Google recognises Bangla and improves Bengali search

Google search Bengali banglaGoogle search Bengali bangla

Whether you’re looking for Pather Panchali or a macher johl recipe, the chances are that if you’re googling for it in Bengali your search will now be easier.

The search giant this week added the language to its ‘knowledge graph’ so, to cut a long explanation short, searches should be much quicker and more the results more useful. Continue reading

Weather words and phrases in Bengali (part 1)

Monsoon in Kolkata by Opashona

Monsoon in Kolkata (Flickr: Opashona)

So far I’ve only visited India in December or January, which limits the Bengali words for weather that I need when actually on holiday.

In fact, hot, cold and fog would probably cover those needs – often within the space of the same day. Continue reading

What do books mean to you?

Gandhi_Mani_Bhavan_Mumbai

Mani Bhavan, Gandhi’s residence in Mumbai

The pages are thin and its cheap printing may have smudged the ink in places, but my copy of Gandhi’s The Story of My Experiments with Truth falls squarely in that category of books whose value is greater than the words on their pages.

As with many objects, it’s the value added by the memories associated with them. In the case of Gandhi’s book, which I’m currently reading, the memory is of buying my 50 rupee copy from Mani Bhavan in Mumbai nearly five years ago.

Continue reading

খারাপ আবহাওয়া – বাংলা দিনলিপি

Storm

গতকাল ঝড় হয়েছে ।পুব-এ বন্ধুদের সঙ্গে কথা বলে খুব বেশি বৃষ্টি দেখলাম, কিন্দু মেঘের ডাক শুনিনি, বিজলি দেখিনি ।

বিজলিটা জোরে ছিল – একটা কাছে শহরে লোক বলেছে ‘বিস্ফোরণ‘ ছিল! Continue reading

Beautiful prose

I was hugely looking forward to reading Tahmina Anam’s A Golden Age, which seems to have been on my ‘to read’ list for far too long, but I approached it with a sense of trepidation.

Given that it’s set in Bangladesh, in 1971, I worried it would offer a heart-breaking tale, and there were certainly elements of the story that make you catch your breath.

But where this book’s beautiful prose (held within beautiful covers) succeeds is in bringing a landscape of pain, suffering and hope down to a very personal level. It was  only with a short paragraph, which began, “throughout June, Tikka Khan’s soldiers made their way across the summer plains of Bangladesh”, that the author pulls back from the individual to encompass the scale of the horror the country endured during those months. Continue reading

Today’s the day – names of days of the week in Bengali

Days of the week in Bengali / Bangla

Days of the week, like much of my basic Bengali vocabulary, could do with a bit a bit of practice when it comes to their exact spellings.

See, I’ve been spending quite a bit of times recently working at my Quizlet Bengali flashcards and it’s become fairly apparent that while I know, for instance, that ‘tiger’ is ‘বাঘ’ I still um and ah as to whether the word begins with a ব or a ভ and if it should end with গ or ঘ. Continue reading

Bengali vocabulary – more names of animals in Bangla 

Big cats

I had no idea there was a state animal of West Bengal until researching this post, and even if I had, like most, I would have guessed it would be a tiger.

In fact, it’s the fishing cat (whose diet does indeed include fish, alongside birds, insects and small rodents). An endangered species, the fishing cat lives in dense forested regions and wetland areas. Continue reading