The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

The Bengali Language and the History of its Evolution

Some data about the Bengali language The Bengali language, also called Bangla, is the official and national language of Bangladesh, but not the only one. “Bangla” is written বাংলা in the Bengali script. This writing system (brahmic script) is the 6th most widely used one in the world. The original inhabitants of the Bengal region of Southwest Asia are the Bengalis. 98 % of Bangladeshi people speak Bengali as their first language. It is also one of the official languages of India. Indeed, 7.1 % of Indians speak it. It is the most widely spoken of the 22 languages of India, after Hindi. Other communities speak it, for example in Pakistan, in the UK or in the USA. In a nutshell, it is the 5th most spoken language by native speakers in the world. It is also the 7th most spoken language by the total number of speakers. There are around 267 million speakers, of which 230 million are native. The evolution of the Bengali language The Bengali language can be traced back to 3500 B.C. to the Indo-European language family. Many assume that it was born from Sanskrit. But scholars and linguists believe that it derives from Indo-Aryan languages like Magadhi Prakrit and Pali. Modern Bengali uses words taken from Turkish, Portuguese, Persian or English, for example. We can divide the evolution of the Bengali language into three stages: Old Bengali, Middle Bengali and Modern Bengali. Old Bengali dates back to around 650 A.D. when priests and scholars widely used Sanskrit in literary works in Bengal. However, this is a bit of a dark area in the history...
English Language Etymology from a French Perspective

English Language Etymology from a French Perspective

English is the product of many cultures and despite being of Germanic origin, an important part of English language etymology finds its source in the French language. In Twenty Years After – the sequel to The Three Musketeers by French novelist Alexandre Dumas – D’Artagnan said “English is little more than badly pronounced French”. Several years later, George Clémenceau (early 20th century French PM) said the same. Is there any truth in their claim? To find out, we need to go back in time and look at English language etymology in its historical context. But first, here are a few useful definitions. English Language Etymology: Definitions Cognates Cognates are words that share a common ancestry. True cognates might not be instantly recognizable; they only share the same etymology. But they can also have the same spelling and meaning, or they can be loanwords or calques. They can be close cognates (same meaning but slight variation in spelling) and even false cognates (or “false friends” – same spelling but different meaning). For example: True cognates: to attest < attester, from Latin ad-testari, curfew < couvre-feu, from the Old French cuevrefeu (used in the Middle Ages when fires had to be covered and people had to be home and off the streets by a certain time), coward < couard, Old French.Close cognates: analytique > analytical, créatif > creative, banque > bank.False friends: magasin (FR) = shop (EN) not magazine (publication), douche (FR) = shower (EN) not douche (EN) (medical term or type of person), bras (FR) = arm (EN) not bra (EN) (undergarment). Read more about the etymology of words between...
Lunar New Year of the Ox – Welcome!

Lunar New Year of the Ox – Welcome!

Who celebrates the Lunar New Year? China and other Asian countries celebrate the Lunar New Year, also referred to as Chinese Chunjie, Korean Solnal, Vietnamese Tet, Tibetan Losar, or more commonly as the Spring Festival. In 2021, we welcome the Lunar New Year of the Ox! The origins of the Lunar New Year festival take place thousands of years ago with the legend of the Nian. Nian was a terrible monster that devoured human flesh on New Year’s Day. The stories explain that the beast was afraid of loud noises, fire and of the colour red. Consequently, during the celebration, fireworks are lit, red lanterns are hung and a lion made out of several people in costumes walks the streets.  When does it take place? The festivities begin with the first new moon of the lunar calendar and end 15 days later, on the first full moon. The dates of the holiday vary from one year to the other as they follow the cycles of the moon. The holiday usually takes place between the 21st January and the 20th February of the Gregorian Calendar. In addition, a few days before the New Year, the sweeping of the ground starts: people fully clean their houses in the hope of getting rid of all the lingering bad vibes. It is customary for people celebrating Chinese New Year to give each other small red envelopes containing money. Furthermore, the Lantern Festival takes place on the last day of the Lunar New Year’s celebrations. If you are lucky enough to be in a place that celebrates it, you will find yourself amazed and...
Taiwanese Culture: What is it? How is it different from China?

Taiwanese Culture: What is it? How is it different from China?

Taiwan & China Taiwan and China’s relationship is quite politically charged and controversial. However, regardless of whether one views Taiwan as part of China or not, there is a common misconception that life in Taiwan and China is exactly the same. However, Taiwanese culture and linguistic differences from Mainland China are quite interesting to learn about. Let’s go over a few of them! Taiwanese Culture: Convenience Stores Similarly to convenience store culture in Japan, Taiwan’s convenience stores are nothing to scoff at. Practically every street has at least one store, the most common being Family Mart and 7-Eleven, which are open 24/7. In fact, Taiwan has the second highest convenience store density in the world! True to their name, you can conveniently buy surprisingly high quality meals, snacks, baked goods, and you can even pay with the local public transit pass. Not only that, but you can also: Buy hot foodPay parking tickets and other finesPay your taxesSend moneyAnd more! How did Taiwan’s convenience stores become so widespread? The first 7-Eleven opened in 1979, but only became a profitable business in 1986. Coincidentally, the Japanese Family Mart opened up in Taiwan in 1988 – around the same time when 7-Eleven became profitable in Taiwan. Other smaller convenience store chains followed soon after. Convenience stores became so prominent because they were firmly able to integrate into Taiwanese culture and daily life, and their services have only been expanding since. Taiwanese Culture: Night Markets Taiwan has a bustling night market culture. These markets are either permanent or temporary night-time popups, and attract large crowds of people who go to play games,...
The Italian language in Italy and worldwide: How many speakers?

The Italian language in Italy and worldwide: How many speakers?

How many people speak the Italian language all around the world? Italy has a total population of 60 million people and the official language is Italian. 61,860,418 people speak Italian as a native language. In addition, 16,957,243 people speak Italian worldwide as non-native speakers. What is the Italian language related to? Talking about the Italian language obviously takes you to stereotypes related to it. Let’s go over these together: “Italians are pizza and spaghetti eaters.” Yeah, that could be true. Italians eat pasta almost every day and pizza once a week, even if they are on a diet! “Italians talk with their hands.” It’s a scientific truth: everybody gesticulates to express themselves in a better way, but yes, let’s consider this stereotype true too. “Italians are loud.” No less than our Spanish, German and English neighbours! 😉 “Italians are always late.” It depends on the appointment. We’re hardly ever late for work. If it’s a meeting with friends, that’s another matter. “Italians drink espresso and cappuccino all day long.” INCORRECT. We meet for coffee to spend time with our loved ones. Cappuccino is only for breakfast, unlike other cultures. “Italians are disorganized.” Try telling that to my best friend. She is one of the most organized people I have ever known. And she managed to make me an organized person too! “Italians can’t speak English.” Of course, it’s not easy to get rid of our distinctive accent but that’s not true. At least, we try! 😊 Curious facts about the Italian language It derives from vernacular Latin (as opposed to ancient Latin). When Latin merged with the languages of...
Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World. How people celebrate it?

Valentine’s Day Traditions Around the World. How people celebrate it?

How many Valentine’s Traditions do you know? Valentine’s Day, on February 14th, is the second-largest card-giving day of the year, just after Christmas! On that note, if you forgot to read about Christmas traditions, take a look here! As for Valentine’s, people celebrate it in many different ways around the world. How people celebrate lovers’ day? Let’s check it out! The History of Valentine’s Day Around the world, this day is celebrated in the name of Saint Valentine. But who was he? Saint Valentine lived during the 3rd century in Rome, under emperor Claudius II. Claudius thought that single men were better soldiers than married ones so he outlawed marriage for young soldiers. Valentine thought it was an injustice and started to perform secret wedding ceremonies for people upon request. When the emperor found out, he ordered his murder. Gradually, word spread about Valentine and couples all over the world started celebrating Valentine’s day as a day of love. Valentine’s Day in Argentina Argentinians don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in February but during “the week of sweetness” in July. During this week, lovers exchange kisses and receive chocolates every day! We at LingoStar believe that exceptions and differences make the world an extraordinary place to live in! Don’t you? Lovers’ Day in France France is considered the country where Valentine’s Day originated, and the first Valentine’s Day card was sent. Moreover, on this day, people decorated yards, trees and homes with love cards, roses and proposals for marriage. Unquestionably, this is probably the most romantic tradition in the world! Lovers’ Day in South Korea In South Korea, people celebrate the day...