I’ve been teaching myself Bengali for four years now. William Radice’s excellent Teach Yourself Bengali has been the mainstay of my efforts. The spine of my copy is cracked and pages keep threatening to fall out but it’s still holding it together.
Despite being the sixth most spoken language in the world, with a sizable expatriate community in the UK, there aren’t many resources for the student of Bengali beyond Radice’s book so it’s not the most obvious language to learn.
So, why Bengali? There are usually personal reasons for things like this. In my case parents-in-law who come from Kolkata and four years ago I made a snap decision to learn Bengali and help teach my young son their language. Tip: if you want to be able to give up something you’ve started, don’t tell your parents-in-law about it. You draw a line in the sand across which you cannot return.
But I’ve no intention of giving up – I enjoying learning new things and trying to stretch myself – and learning a language outside of the usual European ones certainly does that. Although it’s a challenge, it’s far from impossible.
One of the reasons for this blog is for me to keep track of things I should be learning (currently I’m revising the present tense – really wish I’d learned it properly the first time around) and plan future topics. So my posts on Bengali will probably include lists, reminders, but all from the point of view of a student who has far to go.
Abar daekhe hobe (see you soon)