Bengali vocabulary – Students’ Word Book

Cover of Bengali-English word bookLast time I was in Kolkata I surprised some of the College Street booksellers with a request for children’s books in Bengali.

Seeking out children’s books in the language was a suggestion from William Radice’s book, Teach Yourself Bengali, so I thought it would be worth following up.

Despite their surprise one of the booksellers I approached came up with just what I was looking for, rather than a puzzled look at my beginner’s Bengali.

One of the items he produced was ‘Students’ Word Book’, published in Calcutta and most recently re-printed five years ago the book says it’s “intended for classes III, IV & V of Primary, M.E. & High Schools”.

The thin 28-lesson volume  for the most part covers a variety of themed vocabulary topics and I recently dug it out of the drawer it had been filed in/ignored since that trip.

It’s a vocabulary book for Bengali students learning English, but as lists are given in both English and Bengali it’s ideal for me.

Words are given in English, English transliterated for Bengali, e.g. body is shown as Body (বডি), and also in Bengali script (e.g. সরির).

So over the coming months I’ll be going through the lessons and will include some of them in my posts here.

One thing to note is that some of the words given in the book don’t seem to be the most obvious Bengali versions to give. (I’m just a student of the language, but I say that having checked with my Bengali father-in-law.)

So I’ll include alternatives to words where they occur to me.

First up is vocabulary about the body, and I’ll post this in two parts, the first on Sunday.

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2 responses to “Bengali vocabulary – Students’ Word Book

  1. You’ve reminded me of something. As a kid i came to the conclusion that the reason so many of the new arrivals from Bangladesh were so hard to understand when they spoke English (i’m talking about the kids who had learnt some English) was the way in which English words were transliterated in Bangla script in their schoolbooks. I remember seeing ‘cup’ transliterated as ‘কাপ’ for example and so they pronounced the word ‘cap’. This was especially confusing up north as we make a very strong distinction between the vowels in those two words as you know.

  2. Pingback: Bengali vocabulary – animals | A Tangle Of Wires

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