5 Bengali words – time expressions (part 1)

This week’s 5 Bengali words collects together some useful conversational expressions about time.

It ran on a bit so I split it in half, and will post part 2 next week.

Time n – সময় (sōmōy)

Always/all the time adj – সব সময় (sōb sōmōy), চিরদিন (cirōdin)

Often adj – প্রায়ই (prayi)

Sometimes adv – মাঝে মাঝে (majhe majhe), মাঝে সাঝে (majhe sajhe), সময় সময় (sōmōy sōmōy)

Never adv – কখনও না (kōkhōno na)* [see comments]

*Can also I had thought it could be used idiomatically for ‘sometimes’, which totally threw me when reading a dual language English-Bengali children’s book whose title ‘Sometimes’ was translated as কখনো (with the arrogance of a student I actually assumed the translator had made a mistake) [see comments]

More ‘5 Bengali words‘ posts.

6 responses to “5 Bengali words – time expressions (part 1)

  1. Slight correction: kokhono means ever, kokhono kokhono means sometimes, kokhono… na means never.

    • Hi Hanna

      Thanks (as always) for the comment. I’ll correct the post now.

      On a side note, there are so many ways to say ‘sometimes’ – the number of different words with the same meaning in Bengali still surprises me.


  2. Yes, but that’s the same in English, isn’t it?
    sometimes, occasionally, now and again, from time to time, once in a while…
    In Bangla: majhe majhe, majhe moddhe, somoy somoy, kokhono kokhono…

    This is just the normal fluidity and variety in languages, no?

    • I think, when you put it like that, then it does make sense. Certainly your own Bangla dictionary is clear on this area.

      My confusion instead comes from the word choices other authors have made.

      So, where you translate ‘sometimes’ as ‘somoy somoy’, William Radice’s Teach Yourself offers both ‘majhe-majhe’ and ‘majhe-saijhe’, but there’s no indication of whether or how their use might be different.

      Meanwhile, Ghulam Murshid’s dictionary uses ‘majhe-majhe’ and ‘majhe-moddhye’ and DF Hudson’s (1965) Teach Yourself features ‘majhe majhe’.

      Ultimately though it’s instructive to be presented with different options.

  3. Re kokhono kokhono I’ve just written a post on ‘wordwords’ (mainly focused on actual words with the same syllables repeated e.g. খািলখািল (khalikhali) which means for nothing. Have a look!


  4. Pingback: সঙ্গে সঙ্গে and Evolved doubles « My Bangla Diary আমার বাংলা ডাইরি

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