BRIEF GUIDE TO THE PRONUNCIATION OF BENGALI CHARACTERS

BENGALI VOWELS

 

  | ক 

ই  | কি

উ  | কু

ঋ  | কৃ 

এ  | কে

ও  | কো

Short

a | ka

i | ki

u | ku

rri | krri

e | ke

o | ko

 

Washington (~“å”)

pill

pull

dribble

pegging

pond

 

| কা

ঈ  | কী

ঊ  | কূ 

 

ঐ  | কৈ

ঔ  | কৌ

Long

aa | kaa

ii | kii

uu | kuu

 

ee | kee

oo | koo

 

far

pizza

pollution

 

point

pole, pound

 

 অ্যা  | ক্যা

  | ক্ 

 

| কং

| কঃ

ঁ  | কঁ 

Extra

a | ka (kyaa)

senza vocale

 

n° | kan°

hha | kahh

^ | ka^

 

apple

black_

 

sing

Judah had

ankle

 

BENGALI CONSONANTS

Guttural
- in the throat

ক 

খ 

গ 

ঘ 

ঙ 

হ 

ka

kha

ga

gha

n¹a

ha

hha

keen

rockhead

got

slagheap

donkey

happy

Judah had

Palatal
- on the palate

চ 

ছ 

জ 

ঝ 

ঞ 

য় 

শ 

ca

cha

ja

jha

n²a

ya

sha

match

matchhead

Jehovah, joy

hedgehog

enjoy

yes

dishes

Cerebral
or Retroflexive
- with the tongue bent back on the roof of the mouth

ট 

ঠ 

ড 

ঢ 

ণ 

র 

ষ 

ta

tha

da

dha

na

ra (rotolo)

sa

alter

malthouse

holder

goldhammer

filename

red

rashly

 

 

ড় 

ঢ় 

 

য 

 

 

 

ra

rha

 

ya

 

 

 

millrun

myrrh lump

 

Jehovah, joy

 

Dentale
- on the teeth

ত 

থ 

দ 

ধ 

ন 

ল 

স  / স্+ত/প

ta

tha

da

dha

na

la

sa / s+t/p

panting

anthill

beds

bedheads

bending

led

washroom / stop

Labial
- on the lips

প 

ফ 

ব 

ভ 

ম 

(ব) / ব 

pa

pha

ba

bha

ma

(va) / ba

hha

peace

uphold

bob

nibholder

mop

(advise)
bob

Judah had

Other

 

 

 

 

  

ওয়া

 

 

 

 

n^

oyaa (waa)

 

 

 

 

sing

ankle

qualms, (web)

Note in particular: -

The vowels can be short or long
• “a” is pronounced with the short “a” sound (~“å”) in “Washington” (and a short “o” in “off”)
• “aa” has a long sound like “aa” in “Aardvaak” (and “a” in “far”)
• “e” sounds like “e” in “Jehovah” and “pegging”
• “ee” has a long sound modified into a diphthong like “oi” in “point”
• “oo” has a long sound modified into a diphthong either like “ou” in “pound” and “ow” in “power” or like “oa” in “oak”

The consonants can be either held or huffed (breathed)
• “g” sounds like “g” in “good” (not like “g” in “general”)
• “c” sounds like “c” in “cello” and “tch” in “match” (not like in “cellar” or in “cook”)
• “j” and “y” both have the sound of “j” as in “jazz” or in “Jehovah”
•“-oyaa” (a compound syllable in the absence of a “w” character in Bengali) sounds like “ua” in “qualms” or “wa” in “How are you?”
• The three different sibilants (sh, s, s) all sound almost like “ʃ” in “dishes”, but they do differ slightly
• “s” before  “t”, “th”, “p”, or “ph” sounds like “s” in “stare”
• “h” must always be heard, breathed with some force as in “happy” and “hi-fi”

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© 2017 Jaspell  (Jasper Burford and Ellen Burford)  Date of last edit: 2 April 2017