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Building a "Starter" Vocabulary in Bangla

Most Common Words in Bangla

I wanted to find the top 100 words used in Bangla. My objective was to identify which words in Bangla a new Bangla student has to learn to carry on a conversation in Bangla.

Many lists of the Top 100 English words are available on the internet. For example, the http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Frequency_lists list provides an useful source. These lists are compiled by analysing a large body of text (called a corpus). Unfortunately such a corpus does not yet exist for Bangla. I had to find a different way to derive such list for Bangla Words.

I came across a site called wordcount.org. It is described this way.

WordCount™ is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness. Each word is scaled to reflect its frequency relative to the words that precede and follow it, giving a visual barometer of relevance. The larger the word, the more we use it. The smaller the word, the more uncommon it is.

WordCount data currently comes from the British National Corpus®, a 100 million word collection of samples of written and spoken language from a wide range of sources, designed to represent an accurate cross-section of current English usage. WordCount includes all words that occur at least twice in the BNC®. In the future, WordCount will be modified to track word usage within any desired text, website, and eventually the entire Internet.
Since it was analysing 100 million words, I decided it would be useful to start with the top words it found in English as a basis of setting up the top words in Bangla.

This approach has a few drawbacks.

  1. The list does not have the Part of Speech (POS) associated with each word. Many words change meaning based on its usage in a sentence. For instance the word "can" could be used as in "he stored money in a tin can" or as in "I can do this". Each identified word had to be assigned a POS before translation.
  2. The most common English word is the Determiner "the" as in "the dog". In Bangla, the Determiner "the" is implemented as a suffix "-Ta" to the noun, as in "the dog" -> "kukur-Ta". Similarly, "this dog" -> "ei kukur-Ta" and "that dog" -> "OI kukur-Ta". So there may not be a one-to-one correspondence between a word in English and its implementation in Bangla.
  3. Verbs conjugate differently in English and Bangla. For example, the Past tense of "I eat" is "I ate" in English. Verbs in Bangla are conjugated based on Person and Tense. The root verb "khaoya" can be conjugated into 24 different forms. So we have to be careful in dealing with Verbs when translating words.

With the above in mind, and since I was deriving these words for English speakers trying to learn Bangla, I have used the following process.

  1. Start with the top 100 English Words from wordcount.org
  2. Assign the most common Part of Speech to each word
  3. Sort the list by POS
  4. For each Part of Speech, translate the English Word to Bangla
  5. For completeness, consider the antonym (opposite) word and add it to the list. For example, if you have the word "near", add the word "far" since in some cases a negative can be used to produce the same meaning. So "not far" is similar to "near" in meaning and a writer may write it in either way.
  6. For Nouns, words need to be grouped, based on what person, place or thing they describe. The number of Nouns in the top 100 is very limited. Some common categories of Nouns need to be added, like Parts of the human body, ponts of the compass, common animals, common birds, common foodstuff, nature and Bangla numerals.

Most Used Words in English

RnkWordPOS  RnkWordPOS 
1thedet. 51whenadv. 
2bev. 52makev. 
3toprep. 53canv. 
4ofprep. 54likeprep. 
5andconj. 55timen. 
6adet. 56non. 
7inprep. 57justadv. 
8thatdet. 58himpr. 
9havev. 59knowv. 
10Ipr. 60takev. 
11itpr. 61peoplen. 
12forprep. 62intoprep. 
13notadv. 63yearn. 
14onprep. 64yourdet. 
15withprep. 65goodadj. 
16hepr. 66someadj. 
17asprep. 67couldv. 
18youpr. 68thempr. 
19dov. 69seev. 
20atprep. 70otheradj. 
21thisdet. 71thanprep. 
22butconj. 72thenadv. 
23hisdet. 73nowadv. 
24byprep. 74lookv. 
25fromprep. 75onlyadv. 
26theypr. 76comev. 
27wepr. 77itsdet. 
28sayv. 78overprep. 
29herpr. 79thinkv. 
30shepr. 80alsoadv. 
31orconj. 81backprep. 
32andet. 82afterprep. 
33willv. 83usev. 
34mypr. 84twoadj. 
35onedet. 85howadv. 
36alldet. 86ouradj. 
37wouldv. 87workv. 
38thereadv. 88firstadj. 
39theiradj. 89welladv. 
40whatadv. 90wayn. 
41soconj. 91evenadj. 
42upprep. 92newadj. 
43outadv. 93wantv. 
44ifconj. 94becauseconj. 
45aboutprep. 95anyadj. 
46whoadj. 96thesedet. 
47getv. 97givev. 
48whichconj. 98dayn. 
49gov. 99mostadj. 
50mepr. 100uspr. 

These 214 words in Bangla, derived from the process described above, are MUST LEARN words for anyone learning to speak conversational Bangla.

By Part of Speech

EnglishBanglaPhonetic English
Noun
 thing  জিনিস  jinis
 person  মানুষ  manuSh
 man  লোক  lOk
 woman  নারী  narI
 boy  ছেলে  chhele
 girl  মেয়ে  meye
 child  বাচ্চা  bachcha
 public  জনগণ  jonogoN
 body  শরীর  shorIr
 skin  চামড়া  chamoRa
 head  মাথা  matha
 throat  গলা  gola
 hair  চুল  chul
 eye  চোখ  chOkh
 ear  কান  kan
 nose  নাক  nak
 mouth  মুখ  mukh
 cheek  গাল  gal
 chest  বুক  buk
 belly  পেট  peT
 hand  হাত  hat
 leg  পা  pa
 finger  আঙুল  aNgul
 blood  রক্ত  rokto
 time  সময়  somoy
 year  বছর  bochhor
 month  মাস  mas
 week  সপ্তাহ  soptaho
 day  দিন  din
 hour  ঘন্টা  ghonTa
 today  আজ  aj
 tomorrow  আগামিকাল  agamikal
 yesterday  গতকাল  gotokal
 morning  সকাল  sokal
 noon  দুপুর  dupur
 afternoon  বিকাল  bikal
 evening  সন্ধ্যা  sondhYa
 night  রাত্রি  ratri
 way  পথ  poth
 road  রাস্তা  rasta
 world  পৃথিবী  prrithibI
 sun  সূর্য  sUrJo
 moon  চাঁদ  chan^d
 ocean  সাগর  sagor
 north  উত্তর দিক  uttor dik
 south  দক্ষিণ দিক  dokShiN dik
 east  পূর্ব দিক  pUrbo dik
 west  পশ্চিম দিক  poshchim dik
 colors  রং  rong
 cat  বিড়াল  biRal
 dog  কুকুর  kukur
 cow  গরু  goru
 goat  ছাগল  chhagol
 sheep  ভেড়া  bheRa
 horse  ঘোড়া  ghORa
 monkey  বাঁদর  ban^dor
 deer  হরিণ  horiN
 jackal  শিয়াল  shiyal
 bear  ভালুক  bhaluk
 lion  সিংহ  singho
 tiger  বাঘ  bagh
 egg  ডিম  Dim
 chicken  মুরগি  murogi
 crow  কাক  kak
 owl  প্যাঁচা  pYan^cha
 eagle  ঈগল  Igol
 potato  আলু  alu
 onion  পেঁয়াজ  pen^yaj
 cauliflower  ফুলকপি  phulokopi
 cabbage  বাঁধাকপি  ban^dhakopi
 carrot  গাজর  gajor
 eggplant  বেগুন  begun
 mango  আম  am
 orange  কমলা লেবু  komola lebu
 apple  আপেল  apel
 grape  আঙুর  aNgur
 pineapple  আনারস  anaros
 banana  কলা  kola
 guava  পেয়ারা  peyara
 cloud  মেঘ  megh
 sky  আকাশ  akash
 grass  ঘাস  ghas
 hat  টুপি  Tupi
 rose  গোলাপ  gOlap
 shoes  জুতো  jutO
 house  বাড়ি  baRi
 home  বাড়ি  baRi
 pictures  ছবি  chhobi
 rice  ভাত  bhat
 sari  শাড়ি  shaRi
 zero 0  শূন্য ০  shUnYo 0
 one 1  এক ১  ek 1
 two 2  দুই ২  dui 2
 three 3  তিন ৩  tin 3
 four 4  চার ৪  char 4
 five 5  পাঁচ ৫  pan^ch 5
 six 6  ছয় ৬  chhoy 6
 seven 7  সাত ৭  sat 7
 eight 8  আট ৮  aT 8
 nine 9  নয় ৯  noy 9
 ten 10  দশ ১০  dosh 10
Pronoun
 I  আমি  ami
 you  তুমি  tumi
 he/she    O
 it  ওটা  OTa
 me  আমাকে  amake
 you  তোমাকে  tOmake
 him/her  ওকে  Oke
 that  ওটাকে  OTake
 we  আমরা  amora
 you  তোমরা  tOmora
 they  ওরা  Ora
 those  ওগুলো  OgulO
 us  আমাদের  amader
 you  তোমাদের  tOmader
 them  ওদের  Oder
 those  ওগুলোকে  OgulOke
Determiner
 the  + -টা  + -Ta
 this  এই + -টা  ei + -Ta
 that  ওই + -টা  Oi + -Ta
Verb
 think  ভাবা  bhaba
 know  জানা  jana
 say  বলা  bola
 do  করা  kora
 see  দেখা  dekha
 read  পড়া  poRa
 write  লেখা  lekha
 work  কাজ করা  kaj kora
 want  চাওয়া  chaOya
 get  পাওয়া  paOya
 give  দেওয়া  deOya
 take  নেওয়া  neOya
 go  যাওয়া  JaOya
 come  আসা  asa
 make  তৈরী করা  tOIrI kora
 be  হওয়া  hoOya
Adjective
 white  সাদা  sada
 black  কালো  kalO
 red  লাল  lal
 blue  নীল  nIl
 green  সবুজ  sobuj
 yellow  হলদে  holode
 good  ভাল  bhalo
 bad  খারাপ  kharap
 new  নতুন  notun
 old  পুরনো  puronO
 first  প্রথম  prothom
 last  শেষ  sheSh
 long  লম্বা  lomba
 short  ছোট  chhOTo
 large  বড়  boRo
 small  ছোট  chhOTo
 few  অল্প  olpo
 many  অনেক  onek
 high  উঁচু  un^chu
 low  নিচু  nichu
 different  আলাদা  alada
 same  একই  ekoi
 early  আগে  age
 late  দেরি  deri
 young  যুবক  Jubok
 old  বুড়ো  buRO
 dirty  নোংরা  nOngra
 clean  পরিষ্কার  poriShkar
 hot  গরম  gorom
 cold  ঠান্ডা  ThanDa
Adverb
 far  দূরে  dUre
 near  কাছে  kachhe
 left  বাঁদিকে  ban^dike
 right  ডানদিকে  Danodike
 under  নিচে  niche
 around  চারপাশে  charopashe
 quickly  তাড়াতাড়ি  taRataRi
 slowly  আস্তেআস্তে  asteaste
 very  খুব  khub
 a little  একটু  ekoTu
 almost  প্রায়  pray
Preposition
 far  দূরে  dUre
 near  কাছে  kachhe
 above  উপরে  upore
 below  নিচে  niche
 front  সামনে  samone
 back  পিছনে  pichhone
 right  ডানদিকে  Danodike
 left  বাঁদিকে  ban^dike
 inside  ভিতরে  bhitore
 outside  বাইরে  baire
 previous  আগে  age
 next  পরে  pore
 with  সাথে  sathe
 among  মধ্যে  modhYe
 along  ধারে  dhare
 around  চারপাশে  charopashe
 across  অপর পারে  opor pare
 within  মধ্যে  modhYe
 without  ছাড়া  chhaRa
 in  -তে  -te
 on  -তে  -te
 from  থেকে  theke
 into  মধ্যে  modhYe
 at  -তে  -te
 before  আগে  age
 after  পরে  pore
 from  থেকে  theke
 for  জন্য  jonYo
 during  সময়ে  somoye
Conjunction
 and  আর  ar
 and  এবং  ebong
 but  কিন্তু  kintu
 or  অথবা  othoba
 because  কারণ  karoN
 so  সুতরাং  sutorang
Exclamation
 Yes  হ্যাঁ  hYan^
 No  না  na

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