I.-CENTRAL OR STANDARD BENGALI,
The Central Dialect of Bengali, as spoken by the educated classes, is that usnally
taken as the standard of polite conversation. It is the one illustrated in the foregoing
grammatical sketch, and further account of it is unnecessary*
It is the language of the town of Calcutta and of the Districts of the Twenty-four-
Parganas, Naclia, Murshidabad, Hooghly, and Howrah. It is also spoken in the east of
the District of Burdwanby about, in round numbers, 320,000 people, and in the eastern
and northern portions of Midnapore, by another 1,506,100. These last two figures are
only approximate. In Burdwan, especially, it is impossible to fix a dividing line, and to
say definitely, or even approximately, that on one side of it Central, and on the other
Western Bengali is spoken. All that can be said is that probably a million people in
Burdwan speak Western Bengali, and, in that case, as the total number of Bengali
speakers in the district is 1,319,586, the remainder should be shown as speating the
standard form of the language. Regarding the boundary between Central and South-.
Western Bengali, in the Midnapore District, vide the remarks on p. 96 post, together
with the accompanying map. "With these limitations, we may say that the Central or
Standard dialect of Bengali is spoken by the folio wing number of persons:—
Name of District.
Number of speakers.
24-Parganas • *.
Calcutta. * » . %
furdw&n • * * * *
Midnapore * - » »
The first specimen comes from Calcutta, and is a good example of the high-flown,
Sartskriti&ed, style used in modern literature. In order to illustrate Bengali hand-
writing, a facsimile is given of the manuscript, which may be compared with the
printed copies in the Bengali and Roman characters.
Besiies the strict letter for letter transliteration of the original, an attempt has
been made to illustrate the sounds of the words in this and subsequent specimens by
an interlinear phonetic transcription, which is printed in italic type.
As such high-flown language is rarely used in conversation, it must be understood
that the phpnetic transcription, which represents (in the present instance), so far as is
possible, the colloquial pronunciation of an educated man speaking with some care,
haxdly represents the pronunciation which he would adopt in reading it. Such
highly Sanskritized Bengali would probably be read ore rotunda, and would sound more
nearly like the written words, than would Ibc usual in the conversation of eyen the most