That is “hello” in Bengali. This week – I am starting my language lessons in earnest. My goal in the 3 or so months before I leave is to understand and know the alphabet, know how to count, and know some helpful words and phrases. If I’m looking at the romanized transliteration (like you see in the subject) I can do pretty well. The alphabet is a definite challenge because it is sooooooooooo different. I mean… I learned Russian and picked up the alphabet pretty quickly. But this… God give me grace and wit to learn it!
We had a team meeting this week to go over the packing list and some useful information about customs, where we would be staying, and other cultural tips. We plan to meet at Bombay Palace in a couple of weeks for lunch and an opportunity to get to know each other a bit better before the trip in a social setting.
Several of us have been watching this video series.
Matt and Bethany asked me to send out emails with some of the things that I’ve been learning about India. So, I will be starting a series called Missions Monday. Here is yesterday’s email:
Here are some online resources for learning basic Bengali words and phrases. They aren’t showing you the Bengali script but if you want to learn to say hello (namakar) or water (jal) and the like, these are good places to go:
Learn Bengali words (this video is kind of annoying but there are more links to other Bengali language videos on the side. The same user has a counting video which is a flashback to 1970’s Sesame Street)
Virtual Bangladesh – Learn Survival Bengali
Talking Bees – Learn Bengali (their promotional youtube clips nicely gathered in one place)
And your trivia note:
Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan, formed when the British partitioned India into secular/Hindu and Muslim countries in 1947. The Indian state of Bengal was divided into Hindu and Muslim parts – West and East Bengal respectively.
In 1971, the Indian government supported a revolution in East Bengal/Pakistan to become its own country. Pakistan didn’t recognize Bangladesh as a country until 1974, 3 years after the war.
Of course, I could go on and on about that 1971 war and its geopolitical impact… because that kind of stuff fascinates me. I do have a major in that after all. I remember Stacy, she was a year ahead of me, did her major paper in International Relations on India/Pakistan, their nuclear ambitions and the fight over Kashmir. How the US got involved because Nixon believed it would be another way to stop the Soviet spread across Southeast Asia. Or the 1947 partition of India and how we still feel its impact today on a global scale.
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