Languages of Bangladesh

Languages of Bangladesh
Official languages Bengali
National languages Bengali
Regional languages


Chittagonian, Sylheti, Chakma, Rangpuri
Minority languages Assamese, Bishnupuriya, Chakma, Hajong, Tangchangya, Oraon Sadri, Khasi, Koda, Mundari, Pnar, Santali, War-Jaintia, Kurukh, Sauria Paharia, A'Tong, Chak, Chin, Asho, Bawm, Falam, Haka, Khumi, Koch, Garo, Megam, Meitei Manipuri, Mizo, Mru, Pangkhua, Rakhine/Marma, Kok Borok, Riang, Tippera and Usoi
Main immigrant languages Bihari  Burmese  Rohingya  Urdu
Main foreign languages English, Arabic and Hindustani

The official and de facto national language of Bangladesh is Modern Standard Bengali (Literary Bengali). It serves as the lingua franca of the nation, with 98% of Bangladeshis fluent in Bengali (including dialects) as their first language. English, having no official status, is prevalent across government, law, business, media and education, and can be regarded as the de facto co-official language of Bangladesh (see Bangladeshi English).[1][2] Hindi is understood by some as a foreign language.[3] Beside English, French is becoming a popular language among the younger generation in recent days.

The indigenous people of northern and southeastern Bangladesh speak a variety of native languages.

Indo–Aryan languages

The lowlands of Bangladesh form the eastern half of the ethno-linguistic region of Bengal, and the Bengali language is spoken by the majority of the country's inhabitants. There are also some Eastern Indic language varieties, which are variously classified either as dialects of Bengali or separate but closely related languages. They can be thought of forming a dialect continuum.

Non-Indo-Aryan languages

The indigenous languages of the region are members of the Austroasiatic, Dravidian and Tibeto-Burman families. Most of these languages are spoken in mountainous areas.

Austroasiatic languages

While the more widely spoken and better-known Austroasiatic languages are spoken in Southeast Asia (e.g. Khmer and Vietnamese), smaller languages of that family are spoken by indigenous communities of northern and eastern Bangladesh.

Dravidian languages

Two Dravidian languages are spoken by indigenous communities of western Bangladesh.

Tibeto-Burman languages

The mountainous areas along the northern and eastern edges of the Indian Subcontinent are inhabited primarily by speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages. Indigenous Tibeto-Burman-speaking communities are found through the northern, eastern, and especially the southeastern parts of Bangladesh.


Further reading

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