Celebrating linguistic diversity on International Mother Language Day

It’s Thursday evening in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I am late for an appointment to see my friend Shimanto (lit. boundary [Sanskrit]). On the street I shout ‘ei mama jaben?' (Hey uncle, will
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It’s Thursday evening in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I am late for an appointment to see my friend Shimanto (lit. boundary [Sanskrit]). On the street I shout ‘ei mama jaben?’ (Hey uncle, will you go? [Bangla]) to catch an auto-rickshaw (auto [English] man-powered-wheeler [Japanese]). After striking the deal, I sit inside the three-wheeler. As the young driver speeds up almost hitting passers-by and curses ‘jyam khub kharap!’ (Traffic jam [English] is very bad! [Persian]), I recollect the writing at the back of the car: ‘allāḥ sarvaśaktimān’ (God [Arabic] almighty [Sanskrit]). After a while, we safely arrive the destination. As we part, I say ‘dhanyavāda’ (Thank you [Sanskrit]). dekha hobe! (See you! [Bangla]) and the driver returns ‘xoda ḥafīẓ!’ (God [Persian] be with you! [Arabic]). Everyday conversation in Bangla is thus rich with linguistic diversity. Bangla is the national language of Bangladesh, which Bangladeshis are very proud of. However,. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Linguistics

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