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Bangla Rules!
Making Flawless (and Grammatically Correct) Sentences in Bangla
by Learning 10 Rules and 400 Words

 
Supriyo Sen
October 2015, Toronto, Canada

Table of Contents
Click on Chapter
  1. Words, Parts of Speech and Rules in a Language
  2. Structure of a Sentence
    Rule I. The Sentence Rule
  3. Noun - Names of Persons, Places and Things
    Rule II. The minimal Subject/Object - Noun, Determiner, Pronoun
  4. Determiner - Points to a Specific Instance of a Noun
    Rule III. The Common Determiner Rule
    Rule IV. The Possessive Case Determiner for Nouns and Pronouns
  5. Pronoun - Replaces a Noun
    Rule V. Pronoun Rule
  1. Verb - Words of Action
    Rule VI. Verb Conjugation Forms
  2. Adjective - Add Description to a Noun
    Rule VII. The Adjective Rule
  3. Adverb - Add Description to a Verb
    Rule VIII. The Adverb Rule
  4. Preposition/Postposition - Add Location Information to a Noun
    Rule IX. The Preposition Rule
  5. Conjunctions - Joining words or phrases
    Rule X. The Conjunction Rule
  6. Punctuation
  7. Appendix - More on Verb Conjugation
Essential Vocabulary:
Nouns |  Determiners-Common |  Determiners-Possessive Case |  Pronouns |  Verbs |  Adjectives |  Adverbs |  Pre/Post-positions |  Conjunctions

Words, Parts of Speech and Rules in a Language

All languages consist of words (Vocabulary) and a set of rules (Grammar) that put these words together into a sentence.


Words are the most basic elements of human communication. Each language has words for every item the speaker needs to communicate with others. Words are categorized by their usage, into Grammatical Parts of Speech. For example, Nouns are words that are used for names of persons, places or things, and Verbs are words for actions.

Phrases are constructed out of one or more related words.

Sentences are made up of a sequence of Phrases. A sentence in any language is the minimum set of words that will communicate a complete idea.

Words in a language are assigned a "Part of Speech(POS)" based on how the word is used.

The 8 main Parts of Speech in English are shown below. For simple conversation, the minimal vocabulary for each Part of Speech (POS) is also shown. As you can see you need to learn at least 414 words and their variations to be able to initiate a conversation in Bangla.

Part of SpeechUsageStarter
Vocabulary
1Nounused to identify any of a class of people, places, or things 187 
2Determinerused as a modifying word that points to a specific instance of the noun 18 
3Pronounused to replace a noun and avoid repetitious noun references 13 
4Verba word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence 121 
5Adjectivea word naming an attribute to modify or describe a noun 45 
6Adverba word that modifies or qualifies a verb, adjective or other adverb
7Prepositiona word governing a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation like time or place to another word in the clause 17 
8Conjunctiona word used to connect words or sentences

Bangla words can be nominated to the same Parts of Speech. We will examine the actual implementation of different POS in a sentence.

Structure of a Sentence

A Sentence in both English and Bangla has 3 components
  1. A Subject phrase - who the sentence is about
  2. The Verb phrase - the action the subject is engaged in
  3. An Object phrase - who or what the subject is acting on

In English, these components occur in the order Subject-Verb-Object as in I will eat rice.

In Bangla, these components occur in the order Subject-Object-Verb as in আমি ভাত খাব.

    Rule I. The Sentence Rule

    Rule Ia. Sentence Structure-Subject, Verb and Object

  • A complete sentence consists of a Subject Phrase, a Verb and an optional Object Phrase.
  • Rule Ib. Order of Subject, Verb and Object

  • The order of the Subject, Object and Verb will vary by language.
  • English is a "Head-First" language. An English Sentence will always have a "Subject-Verb-Object" or "S-V-O" structure.
  • Bangla is a "Head-Final" language. A Bangla Sentence will always have a "Subject-Object-Verb" or "S-O-V" structure.

Sentence Construction

According to Rule Ic, to make a sentence,
  1. Subject and Object phrase require
    • Noun and optional Determiner, or
    • Pronoun
  2. Verb phrase requires
    • Verb, with appropriate conjugation
 

So the first Parts of Speech we need to use are

  1. Noun
  2. Determiner
  3. Pronoun
  4. Verb, conjugated appropriately

Note that, according to Rule Ib, there is a structural difference between
English ( Subject - Verb - Object ) and
Bangla ( Subject - Object - Verb ) sentences.

    Rule II. Minimal Subject and Object - Noun, Determiner, Pronoun

  • A minimal Subject or Object is made up of
    1. a Noun with an optional Determiner, or
    2. a Pronoun.

We will now start the study of Parts of Speech and their implementation in sentences in Bangla.

Nouns - Names of Persons, Places and Things

A Noun is a word (other than a Pronoun) used to identify any of a class of people, places, or things (Common Noun), or to name a particular one of these (Proper Noun). Examples:table, dog, teacher, Canada

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Nouns

Nouns in a Sentence

We will start by choosing the Subject of our sentence, which should be a Noun. Let us say that the Subject is "boy". We want to create a sentence about this boy going home. We can also see that the Object of the sentences is "home". You will be learning the most useful words for each Part of Speech by clicking on the buttons in this document.

The Nouns in the Subject and Object will translate as follows:

EnglishBanglaPhonetic
boyছেলেchhele
homeবাড়িbaRi

Determiner - Points to a Specific Instance of a Noun

A Determiner is a modifying word that is used with a noun to point to a specific instance of the noun

There are two kinds of Determiners:

  1. The common Determiners that can point to an instance of a Noun.
    Examples:the, this, that

    Click to Essential Vocabulary - Common Determiners

  2. The genitive Determiners, also called the Possessive Case of Nouns and Pronouns, that can specify which instance of the Noun is being referred to. For example, you may say "I am going to my maternal uncle's home" instead of simply saying "I am going home."

    Examples:Possessive Case Determiners like "father's, cat's, my, his"

    Click to Essential Vocabulary - Determiners from Possessive Case

    Rule III. The Common Determiner

    The Determiner "the" is handled by simply adding a suffix -Ta to the noun -- the dog becomes কুকুরটা (kukuroTa).

    "This" for nearby and "that" for distance, are expressed as এই (ei) and ওই (Oi) respectively and put before the Noun. The Noun is always tagged with the -Ta or -Ti suffix.

    Rule IV. The Possessive Case Determiners for Nouns and Pronouns

    For Nouns

    Possessive Noun Determiners like "father's, cat's" are formed from the Nouns by
    • adding the "-r" sound if the Noun ends in a vowel like বাবা->বাবার
    • adding the "-er" sound if the Noun ends in a consonant like বিড়াল->বিড়ালের

    For Pronouns

    Possessive Pronoun Determiners like "my, your, his/her" are formed from the Pronouns by adding the "-r" or "-ar" sound to the Pronoun. This will result in আমার, তোমার, ওর (amar, tOmar, Or).

Determiner in a Sentence - in Subject and Object Phrases with a Noun

The common Determiner in the Subject is implemented as in Rule III.
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
TheNoun+টিNoun+Ti
The boyছেলেটিchheleTi

We will also add a determiner to the Object, in this case a genitive marker. We will day that the boy is going to his Maternal Uncle's house. So the Object, as in Rule IV will become:

EnglishBanglaPhonetic
maternal uncle'sমামারmamar
maternal uncle's houseমামার বাড়িmamar baRi

 

Pronoun - Replaces a Noun

A Pronoun is a word that can function by itself as a noun phrase and that refers either to the participants in the discourse (e.g. I, you) or to someone or something mentioned elsewhere in the discourse (e.g. he/she, it, this). Examples:I, you, we, he/she, it, this

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Pronouns

    Rule V. Pronoun Rule

    A Pronoun can replace a Noun in a Subject or Object Phrase

Using a Pronoun in the Subject or Object

In the example we are constructing, we are not using a Pronoun. We could have replaced "The boy" with "He" and carried the same meaning. Many sentences like "I will go home" use a Pronoun instead of a Noun in the Subject.

Verb - Words of Action

A Verb is a word that describes an action, state, or occurrence of an action. Examples:(to) work, (to) learn, (to) eat

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Verbs

Verbs are a necessary part of any sentence. Your Vocabulary of Verbs will let you describe any action with more precision.

Bangla Verbs are "conjugated" (modified) based on Person (first, second or third) and Tense (past, present and future) in which they are used.

These conjugated forms are available in The Verb Conjugation Wizard.

See Appendix - More on Verb Conjugation for a fuller discussion on Verb Conjugation.

    Rule VI. Verb Conjugation Forms

    There are 24 combinations possible.
    There are 3 Persons - First, Second and Third.
    There are 3 Tenses - Past with 4 forms (Simple, Continuous, Perfect and Habitual), Present with 3 forms (Simple, Continuous, Perfect), Future with 1 form.

    The following patterns are evident in the conjugated forms:

    In the First Person

    • The Past Continuous Tense ends with "-ছিলাম" ("-chhilam")
    • The Present Continuous Tense ends with "-ছি" ("-chhi")
    • The Future Tense ends with "-ব" ("-bo")

    In the Second Person
    • The Past Continuous Tense ends with "-ছিলে" ("-chhile")
    • The Present Continuous Tense ends with "-ছ" ("-chho")
    • The Future Tense ends with "-বে" ("-be")

    In the Third Person
    • The Past Continuous Tense ends with "-ছিল" ("-chhilo")
    • The Present Continuous Tense ends with "-ছে" ("-chhe")
    • The Future Tense ends with span class=bn>"-বে" ("-be")

The Verb Conjugation Wizard shows the root and conjugated versions of more than 100 Verbs.

Since the Subject "The Dog" is Third Person, and the Verb "is going" suggests a present Tense, we can look up the correct conjugation of "go". The Verb Conjugation Wizard suggests that is going should be যাচ্ছে.

Word Translation
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
is goingযাচ্ছেJachchhe

The Sentence
SubjectVerbObject
The boy is going home
SubjectObjectVerb
ছেলেটি
chheleTi
বাড়ি
baRi
যাচ্ছে
Jachchhe

The sentence shown above follows Rule I (Sentence Structure), Rule II (Noun and Determiner in Subject and Object), Rule III (Determiner Rule) and Rule V (Verb Conjugation Rule).

Improving the Sentence, by Adding More Details

Now we want to use some other Parts of Speech to make the sentence even more richly communicative and more meaningful.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Add some more attributes to the noun "boy" with an Adjective
  • Add some description of how the boy "is going" by using an Adverb
  • Add some locative information for home by using a Prepositional phrase
  • Add another entity that is going with the boy and integrate it into the subject with a Conjunction

We will add each of these Parts of Speech to enhance the Sentence.

Adjective - Add Description to a Noun

An Adjective is a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to or grammatically related to a noun to modify or describe it. Examples: big, red, easy, soft

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Adjectives

    Rule VI. The Adjective Rule

    A Subject or Object Phrase can contain any number of Adjectives that describe the relevant Noun. It is added before the Noun it describes.

Adding Adjectives to Nouns

The Adjective "small" can be applied to "the boy". The Adjective will be put before the Noun it describes, hence before "The boy".

Word Translation
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
smallছোটchhOTo

The Sentence
SubjectVerbObject
The small boy is going home
SubjectObjectVerb
ছোট ছেলেটি
chOto chheleTi
বাড়ি
baRi
যাচ্ছে
Jachchhe

Another way of improving the sentence is by further describing the verb "is going".

Adverb - Add description to a Verb

An Adverb is a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree. Examples:slowly, quietly, well, often

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Adverbs

    Rule VII. The Adverb Rule

    A Verb Phrase can contain any number of Adverbs that give information about the Verb in the Sentence. It is added before the Conjugated Verb it describes.

Adding Adverbs to Verbs

The Adverb "slowly" can be applied to "is going". The Adverb will be put before the Verb it describes, since the Verb is always last in the sentence.

Word Translation
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
slowlyআস্তেআস্তেasteaste

The Sentence
SubjectVerbObject
The small boy is slowly going home
SubjectObjectVerb
ছোট ছেলেটি
chOto chheleTi
বাড়ি
baRi
আস্তেআস্তে যাচ্ছে
asteaste Jachchhe

The only other information we can add to the sentence, is "how" the boy is going. This is done using a Prepositional Phrase.

Preposition/Postposition - Add Location Information to a Noun

A Preposition is a word governing a noun or pronoun and expressing a relation like time, place and direction to another word or element in the clause. In Bangla the position of this descriptive word is placed after the noun, hence the name Postposition. Examples:at, to, in, over

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Prepositions

The Noun and the Preposition are collectively called the Prepositional Phrase. So we could use something like "with a dog" as a preposition describing a relation with the boy who is going.

    Rule IX. The Preposition Rule

    A Subject or Object Phrase can contain any number of Prepositions that give information about time, place and direction of the Noun. Prepositions come in 2 parts - a suffix to be applied to a Noun and a word added after the Noun.
    • At Noun (location)
      • Suffix -তে if Noun ends in Vowel (বাড়িতে)
      • Suffix -ে if Noun ends in Consonant (ঘরে)
    • To Noun (location)
      • Suffix -য়ে if Noun ends in Vowel (কলকাতায়ে)
      • Suffix -ে if Noun ends in Consonant (লন্ডনে)
    • Position with descriptor
      • Suffix -র if Noun ends in Vowel (গাড়ির সামনে)
      • Suffix -ের if Noun ends in Consonant (পথের ধারে)

Adding Pre-(or Post-)positions

We want to add "with the dog" to the subject.
Word Translation
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
with the dogকুকুরটার সাথেkukuroTar sathe

The Sentence
SubjectVerbObject
The small boy is slowly going home with the dog
SubjectObjectVerb
ছোট ছেলেটি
chOto chheleTi
কুকুরটার সাথে বাড়ি
kukuroTar sathe baRi
আস্তেআস্তে যাচ্ছে
asteaste Jachchhe

Conjunction - Joins two Words or Phrases

A Conjunction is a word used to connect clauses or sentences or to coordinate words in the same clause. Examples:and, but, if

Click to Essential Vocabulary - Conjunctions

    Rule X. The Conjunction Rule

    A Conjunction can be used to join two Noun Phrases or two Sentences. The Conjunction is placed between the two Noun Phrases it joins or between the two Sentences it joins.

Using Conjunctions

Let us add "and an old man" to the Subject, currently "The small boy".
Word Translation
EnglishBanglaPhonetic
and the old manএবং বুড়ো লোকটিebong buRO lokoTi

The Sentence
SubjectVerbObject
The small boy and the old man are slowly going home with the dog
SubjectObjectVerb
ছোট ছেলেটি এবং বুড়ো লোকটি
chOto chheleTi ebong buRO lokoTi
কুকুরটার সাথে বাড়ি
kukuroTar sathe baRi
আস্তেআস্তে যাচ্ছে
asteaste Jachchhe

We can add a Conjunction and a Noun Phrase to the Subject by making it "the small boy and the old man".

The sentence is now complete. We have used 10 Rules (I through X) and a fairly limited vocabulary to construct this sentence.

Bangla Sentence Construction

Subject
ছোটছেলে+টি এবংবুড়োলোক+টি
adjectivenoundeterminer conjunctionadjectivenoundeterminer
Object
কুকুর+টারসাথেবাড়ি
noundeterminerprepositionnoun
Verb
আস্তেআস্তেযাচ্ছে
adverbverb

Punctuation

All punctuation used in English is identical to the usage in Bangla, except for the end-of-sentence marker. Periods (Full Stops in UK English) are used to end sentences in English. In Bangla, the sign used for a Period is called a দাঁড়ি dan^Ri and looks like this , a vertical bar.

All other punctuation including dash (-), comma(,), colon(:), semi-colon(;). Single Quote('), Double Quote ("), Question Mark (?), Exclamation Mark (!), brackets ( ( ) ), square brackets ([ ]) are used exactly like English.

Using These Rules

If you can discover patterns and rules in anything you want to learn, you can delegate some of the routine work to a software algorithm and focus on increasing your vocabulary and practicing more sentences. Here, at The Sentence Construction Wizard,
you will find a software-assisted method that is based on the Rules you learned here. Its use should accelerate your learning process.

With daily diligent study and practice, this kind of rule-based learning can get you making grammatically correct sentences in about 4 months. A full course of study is outlined at A Guided Course to Learn Conversational Bangla.

Appendix - More on Verb Conjugation

Bangla Verbs are "conjugated" (modified) based on Person (first, second or third) and Tense (past, present and future) in which they are used.

Grammarians categorize the three Tenses (Past, Present and Future) as described below. There are 4 forms of Past tense, 3 forms of Present tense and 1 form of Future tense, for a total of 8 forms.

The verb "want" which is চাওয়া chaOya in Bangla, is used here to give examples of the 8 First Person forms of conjugation.

Past TensePresent TenseFuture Tense
Simple Past Tense
Simple Present Tense
Future Tense
Is generally used for actions or events occurring in the recent past.
  • I wanted
  • আমি চাইলাম ami chailam
Is generally used for actions that are just occurring.
  • I want
  • আমি চাই ami chai
Only one form of future tense is used in Bangla.
  • I will want
  • আমি চাইব ami chaibo
Continuous Past Tense
Continuous Present Tense
Is used for actions and events that had occurred.
  • I was wanting
  • আমি চাচ্ছিলাম ami chachchhilam
Used for actions in progress.
  • I am wanting
  • আমি চাচ্ছি ami chachchhi
 
Perfect Past Tense
Perfect Present Tense
The past perfect tense is used to express any past action or event at a particular time, where the exact time is not significant. (Simple past is used for actions that have happened in the very recent past.) It is equivalent to the past perfect tense in English.
  • I wanted
  • আমি চেয়েছিলাম ami cheyechhilam
Present perfect is used to express a current action.
  • I have wanted
  • আমি চেয়েছি ami cheyechhi
 
Habitual Past Tense
To express past actions or events that happened habitually or regularly.
  • I used to want
  • আমি চাইতাম ami chaitam
   

In Bangla, the form of the verb changes slightly based on the Tense (Past, Present, Future) and Person (First, Second, Third) of its usage in a sentence. Each Verb you learn has its root form (eg English:want, Bangla:চাওয়া, Phonetic:chaOya ) and 24 other variants. So for every 100 verbs you learn, there are potentially 2,500 words you have to remember. This may appear a little overwhelming, but Bangla verb conjugations have a very consistent pattern and these patterns can be captured in software. These patterns are available in The Verb Conjugation Wizard.

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