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Bengali Language Courses

Why learn Bengali?

Bengali is an Indo Aryan language spoken in the Indian subcontinent. It is the national language of Bangladesh and the official language of some eastern and north-eastern states of India (West Bengal, Tripura, and Cachar district in Assam). Over 282 million people speak Bengali making it the seventh most spoken language in the world. Bengali is the fourth most common immigrant language in the United Kingdom.

Bengali originated from Sanskrit and Prakrit around 1000AD. The Bengali language has a diverse literary tradition in Asia. Bengali Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote the national anthems of both Bangladesh (Amar Sonar Bangla) and India (Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka). Bengali writer Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote India's national song Vande Mataram, personifying India as a mother goddess and inspiring the activists during the Indian Independence Movement.

Knowing the fourth common foreign language in the UK opens various career options in tourism, interpretation, education and research. Bengali is an optional foreign language in GCSE and A-Level; currently, there is a shortage of qualified Bengali teachers in the UK.

Why study Bengali with the Centre for Foreign Language Study?

At Durham, we teach standardised Bengali. The knowledge of Bengali helps to communicate with the Bengali people, to understand the Bengali culture, history and tradition. Bengali may also be of interest to heritage learners.

Extra-curricular courses

We offer evening courses in Bengali with October and April start dates. These courses are open to Durham University students, staff and members of the public. To see whether we currently have a Bengali course on offer, please visit our course listings.

If you would like to be notified when we next have a Bengali course on offer, please fill out this form.

View of the Hooghly River, India from Prinsep Ghat at sunset