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Bengali Alphabet #5: Consonant Clusters and Diacritics

Welcome to the final Bengali script lesson! After this, we’ll dive fully into grammar and vocabulary. 

Thus far, we have only looked at words with simple syllable structures of consonant + vowel. When you have clusters of consonants, you have to create conjucts, or combinations of consonant letters. Most of the time, you can look at a conjunct and tell what the constituent consonants are:
+ ক = ক্ক kkô
donto shô + প = স্প spô (remember that in conjuncts স represents [s])
+ প = ম্প mpô

Here are some examples of words with conjuncts:
কষ্ট kôshṭo (ষ murdhônno shô + ট ṭô = ষ্ট shṭô)
ছন্দ chôndo (ন donto nô + দ = ndô)
কণ্ঠ kônṭho (ণ murdhônno nô + ঠ ṭhô = ণ্ঠ nṭhô)

bôy shunno rô and ল have special forms when they come after a consonant called rôphola and lôphola, respectively:
+ র = গ্র grô, শ talobbo shô + র = শ্র srô, ত + র = ত্র trô, etc.
+ ল = ল্ল llô, শ talobbo shô + ল = শ্ল slô, ক + ল = ক্ল klô

When র bôy shunno rô comes before a consonant, it takes the form of a reph, which looks kind of like an accent mark:
+ ত = র্ত rtô, র + ক = র্ক rkô

When য ôntohstho jô and ব come after a consonant, they take the form of jôphola and bôphola. Jôphola looks like a squiggly line, while bôphola is a small form of ব . These have the effect of double the consonant they’re attached to.
+ য = দ্য ddô, ব + য = ব্য bbô, ন + য = ন্য nnô
+ ব = দ্ব ddô, ত + ব = ত্ব ttô, however ম + ব = ম্ব mbô

In a lot of cases, especially at the beginning of a word, jôphola before অ shôre ô or আ shôre a can change the vowel to the sound ê, except at the end of a word. For example:
ব্যাকরণ bêkôron (grammar)
অন্যান্য ônnênno (other)
ইংল্যান্ড inglênḍ (England)
but বিদ্যা bidda (learning)

The conjuncts ত্ম tmô and দ্ম dmô are pronounced ttô and ddô respectively.
আত্ম atto (soul)
পদ্মা pôdda (Padma River)

Some conjuncts are just irregular formed:
+ র = ত্র trô (পত্র pôtro leaf)
+ র = ক্র krô (ক্রিয়া kriya action)
+ ত = ক্ত ktô (যুক্ত jukto combined)
bhô + র = ভ্র bhrô (অভ্র ôbhro cloud, sky)
ĩô + চ = ঞ্চ ncô (অঞ্চল ôncol region)
ĩô + জ borgiyo jô = ঞ্জ njô (গঞ্জ gônj village)
+ ঞ ĩô = জ্ঞ ggô (বিজ্ঞান biggan science)
donto shô + থ thô = স্থ sthô (অবস্থা ôbostha condition)
donto nô + থ thô = ন্থ nthô (গ্রন্থ grôntho book)
+ থ thô = ত্থ tthô (তুত্থ tuttho copper sulfate)
donto nô + ধ dhô = ন্ধ ndhô (বন্ধ bôndho closed)
+ ধ dhô = দ্ধ ddhô
murdhônno shô + ট ṭô = ষ্ট shṭô (কষ্ট kôshṭo difficult)
murdhônno shô + ঠ ṭhô = ষ্ঠ shṭô (ষষ্ঠ shôshṭho sixth)
murdhônno shô + ণ murdhônno nô = ষ্ণ shnô (কৃষ্ণ krishno Krishna)
ũô + ক = ঙ্ক ngkô (অঙ্ক ôngko math)
ũô + গ = ঙ্গ nggô (বঙ্গ bônggo Bengal)
ṭô + ট ṭô = ট্ট ṭṭô (চট্টগ্রাম côṭṭogram Chittagong)
murdhônno nô + ড ḍô = ণ্ড nḍô (দণ্ড dônḍo stick)
+ ম = হ্ম hmô (ব্রহ্ম brôhmo Brahma)
+ ষ murdhônno shô = ক্ষ khiyô
This is a special case. ক্ষ khiyô is often considered a separate letter that sounds like খ khô at the beginning of a word and ক্খ kkhô elsewhere. For example, the word for letter is অক্ষর ôkkhor, and the word for hunger is ক্ষুদা khuda.
ক্ষ khiyô + ম = ক্ষ্ম kkhô (লক্ষ্মী lokkhi Lakshmi)


Let’s put your new knowledge to practice! This is the first two stanzas of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore, a prolific Bengali poet. It has a good mix of both simple and complex as well as both long and short words. Refer back to previous lessons if you need to. Try transliterating it (the answer is below, don’t peek!)

মন মোর মেঘের সঙ্গী,
উড়ে চলে দিগ্‌‍দিগন্তের পানে
নিঃসীম শূন্যে শ্রাবণবর্ষণসঙ্গীতে
রিমিঝিম   রিমিঝিম   রিমিঝিম॥
মন মোর হংসবলাকার পাখায় যায় উড়ে
ক্বচিৎ ক্বচিৎ চকিত তড়িত-আলোকে।
ঝঞ্ঝনমঞ্জীর বাজায় ঝঞ্ঝা রুদ্র আনন্দে।
কলো কলো কলমন্দ্রে নির্ঝরিণী
ডাক দেয় প্রলয়-আহবানে


The answer (don’t peek until you’ve tried it!)
mon mor megher shonggi,
uṛe côle digdigônter pane
nisshimo shunne srabonobôrshonoshonggite
rimijhim rimijhim rimijhim.
mon mor hôngshobôlakar pakhay jay uṛe
kocit kocit cokito toṛito-aloke.
jhônjhônomonjir bajay jhônjha rudro anonde
kôlo kôlo kôlomondre nirjhorini
ḍak dêy prolôy-ahobane


That’s it for our coverage of the Bengali script! If you have any last questions, feel free to send us an ask. Grammar and vocab lessons are coming soon!

So much crocheted goodness here, but today, we’re focusing on the Hexagon Pillow made by rettgrayson.  I found this on Flickr.  Here’s what she says about the piece:

I started this project almost a year ago, and finally finished! Crocheted in Biggan Design wool, and using Lucy’s (Attic 24) hexagon how-to pattern. The pillow measures approx. 60cm x 30cm, and I finished the ends with some pompom trim.