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Writing Bangla

Computers generally come with an English Keyboard. This is convenient when you want to write English. Each key on the keyboard produces the corresponding letter on the screen. As an example, let us look at the Keyboard that comes with Apple MacOS Sierra.

You should press the keys "i want to write" to produce the intended text. If you held down the Shift key while pressing "i" you would have generated "I".

If you want to write Bangla with the English Keyboard, there is no 1-to-1 correspondence to produce the Bangla Text. For this, both Microsoft and Apple will offer a IME, described in Wikipedia as:

An input method (or input method editor, commonly abbreviated IME) is an operating system component or program that allows any data, such as keyboard strokes or mouse movements, to be received as input. In this way users can enter characters and symbols not found on their input devices. Using an input method is obligatory for any language that has more graphemes than there are keys on the keyboard.

The standard Bangla IME on the Mac is called Bangla and looks like this:

Notice that if you used the IMEs, you have to memorize the keys and the key combination that produces the Bangla letter of your choice. There is no memory aid to help you remember that প is h and ফ গে ফ. Many Bangla teachers just tell you to memorize keyboards. The IMEs on a Mac are different from those on a PC and mobile devices don't work with these any of these.

Writing Bangla on Any Platform, on Any Device with no memorizing

When you are creating Bangla content online, for example, "posting" on Facebook, you will generally:
  1. Want to type fast, using the English keyboard
  2. Be using common Bangla words,
  3. Would like to have a tolerant input processor that puts in the correct spelling through a dictionary compare
  4. End up with a block of Unicode Bangla text that you can further operate on.

Three Methods of Writing Bangla

a) The Visual Bangla Writer

The first method is to display a virtual Bangla keyboard through software. You click on the Bangla key you want and that Bangla letter is rendered on the screen. This works well, but because of unfamiliarity of the Bangla keyboard, it will tend to be a little slow. Also, since there is no spelling validation, the user is expected to enter the correct spelling. A multiple word spellcheck has been added to the app to allow a separate spellcheck when needed.

Here the Visual keyboard is used to write আমার নাম সুপ্রিয় । amar nam supriyo . which is My name is Supriyo. In this example, vowels, vowel signs, consonants and a compound consonant or conjunct is used.

b) The Phonetic Bangla Writer

The second method is to enter the phonetic English equivalents and build up the Bangla word, letter by letter. Since we are constructing the Bangla word, it is possible to look up a dictionary and provide a lookahead to potential words that can be made from the fragment we have. In addition, we can validate the spelling of the fragment we already have.

The Phonetic transliteration table used here has been constructed to reflect the Bangla pronunciation as closely as possible.

You will find that amar nam supriyo will be transliterated to আমার নাম সুপ্রিয় which means My name is Supriyo. You will be using this table extensively as you use the Phonetic Writer. The software will intelligently use vowel signs and compound consonants as needed.

In this example of the Phonetic Writer, you can see that the phonetic English and the created Bangla both retained, and a running dictionary lookup and lookahead is shown as you enter the word.

c) The Google Bangla Writer

If you are a native Bangla speaker, or are experienced in Bangla, there is a third method of Bangla input based on technique used by Google for rendering Bangla. In this method, instead of converting the phonetic English to Bangla letter by letter, the Bangla word is created after the full word has been entered. This is triggered by a space or a punctuation mark at the end of the word. Because the whole word is available, Google looks up its global dictionary (also used for Google Translate) and finds the most prevalent Bangla spelling for the phonetic English entered.

The phonetic English can be substantially simplified especially for letters that sound the same and there is no need to differentiate, say the 3 s sounds as “s”, “sh” and “Sh”.

An example of entering “amar” and “ses” into the Google writer is shown in the video here.

Additional features have been added to this app based on user feedback. For instance, a multiple word spellchecker is available. Since many people write Bangla in here and then email it or Post it on Facebook, the capability to do that has been added.

The Google Writer is the fastest choice for Bangla writing and is the choice of the registrants who write books, articles and stories for a living.

A Set of Common Bangla Words to Practice Writing

Bangla
Word
Phonetic
Pronunciation
English
Meaning
Part of
Speech
Consonants and Vowels
 অংশ  ongsho  part   noun 
 আজ  aj  today   noun 
 ঈগল  Igol  eagle   noun 
 উট  uT  camel   noun 
 এবং  ebong  and   conjunction 
 গরম  gorom  hot   adjective 
 দল  dol  group   noun 
 নখ  nokh  nail   noun 
 পথ  poth  way   noun 
 বউ  bou  wife   noun 
 মত  moto  like   preposition 
 রং  rong  colors   noun 
 সময়  somoy  time   noun 
Consonants, Vowels and Vowel Signs
 অনেক  onek  many   adjective 
 আকাশ  akash  sky   noun 
 উপরে  upore  above   preposition 
 একটু  ekoTu  a little   adverb 
 এখনো  ekhonO  yet   conjunction 
 ওরা  Ora  they   pronoun 
 কথা বলা  kotha bola  speak   verb 
 কপাল  kopal  forehead   noun 
 করা  kora  do   verb 
 কলা  kola  banana   noun 
 কুকুর  kukur  dog   noun 
 খারাপ  kharap  bad   adjective 
 গরু  goru  cow   noun 
 ঘাস  ghas  grass   noun 
 চামড়া  chamoRa  skin   noun 
 চিল  chil  kite   noun 
 ছবি  chhobi  pictures   noun 
 জিনিস  jinis  thing   noun 
 টুপি  Tupi  hat   noun 
 ডিম  Dim  egg   noun 
 তাড়াতাড়ি  taRataRi  quickly   adverb 
 থেকে  theke  from   preposition 
 দাদা  dada  elder brother   noun 
 ধারে  dhare  along   preposition 
 নাক  nak  nose   noun 
 নাচা  nacha  dance   verb 
 পরে  pore  after   preposition 
 ফুলকপি  phulokopi  cauliflower   noun 
 বলা  bola  say   verb 
 বাবা  baba  father   noun 
 ভাই  bhai  younger brother   noun 
 মা  ma  mother   noun 
 যাওয়া  JaOya  go   verb 
 রাখা  rakha  put   verb 
 লাল  lal  red   adjective 
 শরীর  shorIr  body   noun 
 সকাল  sokal  morning   noun 
 হলদে  holode  yellow   adjective 
 হাত  hat  hand   noun 
 হারানো  haranO  lose   verb 
Consonants, Conjunct Consonants, Vowels, Vowel Signs
 অন্য  onYo  other   adjective 
 উত্তর দেওয়া  uttor deOya  reply   verb 
 কিন্তু  kintu  but   conjunction 
 চিন্তা করা  chinta kora  worry   verb 
 চেষ্টা করা  cheShTa kora  try   verb 
 জন্মানো  jonmanO  born   verb 
 ঠান্ডা  ThanDa  cold   adjective 
 দক্ষিণ দিক  dokShiN dik  south   noun 
 দর্কার হওয়া  dorkar hoOya  need   verb 
 পরিষ্কার করা  poriShkar kora  clean   verb 
 প্রতি  proti  to   preposition 
 বন্ধ করা  bondho kora  shut   verb 
 বাচ্চা  bachcha  child   noun 
 বিক্রি করা  bikri kora  sell   verb 
 রক্ত  rokto  blood   noun 
 সন্ধ্যা  sondhYa  evening   noun 
 সপ্তাহ  soptaho  week   noun 
 সূর্য  sUrJo  sun   noun 
 স্ত্রী  strI  wife   noun 
 স্বামী  swamI  husband   noun