Languages of Bangladesh
|Languages of Bangladesh|
|Official languages||Literary Bengali|
|Regional languages||Chittagonian Bengali, Sylheti Bengali, Chakma language|
|Main immigrant languages||Bihari, Burmese, Rohingya|
The official language of Bangladesh is Modern Standard Bengali (Literary Bengali). Although the country is home to 38 different languages, Bengali is spoken by all of the population, with 98% of Bangladeshis fluent in Standard Bengali or Bengali dialects as their first language. The indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts and tribal communities in northern Bangladesh, however, speak their own indigenous languages. Bangladesh is also home to Hindustani-speaking migrants from India and Pakistan, as well as Burmese and Arakanese-speaking migrants from Myanmar.1
English, though not having official status, is widely prevalent across government, law, business, media (newspapers), culture and education, and can be regarded as the de-facto co-official language of Bangladesh.2
The lowlands of Bangladesh form the eastern half of the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal, and the Bengali language is spoken the majority of the country's inhabitants. There are also some Eastern Indic language varieties, which are variously classified either as dialects of Bengali or separate but closely related languages. They can be thought of forming a dialect continuum.
- Bengali-Assamese branch:
- Assamese: almost universally considered a separate language from Bengali, although it can be considered as part of a larger Bengali-Assamese dialect continuum. Also a major language of Assam State, India.
- Bishnupriya Manipuri
- Bengali proper: spoken all over the country.
- Chakma: spoken in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Unrelated to the Tibeto-Burman languages more commonly found in the region.
- Hajong: originally a Tibeto-Burman language that has shifted over time to an Indic language.
- Rohingya: spoken in Arakan State, Burma, and by refugees from that region, currently living in Bangladesh's Chittagong Division. While it is also often called Arkani by native speakers, it is unrelated to the Rakhine of Arakan State.
- Tangchangya: spoken in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Unrelated to the Tibeto-Burman languages more commonly found in the region.
- Oraon Sadri: also a major language of Jharkhand State, India.
- [Bihari language]: spoken primarily by Muslim refugees from Bihar State, India.
The mountainous areas along the northern and eastern edges of the Indian Subcontinent are inhabited primarily by speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages. Indigenous Tibeto-Burman-speaking communities are found through the northern, eastern, and especially the southeastern parts of Bangladesh.
- Chin languages:
- Garo: also a major language of Meghalaya State, India
- Meitei Manipuri: also a major language of Manipur State, India
- Mizo: also a major language of Mizoram State, India
- Rakhine/Marma: also a major language of Arakan State, Burma
- Tripuri languages: a major language group of Tripura State, India
While the more widely-spoken and better-known Austroasiatic languages are spoken in Southeast Asia (e.g. Khmer and Vietnamese), smaller languages of that family are spoken by indigenous communities of northern and eastern Bangladesh.
Two Dravidian languages are spoken by indigenous communities of western Bangladesh.
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