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Pronunciation - Additional Considerations

We have already covered the general topic of syllables and Bangla pronunciation.
 

There are three cases in Bangla where you have to pay special attention to pronunciation.

  1. The Inherent Vowel o at the end of Bangla Words That End in a Consonant
  2. Pronouncing the 'ব' sound in Compound Consonants
    • Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is ছ, জ, ত, দ, ধ, স, শ
    • Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + bo in all other cases
  3. Pronouncing the 'য' sound in Compound Consonants
    • Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Jo when Consonant is য
    • Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Yo in all other cases
These pronunciation rules and examples are discussed below.
 

1. The Inherent Vowel o at the end of Bangla Words That End in a Consonant

Consonants in Bangla have an inherent "o" sound. like "ko", "kho", "go" etc. When a word ends with a consonant, sometimes the inherent "o" is pronounced. For example, here are some words that end with the consonant .

Words with o ending

BanglaPhonetic
 দুঃখduH^kho
 দেখdekho
 মূর্খmUrkho
 শেখshekho

Words without o ending

BanglaPhonetic
 নখnokh
 লাখlakh
 মুখmukh
 চোখchOkh

The suborNo Phonetic scheme is designed to be a 2-directional method where you can enter the Phonetic English to get Bangla or enter Bangla and get the corresponding English Phonetic. This 2-way transliteration capability is not available in most transliteration schemes including Google Transliterate.

So how does the "suborNo" phonetic method determine whether the inherent vowel should be pronounced or not?

It does this determination based on the pattern of the last 3 letters in a word. The current Glossary on the site has about 16,700 words. Of these, about 9,540 or 57% end in consonants. For example, there are 43 words that end in .

Rather than looking at each word to determine if there is a pronounceable "o" at the end, words are categorized by the last 3 letters in the word. By analysing the word endings, I was able to determine a set of rules by which Bangla words can be identified - whether they carry a pronounceable "o" when transliterated to Phonetic English.

For words ending in , these rules are:

Because of the pattern-matching approach, any new word added to the Glossary will generally be correctly categorized.

As you would expect, going through 16,700 words is time consuming. A learner should also not have to figure this out by themselves. These patterns are stored in the suborNo software and are applied whenever you put in a Bangla word and ask for its English Phonetic representation.

Using The Pronunciation Wizard to determine whether the o sound is pronounced at the end of a Word

If you have one or more Bangla words, how do you get the English Phonetic including the last inherent vowel?

The easiest way is to use the Pronunciation Wizard page on the site.

Instead of the "Pronunciation Wizard" you will get similar results using Bulk Transliterate as the same software routine is used in deriving the "o" at the end of a word. The Bulk Transliterate does not show you the syllable breakdown.

Pronouncing letters in Compound Consonants

When two or more consonants appear adjacent to each other, they are combined into what is called a যুক্তাক্ষর JuktakShor or Compound Consonant.

যুক্ত Jukto means joined and অক্ষর okShor means letter of the alphabet, hence the formidable sounding যুক্তাক্ষর.

In Learn the Bangla Alphabet, there is a chapter on Compound Consonants.

Here are a few examples of words with Compound Consonants. I have shown the Phonetic representation with the syllables marked.

NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 উত্তর  ut‧to‧r  North   2 কিন্তু  kin‧tu  but  
3 চেষ্টা করা  cheSh‧Ta ko‧ra  try   4 জন্মানো  jon‧ma‧nO  born  
5 ঠান্ডা  Than‧Da  cold   6 দক্ষিণ  dok‧ShiN  South  
7 দর্কার হওয়া  dor‧kar ho‧O‧ya  need   8 পরিষ্কার  po‧riSh‧kar  clean  
9 প্রতি  pro‧ti  to   10 বন্ধ  bon‧dho  closed  
11 বাচ্চা  bach‧cha  child   12 বিক্রি করা  bik‧ri ko‧ra  sell  
13 রক্ত  rok‧to  blood   14 সপ্তাহ  sop‧taho  week  
15 সূর্য  sUr‧Jo  sun   16 স্ত্রী  strI  wife  

You will see from the above list, that the words are pronounced as if the Consonants were pronounced separately and in sequence.

There are two notable exceptions in fully pronouncing the individual consonants in a Compound Consonant. They are Consonant+bo and Consonant+jo. We will look at these exceptions next.

Pronouncing 'ব' sound and 'য' sound in Compound Consonants

You may have noticed in the suborNo Phonetic Scheme mapping of Bangla alphabets to Phonetic English that

The alternate mapping was put in because, in Compound Consonants, Consonant+'ব' is sometimes pronounced as Consonant+bo and sometimes as Consonant+wo. Similarly, Consonant+'য' is sometimes pronounced as Consonant+Jo and sometimes as Consonant+Yo.

The pronunciation rules are not arbitrary. It goes back to the way the equivalent words were pronounced in Sanskrit, from which Bangla is derived. These rules are shown below.

Pronouncing the 'ব' sound in Compound Consonants

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is ছ
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 আনন্দোচ্ছ্বাস  anon‧dOch‧chhwas  mirth  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is জ
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 জ্বালা  jwa‧la  to light; burning sensation  
2 জ্বর  jwo‧r  fever  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is ত
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 দায়িত্ব  da‧yit‧wo  responsibility  
2 রাজত্ব  ra‧jot‧wo  power; reign  
3 মহত্ত্ব  mo‧hot‧two  excellence  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is দ
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 দ্বৈত্ব  dwOIt‧wo  dual  
2 দ্বন্দ  dwon‧do  conflicts  
3 দ্বিমুখী  dwi‧mu‧khI  bidirectional; twosided  
4 দ্বিতীয়ত  dwi‧tI‧yo‧to  secondly  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is ধ
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 ধ্বনি  dhwo‧ni  sound  
2 হর্ষধ্বনি  hor‧Shodh‧wo‧ni  acclamation  
3 ধ্বংস  dhwong‧so  destruction  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is স
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 স্বভাব  swo‧bhab  habit  
2 স্বাগত জানানো  swa‧go‧to ja‧na‧nO  welcoming  
3 স্বাদ  swad  taste  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + wo when Consonant is শ
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 শ্বশুর  shwo‧shur  father-in-law  
2 বিশ্বাস করা  bish‧was ko‧ra  trust  
3 বিশ্বাসঘাতক  bish‧wa‧so‧gha‧to‧k  traitor  

Consonant + ব is pronounced as Consonant + bo in all other cases
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 লম্বা  lom‧ba  long  
2 কম্বল  kom‧bo‧l  blanket  

Pronouncing the 'য' sound in Compound Consonants

Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Jo when Consonant is য
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 আতিশয্য  ati‧shoJ‧Jo  excess  
2 সাহায্য  sa‧haJ‧Jo  aid; help  
3 শয্যা  shoJ‧Ja  bed  

Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Jo when Consonant is র
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 কদর্য  ko‧dor‧Jo  repugnant  
2 সূর্য  sUr‧Jo  sun  
3 ধৈর্য্য  dhOIr‧JJo  patience  

Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Jo when Consonant is হ,
unless the হ is at the beginning of the word, in which case the য is pronounced as Yo
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 সহ্য  soh‧Jo  to tolerate  
2 বাহ্য  bah‧Jo  external; visible  
3 হ্যালো  hYa‧lO  hello  
4 হ্যাঁ  hYan^  yes  

Consonant + য is pronounced as Consonant + Yo in all other cases
NumBangla WordPhoneticEnglish
1 বাক্য  bak‧Yo  word  
2 খ্যাতি  khYa‧ti  renown; reputation  
3 খ্যাপা  khYa‧pa  lunatic  

Using the Pronunciation Wizard

If you come across a Bangla word that appears to have a Compound Consonant with ব or য, how do you get the right English Phonetic pronunciation?

The easiest way is to use the Pronunciation Wizard page on the site. The Wizard can show you the pronunciation of one or more words at a time.

  • First create a list of the Bangla words you want to check with blanks separating each word.
      সহ্য হ্যাঁ বাক্য খ্যাতি খ্যাপা শ্বশুর বিশ্বাস করা লম্বা
  • Copy/Paste this list into the blue Bangla textbox on the right
  • Click the "Bangla to English Pronunciation" button
  • See Bangla words converted to Phonetic English with syllables marked
      soh‧Jo hYan^ bak‧Yo khYa‧ti khYa‧pa shwo‧shur bish‧was ko‧ra lom‧ba

    Now try this out for any word you come across where you want to verify the pronunciation.

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