, 2018

We should make Bengali as the easiest language on the Indian Subcontinent (which it is.) Anyhow, how'd you get interested in Bengali?

November 11, 2018

Yes, I always joke about how easy it is. No plurals, gender, etc. আমার বন্ধু বাঙালি so I got to know about the culture, কিন্তু এখন আমার বাংলা খুব ভাল লাগে। আমার জন্য খুব মিষ্টি ভাষা। আগামী আমি বাংলাদেশের/ভারতের মধ্যে বাংলা ব্যবহার করতে চাই।

November 12, 2018

Good luck guys! Would love to see what comes out of this in the end :)

January 5, 2019

I would very much like to see a Bengali course on Duolingo - fingers crossed!

December 8, 2018

Yes please! My boyfriend is Bangladeshi and even though we already have two languages in common (so communication is not a problem), I wanna be able to speak to his mother in her native language. Any news about the course?

December 28, 2018

I've applied but I still haven't heard back. Gee, based on this thread there is so much support. Why in 4 years since the start of this thread has nothing been done yet!? How do we go about creating an incubator for Bengali?

January 5, 2019

I know this is so frustrating!

January 5, 2019

It has been four years. Still no Bengali :(

May 1, 2019

Bengali would be great, done the duolingo way. I struggle with the books.

May 9, 2019

I would like to see a Bengali course on Duolingo.

July 28, 2019


October 31, 2016

Dada, Bhai, they still haven't done anything about it. I'd consider myself a valid applicant to help build such a course, and there are others who probably think the same, but alas, no Bengali for English Speakers course...

July 10, 2018

I would also like to contribute. Only thing holding me back is a good IME for Bengali, that does not suck.

August 1, 2018

Dude, everyone would benefit from something like that. But the phonology and letters of Bengali make it difficult... Maybe something based off of the Wikipedia transcription system could work?

August 1, 2018

How is the course coming? Has it entered incubation phase 1???

August 6, 2018

I would be delighted to have the opportunity to refresh my bengali with Duo ;-) I have started long ago with a "Teach yourself book" but it's now far away ;-)

August 26, 2018

Yes Bangla!

August 28, 2018

I'd love to pick up Bengali, the language has always interested me and I think duolingo could give me the required push to get to it.

August 29, 2018

Hi, I also agree.

October 17, 2018

I would love to see a Bengali for English course on DuoLingo. I've heard a lot about the richness of Bengali literature and the works of Rabindranath Tagore. It would be very satisfying to be able to read his work in the original language.

January 10, 2019

I'm not sure how to up vote, but yes I'm looking at this because I was hoping to find a way to get Bengali in Duolingo. It's worked well for French, so now my wife's language send more in reach ... If ...

January 11, 2019

Yes, there need to be more and better Bengali resources. I also find Duolingo very effective, so I'm waiting for a Bengali course. (btw, you can upvote by clicking the up arrow under the original post) :)

January 12, 2019

I am a Brazilian who wants to learn Bengali. I had a few basic lessons and teachings, which gave me a good basis to start with. Then I got different materials/sources for this, including Samsad's dictionaries (en-bn, bn-en), Learn Bengali Yourself, Teach Yourself Bengali, and Hanne-Ruth Thompson's book. I tried using some of these, but didn't get very far yet. I also tried Colloquial Bengali, which has audios for the lessons - which is good for me -, and also Super Bengali - which I kind of liked. But I really miss the interactivity and fun provided by Duolingo. So I am waiting for a Bengali for English speakers Duolingo course!

My motivation to learn Bengali is, first, because I want to understand well what I am singing when singing/playing Prabhat Samgiita songs. I have also learned some Rabindranath Tagore's songs (Rabindra Samgiita), so the same applies to these also. All these songs are very beautiful, spiritually-oriented and touching. I think they are a great heritage of Bengalis to the world, and especially appropriate to our present age/world situation.

Bengali is the living language with the largest percentage of vocabulary coming/derived from Sanskrit. I think Sanskrit is very relevant to the field of spiritually related knowledge/practices. I believe India has a great heritage to the world in this regard. Here also I have a personal motivation, which is to be able to understand many of the discourses from Shrii Shrii Anandamurti directly from Bengali. I have been translating some of his books from English to Portuguese, and it was really helpful to, when possible, check the Bengali original text and translate directly from there.

I hope I will be able to understand as well as to teach Bengali to others. I have already given some basic classes on Bengali script to interested people - as a voluntary.

Please go ahead with the Duolingo Bengali course for English speakers!

March 31, 2019

It makes me so happy to hear someone so passionate about learning Bengali. C'mon, Duolingo, why haven't you made a Bengali to English lesson yet?

March 31, 2019


April 4, 2019

I'm very fluent in Bangla and English, I would love to help the course.

April 20, 2019

English is an essential language that many Bengalis want to learn and so I think that Duolingo should have a Bengali course.

April 20, 2019

Support for বাংলা in 2020! নমস্কার / আসসালামু আলাইকুম!

May 20, 2019

I am a native Bangla (Bengali) speaker and think it would not be very difficult to put together a Bengali for English speakers course. Duolingo already has a Hindi for English speakers course and since both Hindi and Bangla alphabets and languages are similar, it can be something similar to the existing course. I am sure there will be a lot of people willing to put their effort into this.

October 1, 2018

Hindi & Bengali alphabets & language are similar??! In which universe? Anyways , your enthusiasm is always welcome.

October 1, 2018

Both Hindi and Bangla are descendants of Sanskrit just like French and Italian are both descendants of Latin and are similar to each other in the same way French and Italian are similar. The writing systems used to write both languages are both descendant Nagari scripts and essentially on a tech level amount to a font change. In much the way that our alphabet, Greek, and Cyrillic are very similar.

October 1, 2018

I think Hasib7 just means that they have the same format so Duolingo could teach it the same way, even though the letters themselves are very different. (Although there some similarities like ज and জ)

October 1, 2018

That's great to hear! You should get involved :)

January 5, 2019


January 10, 2019
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