5 Bengali phrases – being polite

There is usually less use of the words ‘please’ (দয়া করে) or ‘thank you’ (ধন্যবাদ) in Bengali than there is in English, but that shouldn’t be construed as rudeness.

Instead there are other ways to indicate politeness, one of them being to use phrases such as:

1. কষ্ট দিলাম – I have caused bother

2. আমি খুব খুশি হয়েছি – I am very happy

3. না, না, আমার পেট ভরে গেছে – no, I am full

4. অসুবিধা নেই – No problem

5. মাছটা খুব মজা – the fish is delicious (alt. তরকারি খুব স্বাদ হয়েছে – the curry is very tasty)

আমার পেট ভরে গেছে is one of my favourite Bengali phrases thanks to its ability to both charm members of my wife’s family by showing I know a little of their language (albeit with problematic pronunciation) and preventing my stomach from exploding from their hospitality.

1. kōstō dilam

2. ami khub khusi hōyechi

3. amar pet bhōre gaeche

4. ōsubidha nei

5. machta khub mōja (alt. tōrkari khub shad hōyeche)

If you can’t view the Bangla script above (and want to) you need to install Bengali fonts on your computer.

More ‘5 Bengali phrases‘ posts.


6 responses to “5 Bengali phrases – being polite

  1. Great post. It’s helpful to look at the different ways of being polite as I often end up suggesting Bengali is somehow less polite than English just because the ways we indicate politeness are different.

    The first phrase I didn’t know – when would you use it?

    Other ways Bengali confers politeness is the use of polite forms aapni, apnara etc such as we don’t have in English. Also terms of address and suffixes such as -ji. And of course as with all languages tone of voice important. I guess Would you mind closing the window says angrily and impatiently would be rude despite the elaborate construction! Also posture and gesture doing pro – nam etc

  2. Pingback: Politeness – a different perspective « My Bangla Diary আমার বাংলা ডাইরি

  3. ‘kōstō dilam’ came from Hanne-Ruth Thompson’s dictionary/phrasebook. I haven’t used it (yet), but I took it to be a rough equivalent to the English ‘I don’t mean to put you out/cause any trouble’ after making a request or replying to an offer.

    Also, though not mentioned above, William Radice’s Teach Yourself Bengali says adding a slight pause and then ‘na’ to the end of verbs is a way of indicating politeness. (Though there’s potential for verbs to inadvertently turn from positive to negative: debenna vs deben-na perhaps).

    I agree that tone of voice, not to mention body language could also be just as important.

  4. ah yes you can say bosun-na polite rather than bosunna negative right?

  5. Pingback: 10 Bengali phrases (with flash cards) – being polite | A Tangle Of Wires

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