Bengali alphabet

U 0980- U 09 FF

The Bengali script ( বাংলা লিপি, bāṁlā lipi ) belongs to the Indian scriptures. As this is an intermediate form of alphabet and syllabary, called Abugida. It is used in parts of India and in Bangladesh, in particular, to the Bengali language is written. The Bengali script is similar to the Devanagari in many ways, today's differences for Devanagari are mainly caused by the volume change in the Bengali language.


Like many other Indian writings, the Bengali script originated in the Brahmi script, which is first documented in the 3rd century BC. From this document, developed in the course of time many regional variants, which differ in part considerably.

The Bengali script first developed in cooperation with the Devanagari from an eastern variant of the Gupta script, a descendant of the Brahmi script. From this split in the 7th century AD, the Nagari script from. After these also evolved into regional variants, split finally in the 12th century, the Bengali font from. The first printed text in Bengali script came from Charles Wilkins and was published in 1778. A reform of the Bengali script was the end of the 19th century held by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar in which, among other things, the extra characters with Nukta were added to the alphabet.


The Bengali script is used primarily for the posting of the Bengali language, the official language of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal and one of the most spoken languages ​​in the world. The Assamese language, official language of the Indian state of Assam, uses a slightly different variant of the Bengali script. In addition, many minority languages ​​of these areas and beyond the Indian states of Tripura and Manipur use the Bengali script. The letters of Sanskrit in Bengali script is possible, but is now rarely practiced.

Principle of operation

The Bengali script, like the other Indian scriptures an intermediate form of alphabet and syllabary, called Abugida. In a Abugida, each consonant has no vowel signs, the inherent vowel a vowel inherent This can be changed by adding vowels, the bond firmly with the consonants. The consonant ক is thus a ka, কি contrast, a ki. The inherent vowel is in Bengal due to sound shifts of the debate, a o, which is why in some transcription schemes that ô is used to represent the inherent vowel.

Vowels are shown only with its own, independent characters, if they occur without accompanying consonant, such as word-initially. A consonant without an associated vowel, as in many other Indian writings by the addition of a small set under slash called Virama ( hereinafter referred to as the Bengal হসন্ত hasanta ) are shown. Does such a vowel -less consonant to another consonant, both connect normally to a ligature. Like the other Indian scripts is written from left to right the Bengali script; a distinction between upper - and lowercase letters does not exist.

Vowel signs

The Bengali script has 11 vowels, which, however, the vowel phonology of Bengal is not correct. Thus, the distinction between short and long vowels has been lost in the language, but it is still portrayed in Scripture. Therefore no separate vowel signs exist for the vowel / æ /, so this must be represented in Scripture by other characters.

The left-wing independent vowel signs are used only for vowels without an associated consonant, such as word-initially or after another vowel. If a vowel, however, before together with a consonants, the rightmost combining vowel signs are used which combine with the consonants and form a solid unit. The combining vowel characters are shown here for the consonant ক k.

The characters ৠ R, L and ঌ ৡ L and the associated combining vowel signs are no longer used in the Bengali language. They only exist to enable the writing of Sanskrit in Bengali script.

The combining vowel e, i, o and au take slightly different forms, depending on whether they occur at the beginning or within a word.

The combining vowel signs usually come together in a regular manner with the consonants, in certain consonant- vowel combinations, however, occur in special shapes.


The Bengali script has 35 consonants. The ক্ষ was not included in the count ks, actually a ligature of ক k and ষ s, which is, however, considered by many Bengali dictionaries as a separate character in the alphabet. The transliteration is represented in this table without the inherent vowel a, which is normally always present when the consonant has no vowel signs or Virama.

The consonants represent, in some cases, such as the vowel sounds, which are gone into the Bengali language. For example, all three sibilants have collapsed in Bengal to a / ʃ /, but they are still displayed with separate characters.

The list of consonants contains three characters that were formed in the 19th century by adding a Nuktas from other characters. The য় y can only occur after a vowel and is, although it is a consonant character, even for the vowel / E /, where it forms a diphthong with the preceding vowel. The character is located between two vowels, it is usually silent. The characters ড় R and RH ঢ় both represent the represent volume / ɽ /, which in Sanskrit simply an allophone of / ɖ /, in Bengal, however, is a phonologically of distinctive sound. The ঢ় RH is quite rare, however, practically the only frequent word in which it occurs, is আষাঢ় āṣāṛh, the name of a month of the Bengali calendar.

The alphabet of the Assamese language differs only in two places from the Bengali alphabet. Instead the র r the alternative glyph ৰ used in Assamese. In addition, additionally v. This represents the character ৱ exists the sound / w / is that not in Bengal, but probably occurs in Assamese.


Similar to the Devanagari is also the Bengali font full of ligatures, which are used to represent consonant clusters. These are often on a regular basis, in many cases, but they can also be irregular so that the individual components are not clearly visible. The pronunciation of the ligatures is not usually the same as with the pronunciation of its individual components; instance, there is the ligature ক্ষ KS from ক k / k / and ষ s / ʃ /, the ligature is but / k ʰ / spoken.

At regular ligatures all characters are represented in a reduced form except the last character of the last consonant of a cluster does not change its shape. From the consonants খ kh and ল l is accordingly the ligature খ্ল Khla. In addition, assume certain consonants within a ligature regular special forms:

  • Is the র r in the middle or at the end of a ligature, it forms a horizontal wavy line, which attaches itself under the previous consonant, such as in the syllable খ্র khra. If the r before the beginning of a ligature, it is a small diagonal line, which is located on the last consonant of a cluster, as in the syllable র্ক rka.
  • If the য y in the middle or at the end of a ligature before it becomes a vertical wavy line, such as in the syllable ক্য kya. The only exception is র্য rya. This particular form can also be combined with an independent vowel signs.

Special character

There exist in the Bengali script, a number of special characters. The former is an independent character, the other three are found only along with a consonant or independent vowel signs. Accordingly, this can not occur word-initially.

  • The sign ৎ, in Bengal খণ্ড ত khanda ta "broken Ta " is a special form of the consonant ত t. He is always without an associated vowel in Silbenauslaut and is used in certain words, such as উৎসব utsab "Festival".
  • The Anusvara, which in appearance resembles a semicolon in the Bengali script, in contrast to the Devanagari is a full consonant, except that he can not stand the word beginning and can not connect with a vowel sign. It represents the sound [ ŋ ] is and is found among others in the proper name of the Bengali language বাংলা bāṁlā.
  • The visarga is according to its position in the word different sounds dar. Does it happen in the middle of words, it geminiert the following consonant. At the end of the word it represents a rough auslautendes voiceless h in the Bengali language, the visarga is rarely used, it is for example in the word দুঃখ duhkha " concern" before.
  • The Chandrabindu is used to nasalieren the preceding vowel. The sign কঁ would be so pronounced as [ kɔ ].

Punctuation and symbols

The only punctuation of the Bengali script is a vertical line .. A single bar closes like a point from a set. Two dashes together can be used to complete an entire section as in Devanagari, but this is rarely used. In addition, in today's time most Western punctuation marks are used.

The Bengali script also contains the symbol ৺. This is set before the name of deceased persons, similar to the western cross.

Alphabetical order

The alphabetical order of the Bengali script is unlike, say, in the Latin alphabet is not arbitrary, but as sorted in the other Indic scripts by phonetic aspects:

  • Vowels: অ a, আ â, ই i, ī ঈ, উ u, ū ঊ, ঋ R, এ e, ঐ ai, ও o, au ঔ
  • Special characters: Anusvara ং, visarga ঃ Chandrabindu ঁ
  • Consonants, voiceless first, then voiced ( each unaspiriert and aspirated ) and last nasally, grouped by place of articulation from back to front: Guttural (1): ক k, kh খ, গ g, gh ঘ, ঙ N
  • Palatal (2): চ c, ছ ch, জ j, ঝ jh, ñ ঞ
  • Cerebral (3): ট T, ঠ th, ড D, ঢ ie, ণ N
  • Dental (4): ত t, থ th, দ d, ধ ie, ন n
  • Labial (5): p প, ফ ph, ব b, ভ bra, ম m


The Bengali script has its own numeric characters.


As Indian writing is consistent with the ISO 15919 standard, a Transliterationsschema for the Bengali font available. Other transliteration, as the transliteration according to the National Library at Calcutta, are almost identical to the ISO 15919 standard. There are also some unofficial transcription schemes in circulation, which focuses on the Bengali pronunciation.

There also exists the Bharati Braille, the Bengali script can be translated into Braille with the Indian, among other writings.

Bengali in Unicode

Unicode encoded Bengali font in Unicode Bengali block in the code range U 0980- U 09 FF.

Font sample

The following text is the Bengali translation of the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.