Bengali, also known as Bangla, is an eastern Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken in Bangladesh and in the Indian state of West Bengal. Due to the high population of these areas, the language is the sixth most popular language in the world by the number of speakers, according to UNESCO (2008). 180 to 190 million people speak it as a first language, while the figure that includes second-language users reaches 189 to 250 million. English speakers can learn Bengali in a number of ways.

Learn the Bengali alphabet by using the links in the Resources section. The alphabet is derived from the Brahmi alphabet and so is difficult for English-speakers to master. Learn the vowels first and then progress to the consonants.

Learn simple words like "Aami" and "Se," meaning "I" and "He/She," respectively.

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Hire a Bengali tutor. There are large Indian and Bangladeshi communities in nearly all major cities of the English-speaking world, including the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Canada.

Listen to Bengali radio online. BBC Bengali radio service offers free Bengali broadcasting.

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