Bengali for Duolingo
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: http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/bn/en/status
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 !
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!
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.
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.
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.
I have some ability in Bangali, but I'd love to be able to improve it using Duolingo.
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.
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.
Thanks for your comments! Yes, I don't think many people realise the significance of Bengali; hopefully the Duolingo team will! :)
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 .
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.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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!
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...
The only bust of a non-Irish person in Stephen's Green is of Tagore. Cá bhfuil an sráid?
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. :)
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'.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Please apply again! There is no news from a Bengali course in the incubator! https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/bn/en/status :(
I am moving to West Bengal and will be learning Bengali - would love to do it through duolingo!
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...
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.
When asked what language I wanted on duolingo I said Bengali and Greek. Learning Bengali would be amazing
আমি ইস্কুলে বাংলা শিখেছিলাম , কিন্তু আমি অনেক কিছু ভুলে গেছি . আমি আবার বাংলা শিখতে চাই . :)
I would very much appreciate a Bengali course.
the bengali literature loses it charm when translated to hindi or english. it would be fantastic if i can speak and read bengali
*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.
There are no differences between the singular and plural forms (suppose আমি বলি and আমরা বলি are both correct)
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!
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.
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.
Bengali has no standard romanization like pinyin or hepburn. We need a romanization system with simple latin alphabets, not IPA.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I am a native bangla speaker. Just applied to be a contributor. Hope the incubation starts soon.
I'm a native Bengali speaker, but I never learned how to read Bengali script. I would love to learn how to do so!
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!
The English course for Bangla speakers will be finished first before they work on the reverse: https://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/en/bn/status
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!
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!
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.
Please, ask them again !! Please, please, please.
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!
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.
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.
As a language enthusiast, I'd love to have Bengali on Duolingo. Considering how widely it is spoken and written, it is worth learning.
Hi, I am a native speaker of Bengali and I applied today. Please let me know if I can help.
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.
Please develop a Bengali course for native English Speakers. Specifically, Bengali as it is spoken in the state of West Bengal, India.
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...
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...
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...
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?
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.
You can still learn it from Hanne-Ruth Thompson's book. Right now they are developing English for Bengali course.
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.
Hey, that's really good! I've signed up to be a contributor. I'm still waiting to hear updates from the incubator.
We should make Bengali as the easiest language on the Indian Subcontinent (which it is.) Anyhow, how'd you get interested in Bengali?
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।
I would very much like to see a Bengali course on Duolingo - fingers crossed!
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?
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?
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...
I would also like to contribute. Only thing holding me back is a good IME for Bengali, that does not suck.
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?
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 ;-)
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.
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.
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) :)
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!
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?
I'm very fluent in Bangla and English, I would love to help the course.
English is an essential language that many Bengalis want to learn and so I think that Duolingo should have a Bengali course.
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.
Hindi & Bengali alphabets & language are similar??! In which universe? Anyways , your enthusiasm is always welcome.
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.
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)