The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2016.01.19

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Good morning. I’ve completed another unit of Bangla study this weekend, a few steps closer to doing my own verse. Here’s a smattering of what I’ve found out so far:

First, there’s pronouns, and what’s interesting about Bengali pronouns is that they are gender-neutral. This does wonders for inclusiveness, but can make getting the characters’ genders correct in translations of Bengali fiction into ingreji troublesome. There’s the subject pronouns, like the first-person singular and plural forms ami and amra, (আমি and আমরা) for I and We, the second-person informal singular and plural, tumi and tomra, (তুমি and তোরা) used for those younger, familiar, those lower or equal in status, and that in the formal apni and apnara, (আপনি and আপনারা) used for addressing elders, strangers of uncertain status, and superiors. There are more of course, with the third-person pronouns also used to indicate relative location, such as singular ini, uni, and tini, (ইনি, উনি, and তিনি) formal pronouns indicating he/she here, he/she there, and he/she elsewhere. There’s that grammatical gender-neutrality popping up in full view, with their informal singular counterparts being e, o, and se (এ, ও, সে).

There are the possessive pronouns, singular and plural, like the first-person amar and amader, (আমার and আমাদের) for my and our, and the formal second-person forms, apnar and apnader, (আপনার and আপনাদের) for your. I worked out a way to familiarize myself with these and other subject and possessive pronouns by first looking for patterns in the endings and roman spellings, (whether it ends with a vowel, or with an “r” sound, to name a couple) and memorize the pronouns of all types in the study unit by clustering them in groups based on those shared patterns, chunking the data as it were, and reducing the labor needed to remember. I looked for patterns and used those to create mnemonics for sound and usage.

There is also the unit following, dealing with things like the definite article for things (or at least certain types of things) using the singular suffix -ʈa and plural suffix -gulo (-টা and -গুলো) attached to the noun to be indicated. There was the possessive case for nouns, with a few differences from and sharing some features with possessive pronouns. In particular, there is the fact that bhai and bôu, (ভাই and বৌ) for brother and wife use either of two possessive suffixes; yer, unhyphenated, or a hyphenated -er (য়ের or -এর) after these words.

There was also discussion on demonstrative adjectives, the use of the verb-form ach- (আছ-) in both locational and possessive forms, both present and past tenses (There is apparently, in my studies, no future tense.). The negative of the zero verb, as with the English, “Mister Eccles is not a human,” a form which uses versions of the negative verb and suffix na (না).

What I thought was cool about the lessons so far, each taking about a week to complete, is how the demonstratives, third-person pronouns and the articles interconnect and relate to each other. This makes finding patterns in common between them and creating mnemonics even easier.

I’m starting on the next, unit 16, later this coming evening, using the methods I’ve picked up so far. I’ve created and am still adding to flashcards for memorizing vocabulary, and I’ve apps on my devices that randomly select a Word of the Day, which I add to a daily journal.

At this rate, things are coming along nicely. There is progress being made. Thanks, to all of my Bengali friends and others for your encouragement and support. I must say, this has been and is a blast…

I’ll do my best to keep it that way!

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