Language galore! we are diverse
“So you guys just speak Bangla in your country?”
Suddenly another Blurry-face leans across the table and announces “39, to be exact.”
“Yes my friend, your country has 39 languages, excluding all the dialects.”
98% of the people of our country can speak Bangla, but it's not that the rest of the 38 vernaculars are spoken by that mere 2%. In fact, Bangla in itself is a second language for many of us even though it is the lingua franca here. People from all the different areas of our nation have different tongues. Here is a list of all the languages we speak:
North Bengal: around this region, the most popular languages are Rajbanshi, Assamese, Kurux, Mundari, Santali, Garo, Oraon, Sadri, Hajong, and Magam.
It's interesting that Garo actually uses Latin alphabets. Makes one imagine Latin scholars travelling in carts and boats all the way to here in order to settle and make a living, doesn't it? Magam is a dialect of Garo, but it can be used as a separate language.
Assamese is very popular as well. It is spoken by a large number of people, and was termed keeping in consideration other names like Japanese and Taiwanese.
Other patois like Hajong (which is spoken in the Mymensingh district) are written in the Assamese script. So now we know it is not just that these lingoes are spoken differently, they are also written differently.
Khasi (spoken in Assam as well as the northern regions of Bangladesh) is rich on folklore and they seem to have a story behind every mountain, bird, waterfall, flowers, animals, etc.
There is something very interesting and slightly shocking about Siloti. Now even though we know the language sounds like two people fighting (this writer will not be held responsible for this comment, since it was made by a bunch of Sylheti people themselves *cheeky smile*), it really is very ornate. It has very rich heritage and was once spoken by the people of the Kingdom of Kamarupa. It used to be written in the Sylheti Nagri script, and not Bangla! Ironically though, the government forced the script to change to Bengali in the 1970s because of the war and the political drama. So, what really happened was that the Bangladeshi government forced a 300 year old “royal” language to change its script and all protests were blocked.
The people of Chittagong will be proud to know that Chittagonian is really a separate language, and not a crude form of Bangla. And what is even cooler is that according to the Top 100 Languages by Population by Enthologue, Chittagonian ranked in 67th in the World! There is a heavy influence of Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Portugese in this lingo. Rohingya is written in the Arabic script, and the Haka Chin (of the Hill Tracks), unlike all the other languages of the country, uses the Roman script! So Arabia and Rome are like, what, so many miles away, and we here in Bangladesh have languages that use those scripts and don't even know about it! What's good is that now we know.
Other languages from the West and middle are Ho, Darlong and Koch.
By Nuzhat Binte Arif
Art with heart
Upon entering the premises, one was greeted by a colourful atmosphere comprising of stalls bordering around the open courtyard, each of which had a vibrant display of paintings, pastel-colour drawings, paper mosaic art, and so on, all rendered by the young students of the school. Contrary to what one might expect from 'mere children', these weren't random pieces either; each stall featured a certain artist or concept (like Van Gogh's Starry Night, for example) where the young artists presented their interpretation of the works. Thus we had Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians made over into a modern band, rendered in oil pastel, and other such interesting works.
Embracing a spirit of diversity, as reflected within the mixed cultures within the student population at CIS, there were stalls that displayed traditional artworks and craft objects form around the world. Alongside the artwork by the students, there were some "professional" attractions", which included a flute craftsman, a cane craftsman, rickshaw artist, a watercolour artist and flower making from Thailand. There was also a pottery demonstration where children had a go at working with clay, Oriental calligraphy and Rangoli painting demonstrated by parents. To cap it all off, the empty space at the centre of the courtyard was utilized by a troupe of students from Grade 2, who danced to the tune of Mila's Baburam Shapurey. We watched in admiration as the little dancers grooved in perfect coordination, displaying none of the stage fright that would paralyse someone twice their age.
Catching up with Sylvia Gillet, the principal, we heard the story behind CIS' first annual Arts Festival. All proceeds from the sales of the art pieces at the festival will be donated to the School of Hope (SOH), an institution for slum children located in Vatara-Badda. SOH has some180 students whose ages range from 6-14 years, and are taught a number of subjects from English, Bangla and Math for the younger students to an addition of Social Studies Science and Islamic Studies for the older kids. The children from CIS had previously visited this school to present them with a book that were written and illustrated by the Grade 3 children during Literacy Week.
Combining various aspects of art with a strong sense of social responsibility, the first Annual Art Festival at CIS was definitely a big hit.
By Sabrina F Ahmad
Slam-dunk for Slumdog
The Annual Academy Awards have been announced and Slumdog Millionaire edged all films in being the winner of the highest number of Oscars this year, grabbing eight out of ten nominations. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, despite being nominated for 13 Oscars ended up missing on all the major awards of the night, winning three 'consolation' awards.
Sean Penn won his second Best Actor award for his portrayal of Harvey Milk and Heath Ledger won a posthumous Best Supporting Award for his depiction of the Joker in the Dark Night.
Kudos to A. R. Rahman who bagged two of the coveted golden statues for Slumdog Millionaire, in the Best Song and Best Score categories.
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