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Lesson 2: Forming Simple Words

 

INTRODUCTION

 

After learning the alphabet in Bengali, it is only appropriate to learn how to read words. Just like the Devanagari guide, the simple words will be examined. In Lesson 3, words with vowel markings will be studied. Therefore, it will be essential that one knows the alphabet very well.

 

SPELLING WORDS USING THE BENGALI ALPHABET

Let’s look at the first word of the day:

EXAMPLE 1: “rasa” (juice [Bengali]).

STEP 1: Break the word down through its syllables.

The word “rasa” can be broken down to “ra” and “sa

STEP 2: Find the letters of the word and put them sequential order.

Recall the letters for “ra” and “sa” on the Bengali alphabet. Since “ra” comes first, place the “ra” first. The next letter is “sa.” Place that after “sa.” Thus, you get the word “rasa.” Figure 2.1 demonstrates this concept.

Figure 2.1

Let’s use this technique with some more words.

EXAMPLE 2: “nagara” (town [Bengali]).

STEP 1: Break the word down through its syllables.

“Khabara” can be broken down into three syllables: “kha” “ba” and “ra

STEP 2: Find the letters of the word and put them sequential order.

Recall the letters for “na”, “ga” and “ra” on the Devanagari alphabet.

Since “na” comes first, place the “na” first.

The next letter in line is “ga.” Place the “ga” after the “na.” So far, we got “naga

The last letter is “ra.” Place the “ra” after the “ga” in “naga”. You get “nagara.” Figure 2.2 demonstrates this concept.

Figure 2.2

 

TRANSLITERATING WORDS IN BENGALI

Reading Bengali words and transliterating them in order to read them is just as important as spelling them. The process of going about that is very similar to that of spelling the words.

 

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

 

Let’s look at a nice short word.

EXAMPLE 1:

Figure 2.3

Let’s apply the steps:

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

This is done in Figure 2.4

Figure 2.4

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

Clearly, this is two letters long. It is split in the above Figure.

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

Very obvious that “gha” + “ra” = “ghara.” In Bengali, this means “house.”

 

Let’s another one.

EXAMPLE 2:

Figure 2.5

Let’s apply the steps:

STEP ONE: Break all letters down. Each letter is one syllable long.

This is done in Figure 2.6

Figure 2.4

STEP TWO: Identify the letters in order

Clearly, this is three letters long. It is split in the above Figure.

STEP THREE: Convert them into the transliteration scheme and say the word.

Very obvious that “na” + “ya” + “na” = “nayana.” In Bengali, this means “eye.”

 

PRACTICE:

Try spelling these words using Bengali Script:

1. japa (personal chanting in Bengali)

2. caraṇa (feet in Bengali)

3. bana (forest in Bengali)

4. hajama (digestion in Bengali)

 

Try reading the words from the Bengali script.

ANSWERS to Lesson 2

UPDATED: June 16, 2009