I’ve been thinking about studying for a Bengali qualification for a while. It’s idle musing so far, partly perhaps because of the time constraints adult working life, not to mention having a young family, impresses on you.
Nevertheless, it’s fun to consider and as a first step I now and then looking into the Bengali GCSE.
GCSEs replaced O-Levels in the late 1980s as the qualifications UK secondary school students, that is, those aged 11-16, tend to take at the end of their studies. About 17 years ago they’re what I sat for. Continue reading
Is there anything Google can’t do these days? My admiration for the company’s products is tinged by just a hint of conspiracy paranoia that it’s all a prelude to a world takeover.
But seriously, is there anything Google can’t do? It’s already, amongst other things, improved immeasurably the way the world searches the internet, changed the way we use maps, begun digitising the world’s creative resources, forced every website to go 2.0 with the release of sidewiki and is now, apparently, about to kill email with Google Wave.
Looking at language there are plenty of very clever things the company is doing. Although my interest is what these allow you to do in Bengali, for which most require the right fonts, they apply to many other languages as well. Continue reading
Not currently in stock at Amazon and almost certainly not to be found at a mainstream bookshop in the UK, Ghulam Murshid’s Bengali-English-Bengali Dictionary (pub. Ruposhi Bangla) is a very useful resource for the English-speaking student of Bengali.
The paperback size volume is set out in the two sections of the traditional language dictionary. First Bengali to English, then English to Bengali, both in an A-Z format. This doesn’t of course follow the Bengali alphabet, and thus doesn’t encourage the reader to learn it, but it certainly does make things easier for the beginner.
Another beginner friendly feature is that words are primarily given in ‘transliterated’ form (i.e. in the Latin alphabet). They are also shown in the Bengali script, which is handy as there’s not a standard Bengali-English transliteration scheme. Continue reading